Jarrad Davis so far making Bob Quinn look smart for drafting him in first round

Davis works hard, has earned respect from the veterans

Can rookie Jarrad Davis live up to the hype?

At this point it would be shocking if he didn’t. He was drafted in the first round specifically to take over at middle linebacker, the position that makes the defensive calls.

It’s a big responsibility for anyone, let alone a rookie.

And yet, coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have not hemmed and hawed about where Davis will play. Caldwell usually takes a more wait-and-see approach with first-round rookies.

It’s different with Davis.

“He’s an unusual guy because of the fact that he works extremely hard. He’s smart. He works at it. He’s dedicated and he’s still got a lot to learn,’’ Caldwell said at training camp this week. “He’s only been in this thing a matter of a few months now, but just anticipate and expect to see him to continue to grow.’’

Davis, who played at Florida, is not cocky. When he was drafted he talked about how he took it upon himself to learn the characteristics of a good leader and then developed leadership skills with the Gators.

He’s not expecting to be given anything. He’ll work hard to deserve it, thank you. It hasn’t taken long for his teammates to figure him out.

“I think he gives respect, so they give it back and I think that’s an important trait as well,’’  Caldwell said.

Pro Bowl safety Glover Quin, who has a good view of Davis in practice, has become a fan.

“I like playing with him. He’s all football. He’s very serious. He takes his job very seriously. He wants to be great. You can see it by the way he asks questions, by the way he works and the way he studies,’’ Quin said.

“He’s going to be a great addition for us. Obviously, there are a lot of things you’ve got to learn. That’s to be expected. With his size, with his speed, with his instincts, with his physicality, he’ll be able to help us in the middle. I think he’ll make a lot of plays for us. I’m excited to play alongside him, watch him grow. I’m also excited to help him in any way I can,’’ Quin added.

Davis is going to make rookie mistakes, but from watching him in training camp, all indications are that he’s a play maker and he’ll be ready to go in September. That is exactly what the Lions’ defense needs.


Matthew Stafford puts in extra work with rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay

Third-round pick expected to make the 53-man roster

Matthew Stafford and rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay are putting in overtime to find their comfort level with each other.

When Golladay was not happy with his first day of training camp he was smart enough to seek help. He asked Stafford if he could go through a few routes with him.

Mind you, it was hot and humid. The intensity level was high and it was just the first day.

One reason why Stafford is The Franchise is because he went the extra mile for the rookie.

“(He said) whenever you feel like you need something just come to me and I’ve gotcha,’’ said Golladay, the Lions third-round draft pick.

Stafford, who is entering his ninth season, had good words of advice and a way of making Golladay feel like he’s an integral part of the offense.

“It’s a great feeling, you know an older guy like that, a vet, taking me under his wing and helping me a little bit,’’ Golladay said. “What he really said to me was it’s going to come in time, just keep working on it and ‘I’ve gotcha.’’’

Golladay has made several outstanding catches in camp just like the Northern Illinois product did in the spring during OTAs and minicamp.

While there’s a battle for the wide receiver spots after Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr., he has put himself in the discussion. Don’t be surprised if he starts the season as the No. 3 guy.

Coach Jim Caldwell said he’s seen steady improvement but wants to see more before he inks Golladay’s name on the 53-man roster.

“He’s got a ways to go yet, but he’s got height (he’s 6-foot-4), he’s got ability, he’s got the drive and work ethic to try and improve each and every day so, we’re excited about where he is now but, this is a time where we’re really going to get an opportunity (to see more),’’ Caldwell said. “We can get a little bit more contact here coming up with pads on and things of that nature.”

Then, of course, the preseason games will be key. Expect Golladay to get plenty of reps while Tate and Jones get plenty of bench time.

Golladay loves the competition in camp.

“I’m just trying to get better every day. That’s all that’s really on my mind, every day getting better and perfecting my craft. Coming to work each and every day trying to learn something new I didn’t know the other day,’’ the 23-year-old Golladay said.

“I’m still a kid at heart, still a kid really, period. Coming out every day is fun, playing football.’’

He said he’s gotten camp advice from many veterans. They mostly sing the same tune.

