The Lions, lying in wait for the new year...
The tweets have been coming over the past 24 hours as the Detroit Lions rookies gather themselves into trains, planes and automobiles (OK, we don't know about the trains) to head to Allen Park, Michigan.
Football season has officially begun for them. They are due to report to the team facility Tuesday.
Among the rookies garnering the most attention over the next few weeks:
Tight end Eric Ebron, the first round selection, will be scrutinized a lot. His hands were a little bit suspect during the spring, something that had been a concern before the team even drafted him. He is expected to be a starter and unseat Joseph Fauria as the tight end that can stretch the field for Detroit. He's being looked at as an immediate difference-maker for the Lions and needs to show that from the get-go.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy is also expected to beat out veteran Ashlee Palmer and be a starter this fall. Unlike Ebron, Van Noy missed part of spring workouts. It'll be interesting to see if he still needs time to catch up following a spring where he wasn't able to do much at all. For rookies, every practice is going to matter.
Tackle Cornelius Lucas was given the most bonus money of any of the undrafted free agents and his size is being compared to last year's undrafted free agent tackle-turned-starter, LaAdrian Waddle. On a team in need of a fourth tackle, Lucas is going to get the first chance to win that job behind Riley Reiff, Waddle and Corey Hilliard.
Safety Jerome Couplin III didn't have the bonus money of Lucas and wasn't drafted like Ebron or Van Noy, but his nickname of "The Osprey" and his athletic ability has caught early notice from fans. He is still very raw, and if he makes the roster it'll likely be as a practice squad player. Unlike last year's sensation with a nickname -- Kickalicious -- Couplin has a chance to actually make the squad in some fashion.
Kicker Nate Freese was taken with a seventh-round pick and is in a competition with Giorgio Tavecchio for the role. If he wins the job, he makes the team. If he loses the job, he doesn't. His situation is extremely simple. While he might not receive the attention of other rookies this training camp, his job might end up more important than anyone other than Ebron during his rookie year.
And now, a look around the Interwebs in search of Lions news:
The Lions are going to wear a patch honoring late owner William Clay Ford Sr. this fall. Our camp previews continue with a look at the defensive line. Colleague Ron Jaworski rates Matthew Stafford compared to other NFL quarterbacks.
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Rookie TJ Jones is not sure of his health status as training camp is close to opening writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Joique Bell's sister received a kidney transplant, writes Josh Katzenstein in the Detroit News.
Questions linger behind Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson, writes Kyle Meinke from MLive.
Former Lions linebacker and current Denver Broncos executive Matt Russell begins his work-release program, writes Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
Absolutely loved this story from friend of the site Jamie Reidy over at The Good Men Project about a soccer game in Afghanistan that changed lives. It's long, but worth your time.