The Detroit Lions begin the OTA portion of their offseason training program on Tuesday.
Over the next four weeks, the Lions may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
The Lions’ OTA dates are May 20-22, May 27-29 and June 2-5. The team will then finish the offseason training program with a mandatory minicamp June 10-12.
Here are five storylines to follow heading into OTAs:
Head coach Jim Caldwell has been in contact with
Suh’s absence from the first two phases of the offseason training program isn’t anything new. This is his typical offseason regimen, a schedule that’s earned him three Pro Bowls in his first four years.
He’s received criticism for his lack of attendance in Allen Park, nonetheless. The Lions were afforded an extra minicamp because they have a new coaching staff and most of the other veterans – including
The Lions are also implementing a new scheme on defense and some think Suh, as a captain last year, should have made an effort to be at that minicamp.
Instead, Suh stuck with the offseason program that’s worked for him the last four seasons and he has every right to that decision with the Lions’ offseason program being voluntary.
The team will open up Wednesday’s OTA practice to the media and there will be availability afterward. It’s yet to be determined if Suh will address the media afterward.
The rookies are fresh off their minicamp and now get to run with the big boys.
The biggest thing for the rookies is to not slow the veterans down. They need to be studied, know the playbook and get themselves acclimated to how the veterans practice.
It’ll be interesting to see where some rookies are slotted at the beginning. Is
Rookies usually fit in where they can and there’s an adjustment period that takes place. The ones who adapt the quickest see the field earlier and more often.
There were a number of players who missed the voluntary minicamp last month because of nagging injuries.
Caldwell told reporters this weekend that he didn’t know if Houston would be ready for training camp after undergoing toe surgery last week, let alone OTAs.
Bell recently go into a little hot water with general manager Martin Mayhew after an Instagram photo showed his left knee wrapped with a pair of crutches next to him with the caption: “Be (back) in no time.”
Ansah has been rehabbing most of the offseason after shoulder surgery.
Will Johnson, Jones, Ansah, Bell or any of the other rehabbing Lions take part in OTA practices?
SCHEMES TAKING SHAPE
The offense and defense isn’t going to look much like the ones we’ve seen the last five years under the old regime.
On the other side of the ball the Lions are switching to an open and closed end concept and plan to play the SAM linebacker closer to the line of scrimmage. How will it all come together with the personnel they currently have?
It’s expected that defensive coordinator Teryl Austin will be much more aggressive with his linebackers and secondary and will play more man defense than zone. How will that look and how might some players benefit more than others from the new scheme?
The real competition starts in training camp when the pads come on and the hitting starts.
That being said, some players can put themselves in good shape for the start of training camp with an impressive next four weeks.
The competition should be stiff at cornerback, right tackle and receiver, in particular.
Can anyone really say who the Lions’ top two cornerbacks are right now?
After Johnson and
The Lions signed rookie defensive tackle
The undrafted rookie free agent out of Florida International took part in the minicamp on a tryout basis.
Hickman (6-2, 280) lined up inside and outside on the defensive line for FIU and led the team in sacks (4) and forced fumbles (3) last year. He also had 44 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss.
He’ll compete for the Lions fourth defensive tackle spot.