“Really that it’s just a grind and get as much sleep as possible,’’ Golladay said.


Packers fans still blue over seeing T.J. Lang in a Lions uniform

Lang will start at right guard on a revamped offensive line

No surprise that Green Bay Packer fans were not happy to see T.J. Lang wearing Honolulu blue and silver. After all, they’re not used to losing free agents to Detroit.

Even though it’s been months since Lang signed with the Lions as a free agent, the wounds of Packer fans remain raw. After all he was an offensive line fixture for the past eight seasons in Green Bay.

Lang, who will start at right guard for Detroit, had not practiced with the Lions until Sunday because he was coming off hip surgery. He took all the reps at right guard although he said it’s a possibility he may take it easy occasionally in training camp.

More bad news for Packers’ fans — Lang feels great.

He took the podium after the first day of training camp with his son, J.J. to answer questions from the media. Like most offensive linemen he’d rather play the game than talk about it. But he was cordial and had support from J.J. who was more fascinated with his wristband than the Detroit media contingent.

It was my best photo of the day, so I Tweeted it out. Packer backers weren’t quite as enthralled as Lions’ fans.

One little photo caused an avalanche of response on Twitter:

— @Empeypp: His son is adorable, which is why I feel so bad he was to watch his dad play on a 6-10 team.

— @Confuzled: Poor little kid

— @SuperCral: If he’s got another son named Derek, I’m calling shenanigans.

— @Wiscoinferno: That jersey looks no bueno on TJ tbh

— @PackerFans_: Lang breaking the news to Lions fans that he won’t be able to get them into the playoffs on his own.

— @AlecYanke: This is just wrong

— @BrewCrewCritic: Unfortunately, this will probably be a theme for the entire season. Posted with an old meme from ‘The Lion King’ with the words: “Dad, What’s a Super Bowl? I don’t know son, we’re Lions.”

— @Cletoreyes915: This image makes me sick. Then again I think I had to much hot sauce this morning.

And a few fine Packers’ fans — definitely a minority — hold no ill will.

— Taina Dejesus: I wish him the best I love tj

— Mattthommesen: Will miss you T.J. Lang please don’t hate packer nation. We loved you.

Lang grew up in the Detroit area and always dreamed of playing for the Lions.

“I think every kid dreams of playing for their hometown team, now it’s a reality for me,’’ Lang said. “At the end of the day that washes away pretty quick, get your mind back on football.’’

Only 98 days until the NFC North rivalry continues. On Nov. 6, a Monday night game at Green Bay, the division rivals will meet for the first time this season.

Five things to know about contract extension for Glover Quin

Two-year, $13 million extension will keep him in Detroit through 2019

ALLEN PARK — Glover Quin wanted to get his contract extension signed before the start of training camp.

He got his wish with minutes to spare when he signed a two-year extension worth about $6.5 million per year just before camp started at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The safety, who signed with Detroit in 2013, is now signed through the 2019 season.

He’s the Ironman of the Lions’ defense with 116 consecutive starts which ranks as the most among active NFL safeties and second among all defensive backs.

Quin has been a solid force in the secondary. He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2014 season when he had a career-high seven interceptions.

Five things to know about Quin and his contract extension:

1.  It was important to him to get it done in a timely fashion. “Last year I think (Darius) Slay signed his extension right before training camp. I kind of wanted to be in the same situation,’’ Quin said. “I told my guys I don’t want this thing to linger through training camp —  either I want to get it done or (say) we couldn’t come to terms, GQ is in his last year in Detroit, let’s enjoy and have a lot of fun and understand it was a part of business. That was one thing I wanted, I didn’t want it to linger.’’

2. Coach Jim Caldwell, among others, is thrilled to know Quin got a deal done. “We’re happy about that. He’s one of those guys that does everything the right way. He’s outstanding in terms of preparation off the field. On the field he’s tremendous it’s like having obviously another assistant coach out there on the field,’’ Caldwell said. “He does (everything) in terms of preparation and all the little things, Glover does a great job he’s very conscientious and sets a great example for the rest of the guys as well.’’

