Football is officially back, as the Lions kicked off 2019 training camp this week.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions' offense are looking to hit the ground running after working this offseason to install the new scheme.
“Each system kind of has its unique challenges and ways that it somewhat stresses a quarterback,” Stafford said Wednesday. “Things you really need to be on top of.
“Those things, I think, are different in every system I’ve been a part of. I’ve kind of learned how to figure out where maybe this one is similar to another one in some instances and find ways to make that learning process a little quicker.”
On the other side of the ball, the Lions' defensive players are more comfortable in head coach Matt Patricia's scheme. That's allowed them to focus on different aspects of their games. Linebacker Jarrad Davis has been working on his pass rushing techniques.
“I want to add more to my game – help the defense out. I can drop in coverage every play. To be able to come in and rush the passer is super nice, too.
“It’s fun to go out and have an offense guess if I’m coming, or am I dropping? What am I going to do?
“It’s really exciting to give offenses more of a headache. There are so many of us they have to block. They can’t block every one of us. Somebody’s going to win a one-on-one and make a big play. That’s what we’re here to do.’"
Catch up on all the action from the first couple days of training camp:
SLAY, HARRISON START CAMP ON NFI
After missing the offseason workout program, both cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. reported for training camp with the rest of their teammates.
Neither have taken part in practice yet though, as they were both placed on Active/Non-Football Injury, along with defensive tackle Darius Kilgo.
“We made the announcement earlier this week about three guys on PUP,” head coach Matt Patricia said. “Then we’ll place three more guys today on NFI, it’s another different designation tag – Darius Kilgo, Damon Harrison and Darius Slay – just another tag that we’re allowed to use when we get to camp so that guys when they report to camp if we feel need a little more time to before they’re thrown into individual drills, so they go out prepared and away we go, we’re going to do that with them. Just (make sure they’re) physically ready to go.”
Slay talked with the media after Thursday's practice, saying he's keeping his focus on his teammates and his leadership role in the secondary.
“Be a better leader ... be more vocal with the guys,” Slay said of his goal for this season. “Helping these guys be better than I am. That’s my goal my goal right now, is to get these guys to my level or exceed it. If I don’t, I’ll feel like kind of a failure.
“I want these guys to be great like I am.”
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Mike O'Hara gives his picks for the Top 4 jersey numbers in franchise history.
- What is the biggest challenge facing rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson? His position coach explains.
- The move back to center and a year of experience has offensive lineman Frank Ragnow feeling more comfortable this training camp.