Killer pens a pair of posts

Monday, June 22, 2009’s Tom Kowalski has put up a pair of interesting articles on the eve of the Lions’ minicamp.  First, he discusses second-year pro (and nascent blogger) Cliff Avril, going into how defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is teaching Avril to utilize his speed and explosion to disrupt the protection before it sets up, thereby “taking the air out” of the enemy offensive line.  The progression of Avril is something this defense is absolutely relying on—he is the only defensive lineman on the Lions’ roster with terrifying pass-rush skills.  His development--from a rookie who got a surprising amount of sacks and pressures in a string of meaningless games, into a feared pass-rusher that disrupts the offense, and makes life easier for the back seven--will be critical to this defense being not-awful in 2009.

Second, Kowalski posted a very interesting item highlighting some of the most intriguing position battles that will be waged during these three days—and how Coach Schwartz is rallying the troops by refusing to write up a depth chart.  In theory, Killer explains, this will keep the veterans on edge, and bring out the best of the rookies.  This is the polar opposite approach of the previous regime; where there was an ironclad depth chart that newcomers—both veterans and rookies—had to earn their place atop.  Former Lions CB Leigh Bodden indicated that that very approach poisoned his relationship with the coaching staff from the beginning of his time with the Lions.  Only time will tell if Schwartz’s approach will be an improvement.

Discuss it here, in The Den!