Drew Stanton is starting from scratch as the Lions begin their organized team activities. Much more inside.
Drew Stanton is starting from scratch as the Lions begin their organized team activities.
After the Lions drafted the quarterback in the second round last year, offensive coordinator Mike Martz immediately altered his mechanics.
"He changed everything, and I didn't really understand why and I never really got explanations on how to work on it," Stanton said. "It was one of those things, 'Well, you're just doing this wrong.' "
Stanton said he "felt robotic" and struggled to think about the offense while thinking about his mechanics. On the third day of training camp, he had stiffness and swelling in his knee. He had surgery and went on injured reserve, ending his season.
Even when he was physically ready to return, he wasn't permitted to practice with the team under NFL rules. He said he learned about the offense from attending meetings but didn't work out individually with Martz and quarterbacks coach Adam Gase, who were focused on the season.
"I was on my own, basically, with our strength coach, just throwing with him, trying to work on mechanics but not knowing if I was doing it correctly," Stanton said. "So it was tough."
Martz was fired after the season, and he and Gase were hired in San Francisco. The Lions replaced them with Jim Colletto and Scot Loeffler.
Stanton's mechanics are now closer to what they were in college. He said he's "back to feeling comfortable" and enjoys working with Loeffler.
"If something's not clicking or I'm not getting it, he tries to go about it a different way to make sure I'm understanding," Stanton said. "It's really refreshing from that standpoint, definitely, being able to communicate with somebody on that level."
Just getting on the field is important, though.
"These past couple of days I took more reps than I took all of last year," Stanton said. "I feel like I've grown even more in these past two days mentally."
Quarterback Jon Kitna is not worried about losing his job to Drew Stanton or Dan Orlovsky. "I'm pretty well established as the leader of this football team and the quarterback, and Rod has never wavered from that," Kitna said. "So I don't expect that to be any different from that, and I'm pretty excited about where we're going as a football team."
Kitna is looking forward to having more control at the line of scrimmage, after having virtually none under former offensive coordinator Mike Martz. "I'm kind of a control freak by nature, and so it's a good thing," Kitna said. "The other thing is, I think it will encourage more dialogue between myself and the receivers and the linemen and what they're seeing, and I can take input from them. There also has to be a line that says, 'Okay, I got you, and we'll try to get to it, but we've got to do what's best for the team.' "
Wide receiver Roy Williams isn't getting too excited about the changes in the Lions' offense. "It sounds good, man," Williams said. "Everything sounds good in the offseason. I've got to see it Week 1 vs. the Falcons. We're just working hard, man, doing the things we're supposed to do, and hope it pays off Week 1, and Week 1 I can answer those questions."
The Lions headed off questions for safety Kalvin Pearson by issuing a statement: "Based on advice from my legal counsel, I will not be making any comments on my pending legal situation in Florida." Pearson was arrested April 26 in Tampa after allegedly choking a woman pregnant with his child and trying to elude police.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our expectation is we will be disappointed if we don't win 10 games, because that will mean we're not in the playoffs and that sucks. I can't make it any simpler than that. Anybody who says that's not their expectation level is unfortunately not very much of a competitor." -- QB Jon Kitna, in the latest incarnation of his 10-win talk.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNELS Idrees Bashir could be back because the Lions need depth in the secondary.
OT Barry Stokes was signed late in the season when the Lions had problems on the offensive line. He was cut earlier, though, and probably won't be back.
WR Troy Walters was a solid fifth receiver and return man, but he won't be re-signed.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
WR Devale Ellis spent 2007 on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury.
CB Leigh Bodden (trade Browns).
DT Chuck Darby: UFA Seahawks; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
TE Michael Gaines: UFA Bills; $10M/4 yrs, $3M guaranteed.
LB Gilbert Gardner: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
OG Corey Hulsey: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
CB Brian Kelly: UFA Buccaneers; 3 yrs, terms unknown.
S Kalvin Pearson: RFA Buccaneers; $3.5M/3 yrs, $1.1M SB (Buccaneers elected not to match and receive no compensation).
RB Artose Pinner: FA; terms unknown.
S Dwight Smith: FA Vikings; $5M/2 yrs, $350,000 SB/$300,000 reporting bonus; 2008 cap: $1.825M.
RB Tatum Bell: UFA; $1.6M/1 yr, SB unknown.
DB Greg Blue: ERFA; terms unknown.
RB Aveion Cason: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
CB Travis Fisher: UFA; $9M/3 yrs, SB unknown.
OT George Foster: UFA; $1.1M/1 yr, SB unknown.
DB LaMarcus Hicks: Not tendered as ERFA; terms unknown.
TE Sean McHugh: ERFA; terms unknown.
DL Langston Moore: RFA; $927,000/1 yr.
DE Corey Smith: UFA; terms unknown.
CB Keith Smith: Potential UFA; $5M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
QB Dan Orlovsky: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.
TE John Owens: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
G Stephen Peterman: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.
CB Stanley Wilson: RFA; tendered at $927,000; terms unknown.
LB Boss Bailey: UFA Broncos; $17.5M/5 yrs, $4.35M SB.
CB Fernando Bryant (released).
RB T.J. Duckett: UFA Seahawks; $17M/5 yrs, $5M guaranteed.
DE Kalimba Edwards (released; post-June 1 designation).
RB Kevin Jones (released/failed physical).
S Kenoy Kennedy (released).
LB Teddy Lehman: UFA Buccaneers; terms unknown.
QB J.T. O'Sullivan: UFA 49ers; $645,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.
DT Shaun Rogers (traded Browns).
C/G Blaine Saipaia (released).
T/G Damien Woody: UFA Jets; $25.5M/5 yrs, $8.75M guaranteed.