Lions camp: Just throw 'them' the damn ball

As the Detroit Lions and the agent for No. 2 overall pick Calvin Johnson close in on a deal, there was one lingering question remaining for head coach Rod Marinelli following Wednesday's practice: Will starters Mike Furrey and Roy Williams be willing to share?

As the Detroit Lions and the agent for No. 2 overall pick Calvin Johnson close in on a deal, there was one lingering question remaining for head coach Rod Marinelli following Wednesday's practice:

Are there enough balls to go around once Johnson joins the team?

The question is a legitimate one, considering starters Roy Williams and Mike Furrey combined for 180 grabs last year, or nearly half of quarterback Jon Kitna's completions. Considering Johnson's talents, and his regular highlight show during the team's off-season training workouts, those receptions will have to be shared.

"Oh, they're awesome (about it)," responded Marinelli when questioned during Wednesday's afternoon briefing. "They want to win the right way. They want to. It's my job, our staff's job, to guide them correctly; it's all on me. We've just got to get it done."

Despite missing, at the minimum, the first week of practice, there hasn't been a significant worry about Johnson's absence amongst the Lions coaching staff. The staff is hopeful that Johnson's crash-course in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's playbook during the OTA's will help streamline his transition into camp.

To make sure, Lions coaches have contacted Johnson since his arrival in Detroit -- which is expected to culminate in a deal as early as Thursday morning. RoarReport.com learned that Johnson is likely to garner between $25 and $28 million in guaranteed money.

"A couple of our receiver coaches talked to him," admitted Marinelli. "It's more just dialogue right now; it's just hard right now because we're in camp; you know two-a-days, meetings, so it's a little bit harder."

The Lions have garnered a bit of the national spotlight with what is a seemingly prolific set of weapons on offense. Between Johnson, Furrey and Williams, a stacked backfield, and a veteran signal caller, some have pegged Detroit as the "sleeper" team of the NFL.

The attention is fine, according to Marinelli, but that doesn't necessarily equate to wins.

"It's not the best talent, it's the best team," he said. "When we cut this team down everybody will have their roles defined. Those last ten guys on the roster are critical; it may be the most important ten guys. They create the morale of your team, because their jobs aren't always the best jobs. Then you got guys who are like: well this isn't what I want to do.

"You have to be able to weed it out, see it, see how these guys are playing and then develop our depth."


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