(ALLEN PARK) - The old saying is you live by the blitz you die by the blitz. Well the
blitz got the better of the Lions offense as quarterback Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon
struggled to hit the hot receiver with a combination of blitzes being sent at them by
defensive coordinator Kurt Schottenheimer.
This was all part of coach Steve Mariucci's carefully contrived plan to help the Lions quarterback in their maturation. Mariucci wants the quarterbacks to understand when the blitz is coming, where it's coming from, where the hot reciever is and when no one's open when to tuck and run.
“What we did today, we had a blitz period – and it’s good stuff," said Mariucci.
"It’s worked for the offense and it’s worked for the defense and it’s very necessary and it’s very important. Obviously, what you’re going to have in those types of drills, you’re going to have guys coming free, crowded vision lanes, you’re going to have tight coverage, you’re going to have the offense win some, you’re going to have the defense win some and the more often you do it, the better you get, so we’re going to do it again tomorrow. It’s very important for our young quarterbacks.”
Mariucci was not surprised that quarterback Joey Harrington struggled a little bit and expects him to improve when they come back with similar drills tomorrow.
“It’s (blitz drill) the most difficult thing a pro quarterback [does]. It’s easy to do a 7-on-7, you just go back and take your time and you throw to whoever you want and you have no vision lanes obstructed, and then you go to teamwork and of course we’re not blitzing much and we’re in coverage and the quarterback can throw most of the time without duress.
“But then you get into the blitz periods and you get six and seven guys coming and it’s very important that he gets a feel for that sort of presence by the defense close to him – all those bodies. It’s more than just our lineman, its backs and tight ends protecting, so there’s a mass of bodies in the way obstructing vision, so the more a guy does that the better he’ll feel and the more comfortable he’ll feel in that pocket. So it was a good start, I enjoyed that period, probably better than our two-minute period.”
Mariucci also talked about the importance of a quarterback knowing when to run and then knowing the "escape routes" that can lead to positive yardage off a busted play.
“What we’ve coached now, escape routes, when to stay in the pocket, when to leave, not only when to leave, how to get out of there and so those sort of things are being drilled. I know they were drilled last year, too. He’ll get better at those things as time goes on, so will Mike (McMahon).
“It’s part of his growing up and developing as a quarterback in this league. You’ve always heard that experience is the best teacher – he needs to go through this time and time again. The more he’s been in blitz periods, the more he’s been in game situations and all these practice situations, the better he’s going to feel about it.”
LION NOTES: Rookie Curt Anes isn't gettting many snaps but he is making the most of them when he does.
"He doesn’t get a lot of reps," said Mariucci, "we’ve got to have the two guys, Joey and Mike, get the Lions’ share of the reps and then Ty (Detmer) will get crumbs because he’s been through this before, we’ve got to keep him fresh and alive, but then Curt will get snaps now and then. Most of his snaps will be in individual work with the receivers and quarterback drills, and that sort of thing. Now and then when he gets an opportunity to participate in 7-on-7 or team he does a good job."
“Most of it (is mental preparation) He’s getting in the physical work and in individual periods and that sort of thing. Once we get into the team, there’s just not a lot of snaps to go around for four quarterbacks right now.”
The most logical move is to try to sneak Anes onto the practice squad where he can continue to develop with the team and perhaps spend a year in NFL Europe. Detroit will have a decision on Mike McMahon after next season when he can become a free agent.
Some eyebrows were raised when Charles Rogers began icing his leg during practice, but Rogers says it's not to worry. “You always want to take care of your body, that’s all I was doing. It’s not anything big,” said Rogers.
Detroit announced that they have come to terms with restricted free agent James Hall with terms undisclosed. Hall will likely battle with second-year pro Kalimba Edwards for the Lions starting left end spot opposite Robert Porcher. Hall led all Lions’ defensive lineman with a career-high 72 tackles (43 solo) while playing in 16 games (14 starts) in 2002.
Detroit still has unrestricted free agent linebacker Richard Jordan in camp without a contract on a waiver.
Bly on Rogers side:
It's isn't often that a defense intentionally helps an offense, but Dre' Bly and Charles Rogers have become fast friends and Bly is helping speed up Rogers development as a pro. “Dré Bly helped out tremendously," said Rogers. "He’s a great corner himself, he makes big plays. Just by going up against him, it’s just going to make me a better wide receiver. I try to learn a lot – watching Dré is a good teaching lesson."
For his part, Bly is happy to do what he can to assist Rogers.
“I told him when he first got here that I was going to work him. He’s got a lot of ability. A great receiver in college, he’s got to make that adjustment to the league. It’s not really that hard, but you’ve got to be willing to work. I’m just constantly in his ear, just trying to give him some advice because I have, coming up into my fifth year, faced a lot of guys and been able to play alongside Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, Ricky Proehl, and see how those guys work, I know what it takes. I’m just trying to encourage the young guy. He’s doing fine and making progress. I’m going to show him rather than teach him. He’s learning; he’s adjusting. From the first day we were out here working, he’s picked up some things. I mentioned some things to him. He will adjust to it, he will learn.”
Anderson still by brother's side:
Coach Mariucci said that he's allowing receiver Scotty Anderson to stay at his brothers side for as long as it takes. Both Anderson and his brother Steven were stabbed outside a Houston nightclub. While Scotty Anderson wounds were superficial, Steven's are life-threatening. Mariucci updated the media on Anderson's situation.
“Nothing new. He’s still not here. I haven’t heard anything new," Mariucci said. When things are taken care of with his brother’s status and health and things settle down a little bit then I’ll expect him to be here, (but not this week).