Players Eager To Begin Training Camp

As much as the Detroit Lions players might be enjoying the six-week break since the end of OTAs, many of them say they're looking forward to the start of training camp July 27. Analysis and comments inside.

ALLEN PARK -- As much as the Lions players might be enjoying the six-week break since the end of OTAs, many of them say they're looking forward to the start of training camp July 27.

"I really do," said receiver Roy Williams. "I'm really excited about this football team. We have (Mike) Martz on the offensive side, we have coach (Donnie) Henderson on the other side.

"These are two of the 'head coaches' coaching around this league and as long as we do what they tell us to do, I don't think there's any stopping this football team."

It's been awhile since that kind of enthusiasm existed in a Lions camp, especially when the coordinator was as demanding as Martz has been in developing the offense during the off-season program.

"It's exciting because this offense exploits the positives that people have," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "You've seen this offense over the years, (Martz) has come here, the strides we've made have been great but there's no need to make predictions.

"We have to go out and do it ... week in and week out. It can't be a sometimes thing, it can't be two quarters. His offense is predicated on everybody doing their job on every single play or else it's going to break down. We're going to have to keep working."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the fact we stunk it up the last five years might have something to do with it." - Fullback Cory Schlesinger explaining why most of the Lions players have bought into the aggressive, disciplined approach of coach Rod Marinelli and his staff

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Although the Lions starting offensive and defensive lineups seem fairly well set, coach Rod Marinelli says the jobs were won or lost during the off-season workouts.

"We're getting a pretty good feel right now with them but the key is to get into the pads," he said. "I think it's going to happen pretty quickly ... but it can change pretty quickly also. It's a process.

"The worst thing you can do in the off-season work is to start making decisions mentally and you disallow a man to make the progress because you've already mentally put him as a backup. So I try not to do that. Some of these players are going to look different in pads. Some will be better, some will be worse."

In particular, Marinelli will have to settle on a starting left guard, right tackle and the pecking order for the receivers, including first-round picks Roy Williams, Charles Rogers and Mike Williams.

It is expected the Lions will have to cut four or five players before the start of training camp.


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