Yes, football is in the air! Today the Detroit Lions, along with several other NFL teams, opened up training camp for the 2014-2015 season. Training camp gives us the first glimpses of a team's offseason moves, rookies, new coaches and new playbooks. It also gives us, as fans, the freedom to over value an unguarded, 70-yard touchdown pass, but that's not the point!
As for the Lions, we have a lot to watch for: a new head coach, two new targets for Matthew Stafford and Suh, as he enters a contract year without any extension in sight. Here are six things to watch for during Lions training camp.
1) Lame quotes: Training camp is perfect for lame football quotes. Especially when it comes to QB Matthew Stafford. No one, I mean NO ONE, does lame football quotes like Stafford. Let's take a look at some of the lamest from this year, so far.
“The teams that are successful on offense in this league have a great understanding of what they’re trying to do and what defenses are trying to do to stop them.”
“I think, anytime you have a coaching change, a lot changes,” Stafford said. “Everybody wants to bring their own personal style and their own attitude to the team."
"We have enough veteran guys, guys that have been around long enough to understand that you never know when your last game in the NFL is, so you’ve got to play them all with that sense of urgency and be ready to win every year.”
2) Reporters will ask Ndamukong Suh about his contract. Its been the biggest topic of the Lions offseason -- the contract situation of Suh. Entering his final year with no extension in sight, the defensive tackle will no doubt be a distraction to the entire team. Already, Jim Caldwell has been bombarded with questions. When asked if he believed Suh would re-sign, Caldwell said, "Absolutley." Suh’s enormous cap number of $22.4 million this year — and the fact that franchising him next year would cost a whopping $26.9 million — makes it easy to see why the Lions would love to work out a long-term deal that provides them with some immediate cap relief. Or, just trade the guy! (Note: GM Martin Mayhew said today that negotiations have been tabled until after the season)
3) All aboard the Theo Riddick hype train! The Notre Dame running back has been "turning heads" all offseason at workouts (THEY ARE WORKOUTS!!!!!!!!) and has even been pegged as the next Darren Sproles by backup QB Dan Orlovsky. The kid is fast, but he had nine carries last year, and caught four passes.
4) The culture of the team is changing!!!! SERIOUSLY THIS TIME! Every time a new coach rolls into Detroit, it's time for a change of the culture. No more games, kids! It's time to get serious.
5) Eric Ebron will drop a pass, panic will ensue. But, just remember, it's training camp. Even Calvin will drop passes. (Kidding, we all know Calvin doesn't practice.)
6) Someone will make a Super Bowl prediction. New Lions safety James Ihedigbo has already said the Lions have the makings of a "championship-DNA team." It's only a matter of time before someone else says the Lions will win it. My guess: Golden Tate.