Detroit Lions 2014 Training Camp Preview
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
REPORT DATES: July 22 (rookies), July 27 (veterans)
SITE: Detroit Lions Training Facility, Allen Park, MI
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: A slight improvement on the field wasn't enough for Jim Schwartz to keep his job in the Motor City largely because his team remained undisciplined, win or lose.
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell is the new sheriff in town, handed the task of not only cleaning up the now trademarked boneheaded play but also the mechanics of talented but underachieving quarterback Matthew Stafford.
If you really can't teach an old dog new tricks, the clock is ticking on Stafford. Four years into his NFL career, the book on the former No. 1 overall pick hasn't changed. He's an elite talent with mechanical issues, relying on his plus-arm strength to make up for shoddy footwork, poor arm angles and questionable decision-making.
The Lions took an NBA approach to upgrading their high- octane offense. Detroit wanted to take some of the LeBron James-like load off of star receiver Calvin Johnson after Megatron suffered through an injury- plagued 2013 season.
Former Seattle receiver Golden Tate will be Johnson's new running mate on the outside while athletic rookie tight end Eric Ebron has Caldwell envisioning a Jimmy Graham-like impact in the middle of the field.
KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Ebron seemed like a luxury pick for a team with plenty of holes on the other side of the ball but his athletic skills rival Vernon Davis and he should be able to take some of the heat off of Johnson.
KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: The Lions already had two solid linebackers in underrated playmaker DeAndre Levy and solid mike Stephen Tulloch. They might have added a third by drafting the versatile Kyle Van Noy, who figures to solidify the SAM spot.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug 9 - vs. Cleveland, 7:30 PM Aug 15 - at Oakland, 10:00 PM Aug 22 - vs. Jacksonville, 7:30 PM Aug 28 - at Buffalo, 7:00 PM
07/17 12:18:18 ET