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Lions hope to see progress in dropped passes with glasses

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Eric Ebron and the Lions were among the biggest offenders in dropped passes in 2016.

Allen Park – The Detroit Lions had a problem with drops in 2016. The team finished near the bottom of the league in putting catchable passes on the ground, in terms of both volume and percentage.

It was an epidemic that plagued multiple players, with two Lions finishing in the bottom 10 in the league and four in the bottom 50. And, at least for the early portion of training camp, the team is still having some issues.

On Sunday, when Caldwell listed his gripes about the imperfect nature of the opening practice, dropped passes was the first gripe he listed.

Caldwell has always been proactive when it comes to improving his players’ hands. From the time he arrived in Detroit, he instituted a practice habit that called for offensive players to catch 100 balls per day, whether in individual drills, team work or on from the Juggs machine after the session.

The idea is that repetition would result in perfection.

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Obviously that hasn’t quite cut it, so Caldwell and his staff have looked for additional ways to solve the issue. First and foremost, they’ve increased the number of passes receivers are expected to catch on a daily basis.

Caldwell has also turned to technology.

“One of things you can’t do is say, ‘Hey, you need to get better.’ We have to put mechanisms and a plan to get better, so we’ve done that,” Caldwell said.  “We’ve also used some things, the flashing glasses and all that kind of stuff. Some of our guys are using those.”

Flashing glasses?

“They cut off your vision for a moment and reignite it where you can see,” Caldwell said. “They make you concentrate a little bit harder.”

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Caldwell didn’t get into specifics about brand or model, but Nike unveiled glasses in 2012 that matched the description. Here’s a brief description from a Wired story that year:

“The company’s funky new Sparq Vapor Strobe eyewear works with the equally geeky Sparq Sensory Station to analyze and improve 10 vital visual and sensory skills. The eyewear’s lens work a bit like a strobe light — hence the name — by alternating between clear and obstructed fields of vision to improve your ability to target an oncoming object.”

Will the glasses make a difference? As Caldwell likes to say, “We’ll see,” but you have to appreciate looking for new ways to solve an issue.

“We’re going to make certain we don’t let some of those opportunities slip by, like they did last year,” Caldwell said.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @justin_rogers