ALLEN PARK -- The indoctrination phase had barely gotten underway but Lions coach Rod Marinelli left no doubt about what he's expecting from the Lions' rookies.
"I want to get them caught up as fast as I can," Marinelli said on the opening day of rookie mini-camp. "I need these guys to make an impact for us."
To make sure the rookies got the full attention of himself and his staff, Marinelli brought in only the seven draft picks, eight undrafted rookie free agents and another 28 undrafted players coming in on a tryout basis. No veterans participated in the three-day mini-camp.
"When you have a mini-camp with all of the rookies the first time, they're in the back of the line, they never ask a question, the meetings are intimidating, they don't get as many reps, they don't get coached with the details and they don't get the exposure to our special teams that I'd like," Marinelli explained.
"So they're the only guys in the building and we're able to coach all the details with them. Special teams is a priority, they're going to go in for a weight-lifting session and understand how we do things and meet with people who are going to affect their careers here so we can really do a good job of springboarding them with the veterans."
Even though the rookies had the coaches to themselves, they struggled at times to adjust to the pace that Marinelli expects them to maintain, and also struggled to handle new assignments.
"I knew it was going to be up-tempo and I knew I was going to have to learn on the run," Sims said. "It's a lot of new drills that I'm not accustomed to because I was at Florida State and we didn't do those kind of drills.
"That's why I'm here in the off-season. I'll be back on May 15 and I'll be ready to work."