HOCKEYTOWN, U.S.A. — Just getting back in the groove after my trip to Detroit to check out Matthew Stafford at the Lions rookie mini-camp.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz came over from Tennessee and saw how rushing Vince Young out on the field may have stunted his development.
He’s also studied how the then Houston Oilers handled Steve McNair with kit gloves after the 1995 draft. The Lions want to guarantee Stafford’s success and don’t want to throw him to the wolves.
Before we move onto the Falcons mini-camp, wanted to share a few impressions from the Lions mini-camp:
1. Safety Louis Delmas is a beast! He was all over the field, playing at 100 miles an hour. The Western Michigan product and the first safety taken in the draft is going to make an instant impact.
2. Defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill from Stillman College is going to get some individual instruction. He is very raw.
3. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew didn’t look as smooth catching the ball as did at the NFL scouting combine. He’s going to be Stafford’s security blanket when Calvin Johnson is not open.
4. Also, Gerald Riggs Jr., son of the Falcons great, received a tryout. They were working him at fullback and halfback.
5. Went to my first hockey game ever! Thought it would be a good place to find some Lions fans for story on
Stafford. The atmosphere at Joe Louis was electric and I got to meet Red Wings Super Fan Mo Cheese. The Red Wings scored with 49.1 seconds to post a 3-2 victory.
6. NEW HERO — If I get into any trouble and need some muscle, I’m calling Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Dude dropped the gloves and dished out a swift and decisive beat down of Anaheim’s Corey Perry, after the coach told him not to start any fights.
Well, onto the Falcons mini-camp also known a CAMP SMITTY.
The Falcons will have two practices on Friday and Saturday and one on Mother’s day. Both sessions on Saturday are open to the public. The first practice on Saturday starts at 10:30 a.m. with the gates opening at 9:30 a.m. The second practice starts at 4:15 p.m. with the gates opening at 3:15 p.m.
On Mother’s Day, there is 10:30 a.m. practice so the dinner reservation will have to be around 6 or 7 p.m.
Here are a couple of things we’ll be looking out for at the mini-camp. Remember, that mini-camp depth charts don’t mean a thing. Last season, Pat McCoy was lining at first string left tackle. Smith and his staff will use this time to cross-train folks.
However, how the secondary stacks up is going to be interesting to watch. Don’t be surprised if rookie Chris Owens is lining up with the No. 1s along with defensive tackle Peria Jerry and safety William Moore.
Smitty and the staff showed last year that they are not scare to play rookies. Matt Ryan, Chevis Jackson, Sam Baker, Curtis Lofton and Harry Douglas all received major playing time. Can’t see them going much deeper beyond Owens this year.
Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury is going to be interesting to watch.
Oh yeah, tight end Tony Gonzalez will make his Falcon debut at the mini-camp.
Do you plan to attend the mini-camp? Which rookie are you more interested in watching? Are you excited to see linebacker Michael Peterson and Gonzalez in the red and black?