Camp Notebook: Delmas Continues to Learn

Former Western Michigan standout Louis Delmas is quickly making an impact. The rookie discusses his adjustment to the NFL and more, inside. Also: Jim Schwartz talks quarterback competition, while Scott Linehan analyzes Matthew Stafford's induction into the National Football League.

Louis Delmas knows how to make an impression.

The first pick of the second round in the NFL draft this year, had experienced only two fully padded practices before starting in an exhibition at Cleveland.

The first one came on the fourth day of training camp, and afterward, his left knee swelled up in a meeting. That kept him out for more than a week.

The second one came just three days before the Browns game, and in the middle of it, he smoked fellow rookie Aaron Brown with a hard hit. Brown ran to his left to catch a swing pass. Delmas smacked him and separated him from the ball.

Coach Jim Schwartz immediately approached Delmas. He told him the hit was unnecessary and crossed the line. But he didn't seem too upset, and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham couldn't hide his true feelings.

"You shouldn't do that in practice, but I turned around and smiled," Cunningham said. "I loved every second of it. Boy, he blew him up. That's the kind of tackling we hope to get out of him."

Brown wasn't upset.

"To be honest, the hit didn't even hurt," Brown said. "It was just surprising that I was laid out like this -- and boom. When I got up, the only thing that was really bothering me was my face mask was kind of twisted."

As Delmas spoke to reporters in the locker room, his long hair tied back, Brown walked behind him and playfully slapped the ponytail. Brown smiled over his shoulder. As the reporters laughed, Delmas ducked into the showers.

But that's the only way Delmas has been ducking. The Lions have been going through some physical practices, and Delmas had been itching to be a part of it.

"Putting on pads, going full speed out there," Delmas said, "I just want to hit anybody right now, just to get myself back into game-type situations."

Delmas said he definitely needed to adjust to the NFL after playing at Western Michigan.

"The speed of the game is the biggest thing for me," Delmas said. "It was an eye-opener coming into (offseason workouts), coming into training camp, the speed of the game in practice. So I'm anxious to see what it's going to be like in the game."

But Delmas seemed ready to start against the Browns. He registered two tackles, and seemed to be around the ball during the two quarters that he participated.

At the end of offseason workouts, Schwartz said Delmas had mastered the extensive defensive system maybe as quickly as he had ever seen a young defensive back do it.

And since Delmas has returned from the knee injury, Schwartz has praised him for how he stayed engaged in meetings and practices while sidelined.

"He has a remarkable aptitude for the game," Schwartz said. "He picks concepts up really quickly.

"There's not much that's too big for him when you step up -- whether it's stepping up with the rookies, stepping up with the vets, stepping up in a training camp practice."

NOTEBOOK:

  • Schwartz said in Thursday's press conference that rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew (quad) will likely see his first preseason action when the team plays Indianapolis on Saturday. Pettigrew has missed the last two weeks with a quadriceps injury that hadn't responded to treatment.

    "Yeah, if he doesn't have a set-back in the next couple of days, he'll be out there on Saturday," commented Schwartz.

  • Don't expect the quarterback competition to die down anytime soon. Despite rookie Matthew Stafford's less than appeasing performance last weekend, he's still being considered for the starting slot over veteran Daunte Culpepper. Both plays will split repetitions with the first team against the Colts.

    "It's still wide open," said Schwartz. "They obviously have a body of work so far that they have put on tape; there are situations they have been evaluated on. I don't want to handicap it one way or the other, but the final decision has not been made."

  • You might call Scott Linehan the ultimate optimist, but he might also know what he's talking about. Detroit's offensive coordinator has turned Stafford's poor outing last weekend into a bright spot, focusing on the learning experience for the team's top draft choice rather than dwelling on any glaring weakness.

    "He's got an offseason training camp and two preseason games that he didn't have before he got here and you can't replace that," said Linehan of Stafford's experiences thus far.

    He even revealed a comparison that could excite some, or make others cringe.

    "The quarterback we're playing this week (Peyton Manning) (will) be the first one to tell you that you've got to go out there and jump right in the fire.

    "That's what Matthew is going to get and get throughout his career. He's only going to get better over time. He's going through what every other quarterback who's played in this league has gone through."


Lions Report Top Stories