Lions' Rookies To Receive Crash Course

Assuming they can maintain the pace, the Lions rookies will have a pretty good idea of what to expect in the NFL preseason by the time they finish the offseason workouts at Allen Park in early July. Comments from head coach Steve Mariucci inside.

(ALLEN PARK) -- Assuming they can maintain the pace, the Lions rookies will have a pretty good idea of what to expect in the NFL preseason by the time they finish the offseason workouts at Allen Park in early July.

"We'll expand on what we did in the first minicamp," coach Steve Mariucci said. "They've all taken a test already - the entire team - based on what we presented last minicamp. They will be presented new material here in our OTAs (organized team activities).

The rookies joined the team's veterans at the Allen Park headquarters last week and will have approximately six weeks of work before breaking for the league's rookie symposium, and will get a few more days in early July.

"Once we're done with the second week of June, probably 80 percent of what we're going to go into the first few games with has been presented. Training camp then becomes a review.

"We won't get into backed-up-coming-off-the-goalline and a couple of those situations. Some of those things we won't get into in these minicamps but the nuts and bolts of it, we'll get into."

All except three of the Lions' 25 rookies reported. The only three who have not yet completed classes for the summer -- and therefore are not eligible to participate -- are third-round cornerback Stanley Wilson of Stanford, sixth-round defensive end Bill Swancutt of Oregon State and undrafted safety Chip Cox of Ohio University.

The rest of the Lions rookies -- including first-round pick Mike Williams, a wide receiver from USC, and second-round pick Shaun Cody, a defensive tackle from USC -- are getting a crash course in the work ethic of an NFL team.

"By the time they cut out of here in July, they've got a pretty good idea of what we do," Mariucci said. And the element Mariucci wants them to learn the best is hard work. In fact, he says virtually each of the team's 25 rookies will have to work harder than he has ever worked at football in his life. Although the rookies will get classroom time with their position coaches, Mariucci's primary focus will be to get them prepared physically for the start of training camp and the regular season.

"Over the years, the rookies tend to pull muscles because they simply haven't been working at the pace of our practices," Mariucci said. "Or they train for that combine and then they shut it down a little bit.

"They think they're working but they're not working out. Then they get into a minicamp and these OTAs, and all of a sudden it's fast, change of direction and they tend to pull hamstrings, groins, hip flexors. It happens every year.

"The benefit mainly is strength and conditioning," he said.

The rookies will get some classroom time and will get a refresher course in the offensive and defensive basics they were given during the post-draft minicamp in late April. But mostly they will be spending time with strength and conditioning coach Jason Arapoff.

"We could teach them the whole book but if they're not physically capable of staying on the field, healthy, then you're whistling Dixie."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The other guys have been here six weeks. And there's not a rookie that's in the same physical condition as the rest of the team. I don't care what they've been doing, there's no chance of this kind of intensity, so they have some catching up to do." -- Lions coach Steve Mariucci on the conditioning work facing the Lions rookies.

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