It was just a few short years ago the Lions were in desperate need of both talent and depth in their linebacking corps. It was arguably the weakest position on a defense filled with a lot of weaknesses when head coach Jim Schwartz took over the team in 2009.
Schwartz and the Lions immediately went to work revamping the unit and boy how things have changed at linebacker in just three years.
After signing middle linebacker
“We have a chance to be pretty strong there,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of his linebackers Friday.
“We’re in a position where we return basically all three starters, but we still drafted guys. It’s good to deal from a position of strength. It has the makings of a very good group.
The Lions have to be impressed with rookies
“Each and every day you know you got to come out here and put your best out or the next guy's going to step up,” Durant said. “It's a great thing, we got good comradery at the same time. We understand that we're all here to make each other better and the best guys are going to play so that's what we do, just come out here and compete every day.”
Palmer has been able to focus strictly on playing the Mike linebacker this offseason after beginning his career on the outside. He took reps with the first-team offense Friday while Tulloch rested a sore knee.
“We got a bunch of athletes out here,” Palmer said. “Our position is like you can put this guy in and see what he can do, and if he's doing it right, put the next guy in, he's doing it right (too)... We just want everybody to compete so the best can come out of everybody.”
One thing that’s been developing over the last week when it comes to the linebacker competition is that it’s going to be hard to keep Whitehead, who’s emerging as a terrific draft pick for the Lions, off the field
“Tahir is probably the strongest dude I've ever seen,” Durant said. “He's just so explosive.” It’s seems right now the Lions will have a hard time settling on which linebackers make it out of camp and onto the 53-man roster.
BRADY HOKE AT PRACTICE
The Lions hosted the Univeristy of Michigan coaching staff on Friday, including head coach Brady Hoke.
“As a coach you want to see the organization at practice and see what you like and maybe there’s something new, even as a position coach, that you want to look at,” Hoke said before practice.
A former defensive line coach, Hoke was particularly glued to the Lions defensive line drills run by defensive line coach Kris Kocurek. Hoke was even taking a few notes as Kocurek ran through their workout.
Hoke and the Wolverines begin fall camp starting Sunday.
“We have a lot of camp knees,” Schwartz said after practice. “No real injuries, just guys that get sore from a lot of reps and different things. We want to push through when you’re hot or out of wind, but we don’t want to push through knee soreness. As soon as they’re not sore we’ll get them back out there.”
Delmas has missed the last couple practices with soreness in his left knee.
Tulloch sat out OTAs and June’s minicamp with knee tendinitis.
COMPETITION AT RECEIVER
The competition is heating up for the one or possibly two roster spots available at receiver for the Lions. With a week remaining before the Lions play their first preseason game of the season at Ford Field against the Browns, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he’s having fun watching that competition shape up.
“That’s going to be a fun one to watch,” Linehan said after practice. “We’re all going to keep our eye on that. We have a lot more depth at the receiver position and guys are going to get plenty of opportunities to showcase what they can do out here and in the preseason games. I’m really looking forward to that.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I thought he was mature for 21. He might even shave twice a week now.”
Schwartz when asked about the maturity of quarterback
--Off to the side during a special teams portion of practice, quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and