Camp Battle: Coleman, Spievey Eye Safety Spot

One of the fiercest battles developing in the Detroit Lions 2012 training camp is the starting safety position next to Louis Delmas.

ALLEN PARK -- One of the fiercest battles in the Detroit Lions 2012 training camp will be for the starting safety position next to Louis Delmas.

The main contenders for the spot are last year's starter Amari Spievey and veteran Erik Coleman.

During organized team activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp, it appeared as if the job would be Spievey's to lose. However, when training camp opened, many were surprised to see Coleman taking reps with the starting unit.

Coleman signed with the Lions prior to the 2011 season but struggled to get acclimated with his new team before an ankle injury - suffered during a Week 4 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys - ended his season.

This offseason, Coleman has quietly inched his way up the depth chart and seems to have the inside track on the starting job, a surprise to most but not all.

"That's what I expect from myself," said Coleman of earning a starting role within the Lions secondary. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity and I'm working hard and I'm going to continue to work hard to try to help this team wherever I can."

The Lions haven't necessarily soured on Spievey and, at the very least, see him as solid depth with developmental potential.

The third-year pro has some tools the Lions covet, namely solid speed and a willingness to tackle. Still, many opportunities exist for Spievey to improve, starting with the mental aspect of the game.

"I'm still making a lot of mistakes so I have to correct that," said Spievey. "The mental part, recognizing stuff, staying disciplined and all that. This is my second full season of playing safety, I still got a lot to learn and hopefully I can get it done before the season starts."

As a converted collegiate cornerback and former high school running back, it is understandable that there is some growth potential remaining in Spievey's game.

Currently, Coleman is sidelined with a "minor muscle tweak", opening the door for Spievey to practice with the first unit.

When Coleman returns, it will be interesting to see if he resumes his role with the starting unit or if the coaching staff rotates the two players before eventually deciding on which will be named the Week 1 starter.

No matter what happens, this is one area that will be fun to observe during this year's camp.

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