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Jim Caldwell quotes from day 3 of Lions OTAs

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell opened up to the media on the third day of voluntary OTAs and discussed how the team is looking so far, the injury status of a few key players, and how the young guys on the team are getting acclimated to NFL workouts.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford also spoke on being a veteran now and what the building of depth has meant for the team.

Caldwell says that RB Ameer Abdullah is “recovering nicely” from shoulder surgery he had earlier in the off-season but wouldn’t get into specifics on if Abdullah played with injury last year, or when he expects him to be back.

Caldwell also didn’t sound to concerned when being asked about the absence of WR Golden Tate: “Not here. We know where he is. We know his situation. He’s not missing in action or anything.” However, Caldwell did say that Tate’s absence wasn’t due to injury.

The non-participation of TE Eric Ebron was due to injury though, but Caldwell said the third year tight end is “healing” and “coming along”.

Caldwell also made sure not to get too high or too low on his team’s performance in OTAs so far: “You know it’s never going to be perfect. Obviously, a little bit sloppy in some areas but that’s what we expect from these things. If we looked excellent, if we looked perfect just in terms of our functioning out there, there wouldn’t be much for us to do. But there’s a whole lot for us to do. We’ve got a lot of young guys learning the system that, you know, for three days I think they’ve got a lot of good work done.”

The bulk of the interest in OTAs is about how the rookies look. While it’s too early to make any definite proclamations about a player three days in, the coach let us know what exactly he’s looking for in the young guys at such an early stage: “You know, obviously, athleticism, movement, skills, all those things can be determined. But then also your ability to apply the concepts in which you’ve learned. You know, we can certainly get quite a bit out of that and just to see what his aptitude level is in understanding. So even though you don’t have pads on for linemen, it’s a little different issue for them, you’re not doing really a lot of the heavy work. But a lot of the skill guys, the evaluation’s a little easier.”

Even if a guy shows all the athleticism and skills in the world, Caldwell knows how deceiving looks can be when you’re dealing with uberly freakish athletes: “Right now it’s more of an evaluation process, but there are some things you can make a determination on, but you can’t be fooled by what you see out here in shorts. There’s been several examples of that, guys that may not look as good in shorts, but look outstanding with pads on.”

The Lions have added a lot of depth in the off-season too, and quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is now entering his eighth year in the league, seems to be a fan of the strategy: “You know you feel like you’re the young guy for forever and then all of a sudden, you know it’s the NFL. They’re always trying to bring in competition, bring in young guys, see if they can pave their way in this league, and we’re no different. We’ve got a bunch of competition at a lot of positions and it’s going to make us better.”

We can only hope. Keep with DSN for more Lions off-season coverage as we will continue to bring to you the latest injuries, signings, waivings, and quotes from the organization.

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