A week ago at this time, the Detroit Lions were still waiting to practice for the first time and start their true preparations for the 2014 season.
Now, by a week from now, the Lions roster could slowly start to shake out following the first preseason game Saturday against the Cleveland Browns.
Here are a few things to look for as Week 2 of training camp starts with a bunch of open practices -- and Johnny Manziel making his first-ever in-game NFL appearance Saturday night against the Lions in Detroit. The first practice of the week began at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning so keep up with those updates @mikerothstein.
What's up with Ezekiel Ansah? The Lions are going to need him this fall and while he's been out there every practice, he remains on the active PUP list for the time being. For every practice he misses, though, there will be some level of concern of his fitness and preparedness for Detroit's opener against the New York Giants on "Monday Night Football." Both Ansah and coach Jim Caldwell have been mum on his return so far. In his place, the Lions have rotated Devin Taylor and George Johnson with the first team a bit. Neither have the playmaking ability of Ansah.
Does a kicker make a move? The competition between Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio feels extremely close right now. Saturday night could start to separate the two as they'll both likely receive some opportunity against Cleveland. It feels like Tavecchio has had the stronger camp of the two, but Freese is still working with Sam Martin and as the kicker of the first unit.
Can a receiver separate himself? One of the stories of the first week was the emergence of Kevin Ogletree running with the first group and putting himself in good position for a roster spot and an increased role in 2014 behind Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron and the running back tandem of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. Do Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross or Ryan Broyles make a move in the second week? The Lions have to be banking on at least one of them to do so. Andrew Peacock, the undrafted free agent, likely won't make the roster but he has caught the attention of some coaches early on.
Offensive rhythm: The Lions have had moments where the offense has looked quite good through the first week of camp. That's to be expected with Calvin Johnson on the roster. But considering the emphasis placed on Matthew Stafford's development and the addition of offensive pieces this offseason, seeing them do what they were brought in to do has to be a confidence boost for the Lions.
The competition continues: One of the closest -- and only -- starting positions up for grabs is at right tackle, where LaAdrian Waddle and Corey Hilliard both started games in 2013. Right now they are alternating with the first unit by the day and neither one has really made a massive pull away from one another. This probably won't be decided until the latter half of training camp.
And now, a look at Lions news from around the Interwebs:
This week's Lions Mailbag. The Lions practice report -- Day 6 and Day 5. Eric Ebron starting to show some improvement. Mohammed Seisay making a run at the Lions roster. TJ Jones frustrated missing early practices. Nick Fairley sentenced in DUI case.
Reggie Bush is doing everything he can to try and make sure he stays productive, writes Dave Birkett in the Detroit Free Press.
Jim Caldwell is trying to head off potential off-field issues before they even have a chance to occur, writes Josh Katzenstein in the Detroit News.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune dissects some of how the Lions new coaches are working with Matthew Stafford.
Jonte Green is trying to make it all work in his third season, writes Justin Rogers in MLive.
From The Guardian and about the other football -- La Liga is trying to make a push into the United States. (In my opinion, this is an interesting crossing between the two footballs at this point. European football leagues are trying to draw interest from United States viewers at the same time the NFL is making a push into Europe, specifically England, for fans and maybe a team down the road.)