It's on now

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A mandatory 3-day minicamp for the Lions begins today in Allen Park. And as Nicholas Cotsonika at reports, the competitions for jobs begin in earnest now.

Previous weeks have been preoccupied with veterans learning the new coaching staff and its wants; rookies getting caught up; and the Lions' front office turning over to a great extent the largely atrocious roster from last year's 0-16 season.

Coach Jim Schwartz has pointed to this minicamp -- the end of the off-season program -- as the time to start making it count, Cotsonika says.

The battles won't begin in full force until camp opens in late July with the players in pads. The players will be in helmets and shorts this week. No hitting.

Things I'm looking to see:

1. How much do OLs Ephraim Salaam and Jon Jansen have left in them? Enough to push Gosder or even Backus? Or at least to be very strong backups? The problems last year weren't just Backus' and Gosder's inconsistency. It was a lack of quality depth, the inability to rotate in effective players as the starters got tired. If Salaam and Jansen show something -- even if they don't unseat the starters -- the Lions might have a much better rotation available to them in the second halves of games this season.

2. How much better will the Lions' secondary be this year? (It can't be much worse.) With two new CBs -- Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry -- and highly touted rookie S Louis Delmas.

3. Will one of the veteran WRs -- Bryant Johnson or Ronald Curry -- emerge as a legitimate threat on the other side of Calvin? It's incredible what Megatron accomplished last season with no other Lion receiver seriously taking any pressure or attention off of him.

Discuss in The Den!