Calhoun Could Be Lions "Slash"

It's not going to happen now or even in the next minicamp scheduled for the end of the month, but sooner or later, Brian Calhoun is going to upset the apple cart in the Lions offensive pecking order.

ALLEN PARK - It's not going to happen now or even in the next minicamp scheduled for the end of the month, but sooner or later, Brian Calhoun is going to upset the apple cart in the Lions offensive pecking order.

Calhoun, a third-round pick from Wisconsin in late April, was a player hand-picked by Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz to be used as 'that guy'... you know, the one who's splitting out of the backfield as a fourth or fifth receiver, the little back who catches the ball in the flat and breaks down the defense, the guy who drops back to field a punt instead of the regular returner, that guy who's just a pain in the neck for the defense.

Right now, Calhoun is in learning mode, absorbing the offense's nuances before jumping in with both feet.

"I think right now it's more mental because they're throwing so much information at you at once, especially in the last 24 hours," said Calhoun. "I think right now everybody is trying to gather up as much information as possible, try to process that and move it on to the field."

He said no one is saying what his role is, but he pretty much already knows what it is.

"It's more about just kind of wiping the rust off and getting used to running plays and moving outside the backfield. Nothing's been talked about or anything like that."

But when pressed, Calhoun's words reveal that he already knows where his snaps are coming from. In the meantime, he is simply being diplomatic.

"I'm just in here to make the team better," he said. "Kevin Jones is a great back and Eddie Drummond's a great returner and any way I can fill some holes and make them better, I'm all for it."

Calhoun, like many of the Lions rookies, viewed offensive coordinator Mike Martz as somewhat of a legend, but meeting him up close and personal, was well...

"Interesting...(laughs). I know he's a good coach and he's done wonders for the team's he's coached for so I'm looking forward to working for him."

Was he a little bit intimidating? "A little bit," admitted Calhoun, "Especially for rookies coming in, but I think as you grow with him and become more comfortable with the system its a little better."

Once he becomes more comfortable, Calhoun sees himself on the field when he watches tape of the old St. Louis Rams with Martz as offensive coordinator or head coach.

"Obviously I have watched a lot of Marshall Faulk and I think in Martz's system, he's really flourished," said Calhoun. "I think down the road, possibly in the next year or two, I can see myself being used in that way. I'm just trying to learn the offense and find anyway to be on the field."

Calhoun transferred from Colorado to Wisconsin in part because the coaching staff wanted to switch him full-time to receiver. But, he relishes the idea of the way he thinks he'll be used here in Detroit.

"I think here it would be more about creating matchups, where at Colorado, they wanted to make a permanent move (to receiver from running back). I think that's the main difference, but I have no problem moving around, flanked out, offset or where ever it may be."

And what if it evolves into even more of a versatile role, like Pittsburgh's "slash" role?

"As I develop and become more comfortable in the offense and know a little bit more, I think I could develop into that kind of player."

The clock started ticking at last week's minicamp, and it won't be long before Brian Calhoun gets on the field with the veterans.

Some player will find himself on the sidelines when he thinks he should be on the field.

That's why Brian Calhoun is here and he knows it.


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