3. Quin said it gave him a lift when he ran on the field knowing the extension was done. “Going into the last year of a contract you just never know what’s going to happen, you don’t get a deal, you go into free agency, you never know,’’ Quin said. “You live in Houston you’ve kind of been used to being in Detroit and so to have to leave and now you’re going to some other city, obviously you don’t want to do that. …’’

4. Quin, 31, told the media on Saturday that he wanted to get a deal done, but gave no hint that it was 24 hours away. “They’ve been talking about it for a long time … All I knew I when they told me we were close, how close you never know until they close the deal. We got it closed today,’’ Quin said.

5. Before he signed, he called his wife to let her know the terms. Then after he signed, he texted her. She responding congratulating him on signing his third NFL contract. “A lot of people don’t sign three NFL contracts. A little kid like me from a small town in MIssissippi —  Summit, Mississippi — to be in the NFL long enough to receive three contracts and play at a level high enough to be rewarded with three contacts. I’m just happy right now,’’ Quin said.

BONUS: Most of Quin’s teammates weren’t aware of the extension because they were on the field warming up when it got done. And Quin wasn’t going to run on the field sharing his good news. Of course, they certainly all should be happy. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said it was a no-brainer.

Five things to know about Matthew Stafford on eve of training camp

No news on contract extension for the quarterback

ALLEN PARK >> Matthew Stafford knew the questions were coming before he took the podium on Saturday.

He had no contract extension to announce.

Also, no details on the ongoing talks.

“No timetable. I know that Tom (Condon) my agent and the guys upstairs are continuing talks. That’s all I can really tell you,’’ Stafford said. “That’s why I hired him to deal with that stuff and I don’t have to talk about it except when you guys ask questions.’’

Stafford, who is entering his ninth season with the Lions, has one year remaining on his deal.

“Honestly it’s not difficult for me. I come in every season no matter five years on the deal, one year on the deal, three years on the deal. There’s no difference to me as far as my preparation,’’ Stafford said. “I’m just doing everything I can to be ready mentally and physically ready to go.

No matter what happens I’ve got a year left on my contract so I’m going to be here this year playing football for this team. It’s on my shoulders to be as good as I can to help this team win.’’

Stafford spoke to the media on Saturday afternoon, before the official start of training camp on Sunday.

Here are five other things to know:

1. Coach Jim Caldwell said Stafford is in the best physical shape that he’s been since Caldwell has coached him. “I feel really good physically, I put a ton of work in. I did some extra stuff I hadn’t done in the past. I put some work in with some people I feel like I’m going to benefit from,’’ said Stafford, the dad of 4-month-old twin girls. “As far as with twins it just adds to it, busier than I ever was, keeps you in good shape.’’

2. He worked with a private quarterbacks coach this summer. “It is the first time for me ever since John Stafford (his dad) taught me how to throw a football,’’ Stafford said. “Like I said earlier when you’re competing against yourself to be as good as you possibly can be why not give everything you’ve got, find different people with different ideas that can help you out. I thought it was an opportunity and went for it and enjoyed it.’’

3. That said, he said the changes will not be apparent to fans or media. “Nothing that I feel like you guys would see that would ever make a difference. It’s not only on the field, it’s in the locker room. It’s all of that, it’s all encompassing,’’ Stafford said.

4. He didn’t mention the words Super Bowl when asked about the goal this season, but he tiptoed around it. “Obviously our No. 1 goal is to win the division. You win the division, you’re automatically in the playoffs and then you go from there,’’ Stafford said. “Would love to make a run, it’d be a lot of fun. I feel I, we as a team, have tasted the playoffs but I know it’s going to be special when we make a run and I’m doing everything I can to put us in that position.’’

5. It may be his ninth training camp, but he still is loving it. He sprinkled in the word “fun” throughout his answers. “It’s still exciting every year, every team is different. We have a different group of guys — different 90 now, we’ll have a different group of 53 than we did last year. So that’s exciting,’’ Stafford said. “New players to see and watch develop as far as young guys and new free agents every year to come in and help us right away. It’s still fun for me, still have a blast doing it. As difficult sometimes of a grind as training camp is, it’s still a whole lot of fun too.’’

