Cunningham: Lions Offense "Makes You Blink"

Detroit defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is already singing the praises of the team's offense. More news and notes inside as the Lions prepare for training camp.

If anyone is curious to just how good Detroit's offense could be in 2010, they might want to start by asking the man who has to defend them every day starting with next week's training camp.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, a 40-year coaching veteran, will be cutting his unit's teeth against what many consider to be a loaded -- and potentially devastating -- offense.

Detroit kicks off its training camp on Friday.

"Listening to (offensive coordinator) Scott (Linehan), and watching his career and the type of players he likes, when he speaks about offense, it makes you blink on defense," Cunningham said. "Because he wants to put these players in certain positions to allow him to get the quarterback to control the game.

"That makes it really difficult for defenses, especially with Calvin (Johnson). I saw him last year get beat up a couple times and we had no one else to threaten.

Added Cunningham: "What I'd like to see is Calvin Johnson one-on-one with one of these midgets."

Notebook:

  • Quarterback Matthew Stafford won the "Mr. Tough Guy" award from Fox analyst Terry Bradshaw last winter, based on his performance with a separated shoulder in a win over Cleveland. And Bradshaw, the Hall of Fame ex-quarterback, remains a big fan of the Lions' new young leader.

    "I think they are doing the right thing with him," Bradshaw told the South Bend Tribune. "He looks like the kind of guy who gets into it and shows he's mad. That's a guy who's leading them. I like him. I like him a lot. I like what he brings. (The Lions) still have a long way to go, but they're definitely on the right track."

  • Cornerback Jonathan Wade began last season as a starter in St. Louis and ended it on the Rams' inactive list. He's hoping to reverse that trend after signing with the Lions.

    "It's a clean start," he said. "It gives you an opportunity to be who you want to be. Whatever you give these people is what they'll think about you. There's nothing like a fresh start. It's like a brand-new car: it smells different, it feels different."

  • Nearly 40 players participated in voluntary boxing workouts in addition to their regular offseason training program this spring. Local pro boxer Luigi Gjokaj, who trains at the legendary Kronk Gym in Detroit, led the sessions, which were designed to help players' balance, power and agility. They weren't designed to create any world champions.

    "Everybody thinks they're pretty sweet with the gloves on, but I don't know that anybody could actually box," veteran defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "I think Luigi's probably the smallest dude in here and I think he could beat any of us."

TheSportsXchange helped contribute to this report


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