Joe Barry knows Shaun Rogers' reputation -- that Rogers is a great athlete with a not-so-great attitude.
But Barry doesn't know Rogers personally. Barry just joined the Lions as their defensive coordinator in January. And he says he is going to judge his star defensive tackle only on what he does from here on out.
"I've known Shaun Rogers for three weeks, and that's all I know," Barry said. "I can care less about the '05 Shaun Rogers or the '06 Shaun Rogers. This is '07. We're off to a great start, so I feel good."
Rogers was conspicuously absent March 19 when the Lions began their voluntary off-season conditioning program. But after speaking to coach Rod Marinelli, Rogers came to Detroit -- and later did a rare interview with a Detroit radio station.
"Me and coach Rod have no problems," Rogers said. "I don't foresee any. There's been tales of some, but me and him have had no kind of conflict. We've sat down and we've charted out a map of things we'd like myself to do, and I've voiced my opinions. Right now it's just about getting healthy, getting back in shape, so I can play."
Rogers is recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries and didn't participate in the first three voluntary practices. But he drew praise just for being there.
"He's in the building," Barry said. "He's lifting. He's on the treadmill running. He's out here at practice watching. That is huge for us because he's going to have to make a lot of plays for us in the fall.
"The players see him, and the coaches see him, and he's got a smile on his
face. I couldn't be more happy."
Tatum Bell and T.J. Duckett? Running back Kevin Jones isn't worried about the Lions' recent acquisitions, even though he is recovering from a serious left foot injury. "I see Tatum as an every-down back," Jones said. "I don't see Duckett as an every-down back. I guess they do need insurance. Were my feelings hurt? No. Because when I'm healthy, I'll be the guy. That's all that matters to me."
Jones resumed jogging a week or two ahead of schedule. "My goal is to be back for camp," Jones said. "I'm on pace, a little ahead of pace, I guess." Coach Rod Marinelli is cautiously optimistic. "It looks like he's really progressing well," Marinelli said. "I think everybody's excited about it. But I don't want to build false hopes to anybody."
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry said Stanley Wilson was the starting cornerback opposite Fernando Bryant -- not Travis Fisher, the free agent the Lions signed to a one-year, $2.25-million contract. "He can run. He does have speed," Barry said of Wilson. "But also he's a tough kid. He's willing. He will tackle. He will stick his face in there." Fisher is the nickel back.
Former Lions receiver Charles Rogers continues to draw interest across the league. Most recently, the New York Giants have considered acquiring the former No. 2 overall pick to plug into their open slot position.