Fans that came to see the new and improved Charles Rogers left dissatisfied during Saturday's public "Black and Blue" practice at Ford Field. And they let him know about it.
The maligned fourth-year receiver, who received the endorsement of starting quarterback Jon Kitna earlier in training camp, was on the field sparingly, often times with the second or third team when the squad worked in 11-on-11 light scrimmages. But the former No. 2 overall pick still struggled to get separation against the lower-rung defensive backs, and was largely ignored by quarterbacks Josh McCown and Dan Orlovsky.
When Rogers had his opportunity with the first team -- during the two-minute drill -- he quite literally 'dropped the ball.'
Running a crossing pattern, Rogers got separation from his defender as Kitna rocketed a spiral in his direction. As he attempted to corral the pass, Rogers apparently heard the footsteps of safety Kenoy Kennedy, dropping the ball as he and Kennedy collided. A chorus of boos erupted from the 22,992 fans in attendance.
Rogers hobbled off the field, but his ego and confidence might have been more hurt than his leg.
Immediately after Rogers departed the field, Roy Williams responded by hauling in a Kitna pass with one arm before backpedaling out-of-bounds. On the next play, Williams made a diving touchdown reception to the delight of the fans. Those were just two of several exotic plays that Williams made on the day.
But while Williams isn't a concern in Detroit's offense, Rogers is. The former Michigan State standout was expected to compliment Williams in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's downfield passing scheme, finally achieving what GM Matt Millen envisioned when the two players were selected in consecutive drafts. Some dreams die hard.
Despite an impressive off-season and fast start at camp, Rogers has quickly tailed off the past few day, showing signs of the player that former coach Steve Mariucci and staff loathed in 2005. Frequently on Saturday, Rogers would stand on the sidelines and watch as fellow receivers Corey Bradford, Mike Furrey, Glenn Martinez and even Shaun Bodiford saw more action -- and produced.
In fact, Rogers' only other touch of the football during the 11-on-11 scrimmage wasn't even on a pass -- it came on a reverse.
Earlier in the week, Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli wouldn't comment on whether or not Rogers could be a training camp casualty, stating only that it was too early to determine one way or the other. However, as the team learned with quarterback Joey Harrington just a few months ago, you sometimes have to cut your losses -- regardless of the investment -- to better the team.
As training camp continues on Monday, Charles Rogers will have plenty of chances at redemption. There is no doubt that he still possesses the talent that some argue rivals that of Roy Williams. But if he continues to slide into oblivion on Detroit's depth chart, his concern won't be repetitions on the first, second or third team.
It will be on what team.