Ten Lions to watch during training camp

Young players could take on bigger roles

When Lions training camp gets into gear on Sunday, it’s the start of an interesting stretch.

Like every year, there are positions — starters and backups —  that will be determined in camp and through the four preseason games.

And, of course, several are vying to grab one of the 53 roster spots.

Who will excel? Who will suffer an injury? Whose game will drop off?

Here are 10 players (five defensive, five on offense) to watch who are not rookies:


— Safety Miles Killebrew took total advantage of his playing time as a rookie last season. He was clutch in third-down packages. Look for defensive coordinator Teryl Austin to find more ways to get him on the field. He was a standout in the spring.

— Kerry Hyder certainly was not expected to lead the defense with eight sacks last season. Hyder could earn a starting defensive end spot with a good showing in camp. He’s not resting on his laurels, he knows the eight sacks mean nothing at this point.

— Ziggy Ansah, unlike Hyder, was expected to follow up his 14.5-sack 2015 season with as many or more in 2016. He finished with just two. Ansah wasn’t fully healthy to start the season and never really caught up. There is no reason to think he can’t return to Pro Bowl form.

— Antoine Williams worked his way onto the field as a rookie last year too, starting three games. He has a good shot to earn the starting role at strongside linebacker. A good camp and preseason will cement that.

— Tahir Whitehead has lost the starting middle linebacker role to first-round pick Jarrad Davis. Whitehead has been trained at every linebacker spot. So he will be able to handle a move to the weak side.


— Ameer Abdullah looked solid in the spring OTAs after he missed the final 14 games in the 2016 season with an ankle injury that required surgery. Other than Matthew Stafford, Abdullah may have the most important role on the offense which struggled in the run game again in 2016.

— Theo Riddick should be fine but we will see. He missed the offseason workouts after surgery on both wrists. He was still wearing a brace on his right hand in June. He’s ready to go and, like Abdullah, the offense needs him.

— Jace Billingsley hasn’t taken a snap in a regular season game, but he was impressive in the preseason games as an undrafted rookie last year. He stayed around on the practice squad until he was promoted to the 53-man roster with two games remaining. He’ll likely be in a battle for one of the final two wide receiver spots.

— Joe Dahl can play any position along the offensive line. The Lions had so much faith in him that they gave him a look at left tackle after Taylor Decker injured his shoulder in June. Two veteran tackles were then signed giving Dahl a chance to go back to guard where he is more familiar. He could be in a battle for the starting left guard spot.

— Laken Tomlinson lost his starting spot to Graham Glasgow after five games in 2016. The 2015 first-round pick needs to step up. It seems unlikely that he would not make the 53-man roster but there is a chance that he could be traded. General manager Bob Quinn didn’t draft him so there would be no egg on his face if he let a first-round guy go.

Training camp open to fans on 7 days

Fans get a chance to get up close to players at camp

Seven of the Lions training camp sessions will be open to the public starting on Monday, the second day of camp.

One of those open days will be family day at Ford Field at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5. Gates will open at 9:30 a.m. with the Lions mock game scrimmage starting at 11 a.m.

The others will take place at the Lions headquarters and training facility. The dates for those are:

July 31 — Gates open at 2:30 p.m., practice at 3:30 p.m.

Aug. 1 — Gates open at 2:30 p.m., practice at 3:30 p.m.

Aug. 2 — Gates open at 2:30 p.m., practice at 3:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 — Gates open at 8 a.m., practice at 9 a.m.

Aug. 6 — Gates open at 2:30 p.m., practice at 3:30 p.m.

Aug. 7 — Gates open at 1 p.m., practice at 2 p.m.

The parking situation is different this year. Fans will take a shuttle from the Fairlane Town Center between Sears and Macy’s on the southeast side. Shuttles start two hours before practice. Enter Fairlane Town Center via Burlwood Drive from the Southfield Freeway service drives (M-39 south: Exit 7 Ford Road; M-39 north: Exit 6 Michigan Ave to Hubbard) and follow signs for the blue lot.

Family Day at Ford Field  is also free but requires tickets. Fans can register at DetroitLions.com/training camp or visit any Southeast Michigan Ford Dealer to claim a Lions wristband which is good for a special reserved seating area.