–LT Jeff Backus reportedly suffered a pectoral injury, apparently after the Lions’ two four-day voluntary workout sessions. Though the injury was believed to be minor, there is a chance he could miss the start of training camp.
–QB Matthew Stafford has been throwing without pain or any physical difficulty basically all summer. He was at all eight voluntary workouts, looking much bigger and stronger in his upper body, and proclaimed his surgically-repaired right shoulder was “better than ever.” About his new physique, he said, “I was down in Pensacola (Fla.) at the Andrews Institute for two and a half months just doing everything they told me to do. The therapists and trainers had me going every day, sometimes twice a day for more than 10 weeks. I had to get better.”
–RB Mikel Leshoure made a strong first impression at the voluntary workouts. “He’s a big kid,” Stafford said. “He’s what I expected to see, and that’s a good thing.” At 5-11, 233 pounds, with thick chest and legs, he at least has the physical presence of an NFL power runner, they type the Lions have sought for years. He also has the confidence of an NFL power runner. When told the Lions struggled in short-yardage situations last season, he said, “That will change.” The Lions still consider Jahvid Best to be their feature back, but in time the Lions hope Leshoure could get 40 percent of the snaps.
–FS Louis Delmas, by his own admission, played below his standards last year and he won’t use a nagging hamstring injury as an excuse. “I just think opportunities present themselves,” he said. “I didn’t have a great season like I did my rookie year. But I played well enough. We got a couple of wins and I helped my team out. I am satisfied with my performance last year and I think I will do a better job this year.” Delmas had surgery on the groin Jan. 14. “That set me back for a couple of weeks,” he said. “But I had a great rehab thanks to my training staff and coaches down in Miami and I’m coming back 100 percent.”
–SS Erik Coleman was signed by the Lions before the lockout and is expected to start alongside FS Louis Delmas. “It’s really exciting to be here,” said Coleman, a long-time starter for both the Jets and Falcons. “This is a very good team to be a part of; very up and coming. I watched their defense, man, and they play with so much energy. It’s a pleasure to play with these guys.”
–TE Brandon Pettigrew will come into camp significantly lighter than the 265 pounds he played at last season. “Strength thrills but speed kills,” he said. Pettigrew had shed 10 pounds by the end of June. “I wanted to be more on the lean side instead of being as big as I was,” he said. “I did it mostly through diet, but I also did more toning work and not as much with the heavy weights.” Pettigrew, coming off major knee surgery, played in all 16 games last season and he had a career year with 71 catches and a team record 722 yards. “I picked up the weight too fast (last year),” he said. “I tried to jump right into it and get big and I did it the wrong way. Now I am back to what I was used to. I like being able to move more and I still think I can get it done in the blocking game.”
QUOTE TO NOTE
“There were a lot of questions about the draft and what we should do and what areas we needed to emphasize, but I said from the beginning, you draft the best available athlete on the board. I like exactly what we did. I don’t care if it’s the position I play or somebody else’s. If you get the best athletes then I am going to be in a position to make more plays. We’re going to be explosive.” — WR Nate Burleson on the drafting of RB Mikel Leshoure and WR Titus Young
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