Running back Kevin Jones looked good in his first practice after the Lions decided to put him on the active roster. He lined up at running back. He cut to the right, caught a pass, and then darted downfield. More individual player notes inside as Lions prepare for Oakland.
Quarterback Jon Kitna's first start was in the Black Hole. He was playing for Seattle at the end of the 1997 season, and there was a monsoon. "It was the 15th game of the season, and I hadn't played all year," Kitna said. "And so it wasn't the ideal setting for me. We were out of the playoffs. You know how veterans ... I didn't realize then. I was just young and wet behind the ears. But veterans are kind of shutting it down and all that stuff. We got down 21-3, threw a couple interceptions in the first half, but we came back in the second half and ended up winning 22-21 or 23-21 or something like that. It was very exciting."
How much should we expect of wide receiver Calvin Johnson? He was the second overall pick in this year's draft, but he's still a rookie. "If you're looking for him to just explode and average 100 yards every week early on in the season, I don't think that's going to be the case," Kitna said. "But then again, he is pretty dominant. And he will be working against somebody that definitely isn't as tall as him and he runs as fast as them, so he's going to have a chance to make some big plays for us every week, and certainly this week is no different."
The Lions signed linebacker Buster Davis to their practice squad, after Davis, a third-round pick, was cut by Arizona and passed through waivers. Was it a coup? "I don't know," coach Rod Marinelli said. "I was pretty direct: 'It's not good, a first-day pick sitting in my office here.' But he took it the right way. It's humbling." Marinelli compared Davis to his former Florida State teammate Ernie Sims, whom the Lions drafted ninth overall last year. He likes his quickness, instincts and awareness, though he wants him to go from 243 pounds to 230. "Boy, I want to revive his career right now," Marinelli said. "Let's get going. I'm excited about him."
Oakland coach Lane Kiffin liked safety Eric Frampton, whom the Lions claimed off waivers from the Raiders this week: "We went back and forth on whether we were going to keep him," Kiffin said. "He was a guy that was very likely to return on our practice squad, because I think he does have a future in this league and he's a wonderful human being as well, one of my favorites. As strange as it sounds, I was actually happy for him that he got picked up because I was really rooting for him to make a roster."
Running back Kevin Jones looked good in his first practice after the Lions decided to put him on the active roster. He lined up at running back. He cut to the right, caught a pass, and then darted downfield. In the end, after 2 1/2 hours of going through drills and running with the scout team, Jones was pleased with how his injured left foot held up. "I was a little timid at times, trying to test it, but felt good," Jones said as he walked off the field. Jones said he got bumped a few times. When a reporter pointed out a green mark on his shoulder, Jones said: "I tried to run somebody over, and they dodged out of the way."
It is unlikely Jones will play on Sunday, as the Lions would prefer to work him slowly back into things as the season progresses.
These are the Lions' captains this season: Quarterback Jon Kitna and center Dominic Raiola on offense, defensive tackle Cory Redding and linebacker Ernie Sims on defense, and kicker Jason Hanson on special teams. "It's not something you take lightly, really, to be honest with you," Kitna said. "When your teammates appoint you a captain, that means that they want to follow you. Therefore, you can never hide. Good game, bad game, you've got to be there." Kitna and Raiola were captains last year. Redding became a captain after defensive end James Hall went on injured reserve. Sims and Hanson are new.