NOTEBOOK: Rookies to hear Jim Caldwell's message at least four times

Posted May 16, 2014

Usually it's a tough transition into the NFL for rookies. The challenge is to coach them up quickly enough so they can hold their own vs. the veterans come next week's OTAs.

Usually it's a tough transition into the NFL for rookies.

They’ve spent the last four months working out and meeting with teams in an effort to get drafted. Now that those teams have them, the challenge is to coach them up quickly enough so they can hold their own vs. the veterans come next week's OTAs.

“I think I mentioned a little bit earlier, we are certainly throwing a lot of information at them,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. “What happens with these guys, for the most part, is that we try and make certain that they hear our offense, defense and our kicking game installed at least four times.”

Caldwell says the rookies will hear his message, and will be exposed to how he wants to run the meeting rooms and his practices four times. They’ll hear it during rookie minicamp, again when OTAs start, during the mandatory veteran minicamp in June and then when training camp starts in late July.

“We try to saturate them as much as we possibly can with that information so the young guys that we have that we’re anticipating are going to have to help us during the course of the year can at least have a chance of grasping the material,” Caldwell said


Caldwell said Friday he wasn't sure whether cornerback Chris Houston will be ready for the start of training camp after undergoing toe surgery earlier this week.

“I'm not certain, to be honest with you,” he said. “I kind of leave those things up to our physicians. Those guys went to school for a long time to get those medical degrees so what I do is try to focus in on what we're doing and I let them sort of navigate through it and then give me an indication at some point in time.”

Houston is coming off a down season in which he missed three games with toe issues, but the team is hoping he can bounce back and provide steady play and veteran leadership to that unit.


Rookie defensive tackle Caraun Reid of Princeton joked about high school student Kwasi Enin from suburban New York passing over Princeton in favor of Yale after being accepted by all eight Ivy League schools.

“Horrible decision by not choosing Princeton,” Reid said, laughing. “That’s a great accomplishment. Not even all the Ivys recruited me, so it’s great for him to do that.”


Corey FullerWR Corey Fuller (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Corey Fuller was a sixth-round pick by the Lions last season, but spent the year on the team’s practice squad as he built strength and became a better route runner.

Fuller hopes to be in the mix at receiver this year when it comes time for the Lions to trim their roster down to 53. He’ll get an extra chance to make an impression on coaches and front office personnel at this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

Fuller qualifies to participate because he has no pension credits to his name. A pension credit is earned if a player receives payment for three regular season games or an injury settlement worth at least three game checks.

Players like Fuller, defensive tackle Xavier Proctor, running back Steven Miller, defensive end Kourtnei Brown, cornerback Aaron Hester, guard Darren Keyton, tackle J.B. Shugarts and tight end Jordan Thompson, who have been in training camps and on practice squads before, are taking this opportunity to get some extra work in front of the decision makers.


It would be difficult for the Lions to have an effective minicamp with just the 28 players who were either drafted, have signed undrafted rookie deals or those second-year players who didn’t earn a pension credit.

So, the Lions have invited 23 players to minicamp on a tryout basis.

LB Shamari Benton (Central Michigan), WR DeAndre Cooper (Prairie View A&M), RB Vintavious Cooper (East Carolina), CB Deven Drane (Cincinnati), RB Rolando Finch (Boston College), WR Jon Greenwalt (Louisiana Tech), DT Gregory Hickman (Florida International), LS Ryan Iverson (Colorado), G Josh Jenkins (West Virginia), QB Jonathan Jennings (Saginaw Valley State), TE Jimmie Johnson (Bryant), DE Kalonji Kashama (Eastern Michigan), P Nick Liste (Youngstown State), DE Jake Metz (Shippensburg), CB Fidel Montgomery (South Florida), Jake Metz (Shippenburg), S Isaiah Newsome (Lousiana-Monroe), T Jake Olson (Central Michigan), LB Brett Pasche (Hillsdale), DT Gilbert Pena (Mississippi), WR Joe Price (Villanova), T John Prior (Ohio) and S Garrett Waggoner (Dartmouth)