Marinelli Applauds Rookie Performances

Gosder Cherilus (Getty Images/D. Centofanti)

Detroit got productive minutes from each rookie, and in particular, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, running back Kevin Smith, and defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Andre Fluellen.

ALLEN PARK -- When the Detroit Lions completed their draft back in April, it was regarded as well-executed, with little flash but potentially chock full of substance.

If the play of the rookies in Thursday's exhibition win was any indication, maligned GM Matt Millen might finally be onto something.

Detroit got productive minutes from each rookie, and in particular, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, running back Kevin Smith, and defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Andre Fluellen.

Middle linebacker Jordon Dizon also showed a great nose for the ball.

Marinelli began his praise with Gosder, who played nearly the entire game at right tackle, despite a few penalties.

"Gos played pretty well," Marinelli said following Saturday's camp session. "He really did. He had the one holding penalty, and the one offside that wasn't all him on that - I'll leave it at that. But he really showed some energy off the ball. I mean, he knocked some people off the ball. He did a nice job. First time out of the block was good."


Like others, Marinelli was
excited by Kevin Smith

Getty Images/Dominic Centofani

Cherilus blocked for Smith, who like starter Tatum Bell, found running room difficult to come by. He tallied 22 yards on eight carries, including a long of seven yards. Still, he showed some flash in what little room he had to run.

"The yardage is not there, I understand that," said Marinelli. "But the bursts and the movement that we're seeing - I like the quickness and all those things. We've got to get him in a groove."

Defensively, Fluellen, Avril and Dizon each played the entire second half. On a fourth-down play in the third quarter, Dizon stuck New York's Reuben Droughns for a loss of two yards.

As the play broke down, Dizon flew into Droughns, completing the play on his own.

"The instincts are there," said Marinelli of Dizon. "You just have to be where you're supposed to be with your instincts all the time. But his awareness is pretty good."

Unlike Fluellen, who registered a sack late in the game, Avril didn't put any numbers in the scorebook. He did, however, after several QB pressures, which didn't escape the attention of Marinelli.

"He should have had a two-sack game," said Marinelli. "He was too deep on the one and then he had another one where he got the guy and then we had a penalty on it. So he showed some stuff.

Added Marinelli, "Fluellen did okay; he had one nice play at the end of the game and he played hard and did those things well."

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