|Calvin Johnson, Lions wrap up 3-day minicamp|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 06 May 2007 09:51|
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) -Calvin Johnson's first taste of the NFL taught him a valuable lesson.|
``I've got to get in better shape for mini-camp,'' the Detroit Lions wide receiver said. ``I didn't realize what the tempo of this was going to be like.''
Johnson, the second pick in last weekend's draft, was in town for Detroit's three-day rookie camp, which ended Sunday. He was joined by his fellow draft picks and a few dozen undrafted players hoping to catch someone's eye.
``We brought in a lot of players, because we wanted this to feel like a training camp,'' said Detroit coach Rod Marinelli. ``We didn't want a dozen guys wandering around on their own, we wanted this to be close to the real thing.''
Given what Johnson had to absorb in a little over 48 hours, he knows that the May 15-17 camp for the whole team will be even tougher.
``We got our heads crammed full this weekend,'' the former Georgia Tech All-American said. ``Coach (Mike) Martz told us that we had to pick up enough of the offense so that we would know what we were doing when the veterans get here in 10 days.''
Johnson was widely considered the best prospect in the draft, and the Lions surprised many observers by selecting him No. 2 instead of trying to get a package of picks and players from one of the many teams coveting him.
``His talent level and skills are exceptional,'' Marinelli said. ``We just have to go now and start refining him.''
That refinement process is why Marinelli wasn't surprised that Johnson's head was overflowing.
``There is so much new volume coming at those guys,'' he said. ``That's why we have these camps - to give them information and see how quickly they can take it in and apply it on the field.''
Johnson had things easier than his fellow high-profile offensive draftee. Drew Stanton, who won state titles at nearby Farmington Harrison High before a record-setting career at Michigan State, found Martz completely reworking his passing mechanics.
``He's changing everything,'' the second-round pick said after his first day. ``I could write a book about what he's doing. There are a lot of things from my feet to my eyes to the way I hold the ball. It surprised me a little bit, but when he explains everything and breaks it down, it really makes sense.''
The new style, which Stanton struggled with at first, didn't stop him from enjoying his work with Johnson.
``Obviously, he's everything that he's been advertised to be,'' Stanton said. ``He's a playmaker. It's just going to be a matter of us getting on the same page and getting comfortable with the offense before we start doing great things.''
Of course, the next time the duo pairs up, it will be against Detroit's veteran players.
``I've got to get to work,'' Stanton said. ``It's time for me to wake up and realize that I've got a lot of learning to do.''
Johnson is also preparing for 10 days of intense study, because he realized one important lesson about Detroit's mercurial offensive coordinator.
``I'm pretty sure Coach Martz took it pretty easy on us this weekend,'' he said. ``He yelled, but you could tell that he's going to yell a lot more next time.''
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