Lions work on ramping up tempo in camp

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions are tinkering with picking up the tempo during this training camp.  There’s been a noticeable uptick with the offensive pace, both on the practice field and during the first exhibition game. 

“It’s not quite where we want it yet,” coach Jim Caldwell said after the team’s exhibition opener. “That was not as fast as we’d like it.”

Last season, the Lions ranked 24th in the league, averaging 28.7 seconds per snap. Additionally, the team used a no-huddle formation just 3.39 percent of the time, according to the NFL’s play-by-play data. 

“It’s different, but we have been practicing it all training camp,” quarterback Matthew Stafford explained after the team’s 30-17 exhibition over the Pittsburgh Steelers. “We are able to change pace however we want to. Tonight, we wanted to get some of the work in on the road. We were trying not to huddle as much as we could.”

Caldwell said the benefits of playing no-huddle, even if you don’t snap the ball quickly every time, is establishing control.

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“It does give you an opportunity to, number one, control the pace of the game,” he said. “From a defensive standpoint, you just force them not to substitute as much.”
There’s also a belief increasing the pace plays to the team’s young offensive line. Riley Reiff, the 27-year-old elder statesman of the group has enjoyed the change. 
"I like a fast-paced offense, and I think it benefits our group, just being able to wear people down,” he said. “And as a group, I think we have the people who can do it."

Twitter: @justin_rogers