Football is back!
After the veterans reported for training camp Thursday, the team held their first practice Friday morning.
For quarterback Matthew Stafford, who's entering his 10th year in the league, camp provides an opportunity to continue to improve before the start of the regular season.
“I’m always trying to find a way to be better, and I don’t see myself as a finished product really ever,” Stafford said Thursday.
“Every year you go back and kind of go through your game with a fine-tooth comb and just pick out one little thing here. ‘Hey, I was working on this going into last year, did I get better at it or not? Do I still need to work on it even more?’"
In order for Stafford and the Lions' offense to improve, they're going to need help from the run game. After ranking last in rushing last season, running backs coach David Walker knows things need to get better fast.
"It has to be better for our team to have the success we want,” Walker said. “You’ve got to be able to efficiently run the football. And if you look at all the teams that have success, they can efficiently run the ball.
“That doesn’t mean they run it all the time, but when you’ve got to run it, you’ve got to be efficient in those categories.”
Having the starting offensive line healthy for camp should also help the run game. Injuries hampered that unit last season, but if they can stay healthy, it could make a world of difference.
“Right now we have a good o-line room,” left tackle Taylor Decker said. “We have 15 guys in there that are all contributing in practice every day and we’re just try to grow together as a group and get better together as a group and stack one day on top of another.”
DEFENSE COMING TOGETHER
The Lions' new defense is still coming together. The schemes may have changed, but the leadership remains the same.
Both safety Glover Quin and linebacker Jarrad Davis have been quick to adapt to the changes, and continue to be leaders of the unit.
“With your experience, you’ve seen a lot, you’ve heard a lot, you’ve done a lot,” Quin said after Friday’s practice.
“You can recognize things and be able to break it down and put it in a language where people can understand you. Sometimes you’ve got to make it connect, so when you get out there it makes sense.
“I’ve seen it all – a lot of it. I’ve been around a lot of it. I’ve been in a lot of different systems.”
We should get a better idea of what to expect from the defense when the pads come on for Sunday's practice. Davis can't wait.
“I’m itching ... I’m itching,” he said when he spoke to the media on Thursday. “It’s getting closer every day. It’ll be here before you know it.”
Check out all the action from Day 1 of Lions camp:
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Watch Tori Petry talk with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about Matt Patricia's first training camp and Ziggy Ansah starting camp on the PUP list.
- Catch up on all the news from Jim Bob Cooter and Paul Pasqualoni's Thursday press conferences.
- Get to know this year's squad with the 2018 meet the roster gallery.