Pre-Camp: Unit-by-Unit Analysis

Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson are talented, big-play threats on the outside. Some think Johnson can do for the Lions what Reggie Bush did for the Saints last season. Complete position-by-position analysis as the Lions kick-off training camp in one week.


QUARTERBACKS: Starter - Jon Kitna. Backups - Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, J.T. O'Sullivan.
Kitna is entrenched as the starter. He threw for more than 4,000 yards last season, but he had trouble with turnovers and struggled in the fourth quarter. The Lions hope he will be better with a better supporting cast. Kitna has no experienced backups. Orlovsky has attempted only 17 NFL passes; Stanton is a rookie and a long-term project. O'Sullivan is considered a camp arm at this point.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter - Kevin Jones. Backups - Tatum Bell, T.J. Duckett, Shawn Bryson, Brian Calhoun, Aveion Cason.
Jones' status will be one of the big stories of training camp. He is recovering from a serious foot injury. All reports are good, and Jones expects to be ready for the opener. But no one will know for sure until Jones starts running and cutting - and comes back the next morning. Bryson and Calhoun also coming back from serious knee injuries as well. It wouldn't be surprising if Bell and Duckett are the Lions' one-two punch for the opener. Bell brings a home-run element the Lions have lacked, and Duckett should help a poor short-yardage, red-zone running game.

TIGHT ENDS: Starter - Dan Campbell. Backups - Casey Fitzsimmons, Sean McHugh, Eric Beverly, Darnell Sanders, Rudy Sylvan.
Campbell showed he was more than just a blocker last season by making some big catches. He plays the traditional, point-of-attack tight end position, as does Beverly. Fitzsimmons and McHugh play what offensive coordinator Mike Martz calls the fullback - more of an H-back position. Expect a lot of pre-snap movement from all of these guys, and some critical plays, too.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters - Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson. Backups - Mike Furrey, Shaun McDonald, Devale Ellis, Marcus Robinson, Eddie Drummond, Kevin Kasper, Ron Bellamy, Troy Walters, Edell Shepherd, Cliff Russell.
The Lions now have a full complement of weapons for Martz's aerial attack. Defenses no longer will be able to bracket Williams and Furrey, as they did last season, and Martz will be able to use his entire playbook, as he wasn't able to do last season. Williams and Johnson are talented, big-play threats on the outside. Some think Johnson can do for the Lions what Reggie Bush did for the Saints last season. Furrey and McDonald are small, quick targets inside. The battles will be for the fifth and sixth spots.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LT Jeff Backus, LG Edwin Mulitalo, C Dominic Raiola, RG Stephen Peterman, RT George Foster. Backups - G Damien Woody, G Rex Tucker, T Clint Stickdorn, Ike Charlton, T Jonathan Scott, G Manny Ramirez, G Barry Stokes, G/T Ben Noll, G/T Blaine Saipaia, G Frank Davis, C Dave Pearson.
The one to watch is Woody. If he comes into camp with his weight down, if he is moving well and looks like he could regain his Pro Bowl form, he could stick around. He could start at left guard, leaving right guard for Mulitalo. But if Woody doesn't look good, he could be released. That would probably put Mulitalo at left guard and Peterman at right guard. The Lions have been impressed with Peterman.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LE Dewayne White, DT Cory Redding, NT Shaun Rogers, RE Kalimba Edwards. Backups - E Ikaika Alama-Francis, E Jared DeVries, E Claude Harriott, E Corey Smith, E Bill Swancutt, T Shaun Cody, T Langston Moore, T Cleveland Pinkney, T Marcus Lewis, T Jon Bradley.
The Lions think Redding and Rogers can be the best tackle tandem in the NFL. Redding's motor runs non-stop. Rogers' needs to rev up. The question marks are on the ends. White comes from Tampa Bay and is a Marinelli disciple, but he has never been a full-time starter before. Edwards has been all physical tools and potential. It's time for him to bust out. Alama-Francis is a raw talent who could play end and move inside in nickel situations. The Lions want to see what they have in Swancutt, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a knee problem.

LINEBACKERS: Starters - WLB Ernie Sims, MLB Paris Lenon, SLB Alex Lewis. Backups - OLB Boss Bailey, Johnny Baldwin, OLB Donte Curry, MLB Teddy Lehman, Anthony Cannon.
This unit needs to make more plays. Period. Sims was a tackling machine as a rookie. He needs to keep that up and while coming up with more turnovers. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry raised some eyebrows by heaping praise on Lenon. Lenon needs to live up to it - and hold off Lehman, who is behind because he missed so much time with a foot injury. Lewis and Bailey should battle on the strong side.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - RCB Fernando Bryant, LCB Stanley Wilson, SS Kenoy Kennedy, FS Daniel Bullocks. Backups - CB Keith Smith, CB Lamarcus Hicks, CB Travis Fisher, CB Tony Beckham, CB Ramzee Robinson, CB A.J. Davis, Israel Route, CB Dee McCann, S Gerald Alexander, S Idrees Bashir.
The unit could be the biggest question mark on the team. Bryant is a solid tackler, which is important in the Tampa Two, but he needs to stay healthy and make more big plays. Wilson needs to prove he can replace Dre' Bly and hold off Fisher. Does Bullocks have what it takes to play this critical role in the Tampa Two? Where is the heavy hitter Kennedy was supposed to be when he came from Denver? The Lions need some of the other players to step up and provide dependable depth.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Starters - K Jason Hanson, P Nick Harris, LS Don Muhlbach, KR/PR Eddie Drummond.
The Lions have a solid kicking game with Hanson, Harris and Muhlbach. Drummond's status is uncertain, however. He hasn't starred since going to the Pro Bowl after the 2004 season. He has been plagued by injuries in his career, and there is concern is isn't running as hard as he can because he's trying to stay healthy. He needs to show some desperation.

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