LIONS INSIDER

Notebook: Louis Delmas not taking part in OTAs, Nate Burleson back on the field

Posted May 22, 2013

Tim Twentyman with news and observations from day two of the Detroit Lions' organized team activities

Louis Delmas has not taken part in OTAs this offseason as he continues to rest and rehab from knee injuries that have cut short his last two seasons.

“We’re in communication with Lou,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s not here right now going through this stuff, but there’s nothing that he can get out of this because he can’t physically do the stuff that we’re doing right now.”

Delmas missed eight games last season after undergoing surgery on his left knee. He missed five games in 2011 after suffering a partially torn ligament in his right knee on Thanksgiving.

“Lou’s in a little different position than a guy like Reggie Bush,” Schwartz said. “Reggie’s in the position where he’s learning everything for the first time even though he’s done it all. We’re using the same terminology on defense; we’re in the same defensive system. The biggest thing with Lou is going to be his health and that’s what he’s working on right now.”

The Lions were also without Ryan Broyles, Shaun Hill, Mikel Leshoure, Darius Slay, Devin Taylor and Alex Elkins on Wednesday due to injuries.

DON’T READ INTO REPS

Schwartz cautioned the media not to look too much into who’s playing where in the spring.

“We’re alternating days (working with the first team) with a lot of guys, but quite honestly we’re really not in the player evaluation business right now,” Schwartz said. “Any jobs that guys earn is going to be because of training camp and preseason games, not because what they’ve done in OTAs.

"We’re really not competing for jobs here, we’re working timing, we’re working on technique, we’re working on things like that.”

Jason Fox took first-team reps at right tackle. Dylan Gandy worked at right guard with the No. 1 offense. Travis Lewis played linebacker on the first-team defense. Ron Bartell was at right cornerback opposite Chris Houston, but that all means little right now.

“We’re not judging these players based on the outcome of a play,” Schwartz said. “It’s just that’s what it is this time of year and with the new CBA a few years ago, that changed. We’re trying to get as much of our installation done, we’re trying to work our timing, we’re trying to do a lot of things, but when it comes time to compete for jobs and make evaluations on players, we’ll make those evaluations in training camp.

“The thing we can evaluate now is the technique the guy played with, how well they’re communicating, if they’re in the right spot. But the physical nature of playing linebacker and some of the other positions that guys will compete for, that will come in training camp.”

BURLESON BACK

Nate BurlesonWR Nate Burleson (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

Receiver Nate Burleson, who suffered a broken leg against the Bears midseason last year, has been back on the football field running routes and catching passes for weeks. Wednesday, media members got their first look at the 11-year veteran in a practice setting, and all seems well.

Burleson was working with the first-team offense and doesn’t look to be suffering any ill effects from that injury.

“He’s had a great rehab and we expected that from Nate,” Schwartz said. “Over the course of his career he’s been a fast healer. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like to put timetables on guys. Because whether he’s ahead of schedule or if he was behind, it’s up to the individual player and his body and how he’s doing.

“He still probably isn’t one hundred percent, but a lot of guys aren’t a hundred percent right now, but he’s able to do what he can out there and it’s a good time of year. Maybe if it was a full contact training camp practice, he might not be out there doing that stuff. But we don’t have any contact and our practices are short. He’s able to get some work done.”

“EXCITING PROSPECT”

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has a few new weapons to play with this year. One is running back Reggie Bush, who was a priority free agent signing back in March. The other, receiver Corey Fuller, was a sixth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft.

Stafford was heavily involved in the recruitment of Bush, but he's just starting to build impressions of his speedy receiver out of Virginia Tech.

“He’s got some speed, you know,” Stafford said. “He went up and made a nice catch (Tuesday) on a high ball. He showed some athleticism there. I haven’t worked with him a whole lot, but he’s got size, he’s got speed and pretty good hands. He’s an exciting prospect.”

The Lions are hoping Fuller can spread the field opposite Calvin Johnson.

OTA OBSERVATIONS

  • The addition of Jim Washburn to the defensive line coaching staff allows the defensive line to split up into defensive tackle and defensive end groups for a portion of individual drills. That might not seem like such a big deal, but it allows for more specialized coaching in drills, which is something the Lions haven’t been able to do that in year’s past with only Kris Kocurek coaching them.
Ziggy AnsahDE Ziggy Ansah (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)