The first round of OTAs have completed this week by all NFL teams this week. Let’s take a look at some news and notes from the NFC North.
Good news and bad news. The good news is stud weak side linebacker DeAndre Levy appeared healthy and took part in the 11 on 11 drills during OTAs. Levy missed almost all of 2015 with a hip injury (sans half a game). Center Travis Swanson was also a full participant after shoulder surgeries.
The bad news for Detroit is starting running back Ameer Abdullah is out until training camp after having shoulder surgery in January from a mid-December injury (which he played 2.5 games through). Abdullah is expected back for camp but he will miss 10 OTAs practice and 3 days of mini-camp. His shoulder is worth monitoring during the off season and camp. The Lions need him in September but not May.
In surprising news, rookie 1st round pick Taylor Decker was the starting left tackle in the only practice open to the media. The Lions flipped Riley Reiff to the right tackle. The starters aren’t set in stone in May but it somewhat telling that Decker is already on the left side on day 1. Decker is under contract long term (4 years with a team option) and it might be best to put him at left tackle for the long haul. Reiff is playing in a contract year. Reiff proved he can play left tackle but is a better run blocker than pass blocker. We’ll see if this move actually happens and pays off for the Lions. A move like this muddies the waters on Reiff’s value with an extension if he moves to right tackle after three years of left tackle.
The Lions cut tight end Tim Wright with an injury waiver. Wright had 2 TDs for the Lions in 2015 and had some productive years with Tampa Bay. Wright is a terrible blocker and more of a third tight end type. He had two stints with Tampa Bay and played with the Patriots previously. This opens up a roster spot for an undrafted tight end on the roster such as Cole Wick (Incarnate Word) or Adam Fuehne (Southern Illinois). Brandon Pettigrew is recovering from an ACL tear and may not be ready by training camp. Pettigrew is already a turtle though but the Lions could use his blocking in September and beyond. The Lions have 88 players on the roster and two open roster spots.
Stephen Tulloch was not at OTAs and he is still not cut or traded.
Second year corner Alex Carter was a full participant as well. He received reps on the outside and in the slot. The 2015 3rd round pick missed almost all of training camp and most of the season in 2015. The Lions finally get to see what they have in the big Stanford corner.
Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson was back from his ACL tear but still very limited (no routes). It’ smart to be cautious in May or so I’m told. However, a torn ACL is always worth monitoring to find any hidden turtle powers.
Eddie Lacy was looking slim and trim. We’ll see if it helps his elusiveness and speed without hurting his power. He has dropped 15 to 18 pounds but still weighs in the 240s. He’s a big one who loves his China Food.
The Vikings will host Super Bowl 52 and their new stadium is nearly complete. Here is a picture.
Backup defensive end BJ Dubose tore his ACL during OTAs. This shouldn’t hurt the Vikings badly but GM Rick Spielman loves him some BJ Dubose.
Alshon Jeffrey is staying away from OTAs on a franchise tag contract. This is a smart move for Jeffrey. You wouldn’t want any OTA “fireworks” messing up your long term contract.
Dowell Loggains is installing his offense. It should be similar to Gase with a few wrinkles. We’ll see if he does better than his time with the Titans.
Marques Wilson and Hronnis Grasu seemed to have bulked up the most this offseason with muscle.
Kevin White was participating without any limitations. He missed his entire rookie with a shin injury. The Bears will be happy to get the 1st round pick (7th overall) from 2015 into their weaponry arsenal.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!!! Thank you to all that have served.