Workouts led by Stafford, Johnson helped Lions mentally, physically
Allen Park — During his nine seasons with the Saints, Lance Moore said Drew Brees never gathered his teammates in a different city for an offseason workout like the one Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson hosted last month for the Lions.
So, there's no telling whether the workout was necessary or will help the Lions' passing game improve in 2015. But, as Moore said, it couldn't hurt.
"It's always good when you're away for a while to get the group back together and just go through some things," Moore said Sunday when Lions veterans reported for training camp. "Whether the physical or the mental part of it, I'm not really sure which one was more important. I think just hearing the plays and being around the quarterback and getting that communication back is just as important as what we were doing physically on the field."
Stafford and Johnson organized the three-day workout at Georgia Tech, where Johnson played before the Lions drafted him in 2007. In addition to Moore and the organizers, receivers Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross, TJ Jones and Greg Salas participated. Tight ends Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria made the trip to Atlanta, too.
Each player had to pay his way to Atlanta, but Stafford put them up in a hotel. Moore said the group worked hard and tried to knock off some of the rust that could've accumulated during the six weeks between minicamp and training camp.
"Hopefully we knocked a lot of that off two weeks ago," Moore said.
The sessions started with time in the weight room each morning followed by some route running. The players had free time in the afternoon.
"I think it's what it takes in this league for guys to grow closer together within a system, that they take initiative upon themselves to work and work together, and I think you see that amongst good teams," coach Jim Caldwell said of the players' workout. "You don't often hear about it, but believe me, behind the scenes they're doing it. And they're getting together and they're working and perfecting their craft."
One of the players the Lions hope has honed his craft is Ebron, who should be a bigger part of the offense after a lackluster rookie season. While in Atlanta, Moore said he talked to Ebron about what to do when the ball is in the air, and he came away impressed by the second-year tight end.
"He looked really good," Moore said. "He looked fast, looked strong, looked like he was good in and out of his transitions. He caught the ball fairly well, which everybody's been talking about."