Camp Notebook: Position Battles Continue

Several notes from Allen Park after one full week of Detroit Lions training camp.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Daunte Culpepper vs. Matthew Stafford for starting QB -- Stafford appears to have the lead on Culpepper through one week of camp. But he hasn't taken a snap in an exhibition yet, and it is unclear whether simply a lead over Culpepper would be enough for him to start the opener. He might need to be head and shoulders above Culpepper. The Lions have said Stafford must both be ready and the best quarterback to start.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: The Lions don't have a tremendous number of starting jobs up for grabs, even though Schwartz has said everything is open after the NFL's first 0-16 season. Daniel Loper appears entrenched at left guard. Gosder Cherilus is holding off Jon Jansen at right tackle so far. The defensive tackle and safety competitions haven't cleared up at all because so many players have been out with injuries.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Matthew Stafford -- It's hard not to keep talking about the No. 1 pick in the draft. Stafford's arm has been the main attraction in camp so far. For a franchise that has had only one Pro Bowl quarterback since Bobby Layne was traded in 1958 -- and for a fan base scared of yet another failure after Joey Harrington flamed out as the No. 3 pick in 2002 -- Stafford's every move is being watched closely. So far, so good.

ROOKIE REPORT: Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (quad) and safety Louis Delmas (knee) have missed days of practice with what are described as minor injuries. The Lions were so concerned after Delmas' knee swelled up in a meeting that they sent him for tests, but no major damage was reported. ... Wide receiver Derrick Williams flashed one day by making a couple of nice catches, but he is off to a slow start overall and has a long way to go. ... Linebacker DeAndre Levy hasn't been as good as he was in OTAs, according to defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham. ... OL Lydon Murtha has been out with a minor injury. ... LB Zack Follett, known for his hitting, has made an impact in pads. ... TE Dan Gronkowski is showing good receiving skills as he gets more reps with other tight ends injured.

INJURY REPORT: The Lions have had several players miss practice, including running back Maurice Morris, cornerback Keith Smith, linebacker Jordan Dizon, offensive lineman Lydon Murtha, safeties Louis Delmas and Daniel Bullocks, wide receivers John Standeford and Bryant Johnson and tight ends Brandon Pettigrew, Casey Fitzsimmons and Jake Nordin. Most are day to day, nursing minor training camp injuries like sore joints and muscles, according to coach Jim Schwartz. Fitzsimmons (knee, ankle), Smith (groin) and Johnson are the only ones expected to miss significant time. Johnson has wounds related to a golf cart accident

CAMP CALENDAR: Camp breaks Aug. 26.

  • WR Bobby Sippio was signed mainly because the Lions were thin at receiver due to injuries. Sippio, who spent time with Kansas City the past two years, is a longshot to make the roster.
  • TE Carson Butler was also signed mainly because the Lions were thin at his position due to injuries. He also is a long shot to make the roster, though he ended the Lions' open practice at Ford Field with a touchdown catch.
  • OL Damion Cook was placed on injured reserve because of a triceps injury that needs surgery. Cook was fighting for a roster spot, but he had a decent chance because of his ability to play multiple positions.
  • CB Anthony Henry played some safety one day because the Lions were thin at the position due to injuries. The Lions have talked about possibly moving him to safety based on his performance. But for now, this appears to be for emergencies only.
  • TE Dan Gronkowski is getting extra reps with the Lions thin at tight end, and he's making the most of them, distinguishing himself as a receiver. He's still fighting an uphill battle, but the seventh-round pick is giving himself a better chance.



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