ALLEN PARK - The Lions will open their second minicamp of the 2005 season today and the team hopes to use the camp to continue putting in new wrinkles to their base offense, continue to 'cross-train' players, and generally get to know each other on the defensive and special teams units.
The Lions had a successful post draft minicamp last month where rookie first-round draft pick, wide receiver Mike Williams shined, taking reps alongside former first round picks, receivers Roy Williams and Charles Rogers.
Rogers was limited in the amount of reps he took as he continues recovering from a second broken collarbone and wore the red jersey, indicating no contact allowed. Still, watching the three high profiel receivers line up together was impressive as quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Jeff Garcia put the group through their paces.
One thing to watch this time around on the defensive side of the ball will be the presence of linebacker Boss Bailey. Bailey quickly established himself as one of the league's top young linebackers his rookie season, but missed all of 2004 recovering from knee surgery.
Bailey finds himself in a crowded group of talented players including elder statesman Earl Holmes, second-year player Teddy Lehman, outside linebacker Alex Lewis and third-year pro James Davis.
If Bailey is healthy, one might expect him to quickly retake his starting strong-side linebacker position, but he can expect strong competition from Lehman, who played there most of his rookie season in the absence of Bailey. Lehman also can play the middle position and could be the logical replacment for Holmes once his playing days are over.
Bailey indicated that his knee was feeling pretty good. "Everything felt good (at the post draft minicamp)," Bailey told Scout.com. "I was so ready to go . . . and everything turned out the way I hoped it would."
"Once I felt going, everything felt comfortable. I felt my reads were pretty good. [I] can always get better at that but it wasn't as bad as I thought it could be."
Detroit will also be looking at rookie sixth-round pick Jonathan Goddard of Marshall. Goddard a 6-foot-0, 242-pound native of Jacksonville, FL, said initally he was taken aback by the amount of assistance players at his position were giving him. Goddard is trying to make the adjustment from playing defensive end in the Mid-American conference, to linebacker in the pros.
"The rest of the linebackers are helping me out to make sure I get everything going," Goddard said. "It's a big adjustment but I think I can get through it.
"Even if someone's there to get your job, you still want to win. If you want to win, you've got to at least teach this person what to do and help them out. You're all teammates or you're all going to be teammates.
"I was a little surprised, but this team has got it going in the right direction. They know what they want and that's a championship. They seem to know what they have to do."
Goddard best chance of making the squad is likely the special teams route, but he could fill in a pinch at both defensive end and linebacker.
Detroit will also get a second look at former Oregon State defensive end Bill Swancutt, another sixth round pick who was a pass rusher deluxe in the Pac-10. Lions coach Steve Mariucci has high hopes for Swancutt.
"I spoke to (Oregon State head coach) Mike Riley, who has coached in this league and also is a good friend of mine and he just loves the guy," Mariucci said. "He told me that he is just the hardest working guy he has ever been around in pro and college. He is one of those guys, who has been described as having a motor. He is a 270-pound defensive end, who probably will be able to contribute a little bit in the kicking game too."
Other players like corner Fernando Bryant, defensive end Kalimba Edwards, tackles Kyle Kosier and Kelly Butler all will be storylines as the season develops because of their potential to impact the team's win-loss record.
As the team moves forward to this summer's training camp, this minicamp will be an important one for many trying to impress the coaching staff and vie for playing time this fall.
Lions Open Second Mini-Camp Today
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