Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/13/13
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Stay out of trouble. Dont get arrested. The Detroit Lions broke their three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday, thus ending their off-season workout program. Many of the players quickly headed out of town for the summer. They wont be back together again until late July for the start of the real training camp. The concern between now and then is whether they can avoid the off-the-field problems that plagued the team a year ago when multiple player arrests created a distraction for the entire organization. That issue was part of coach Jim Schwartzs minicamp-ending message to the players. We talked about whats expected of them between now and the beginning of training camp, both from an off-the-field point of view and also what they need to do to get ready to come in in great shape to compete for jobs, Schwartz said. No news will be good news for the Lions this summer. Theyre coming off a 4-12 record with mounting speculation that Schwartz and general manager Martin Mayhew need to return this team to, or near, its 2011 form when the Lions finished 10-6 and made the playoffs. You cant worry about Week 10 now, you cant worry about Game 1 now, Schwartz said when asked about the pressure to win this year. We just put minicamp to bed. Well focus next on training camp, go day by day there, focus on our preseason games. If we do a good job of doing all those things, the season will take care of itself. Theres pressure to win every single week in the NFL. We certainly have high expectations. We have to work hard to fulfill them. The recent off-season workouts gave Schwartz his first sneak peak at how some key free-agent additions - running back Reggie Bush, safety Glover Quin and defensive end Jason Jones - will fit into the team. They all look like good additions, but no different than when we signed them, Schwartz said. We didnt just close our eyes and pull a name out of a hat. We had very specific roles in mind for all of those guys. I think theyve all proven that they can fill that role. But we have a long way to go before were happy with really anybody. A year ago, the Lions entered the summer with 21 of 22 starters returning. It will be considerably different this year with competitions for starting jobs at defensive end, linebacker, cornerback, offensive guard and offensive tackle. Rookies such as defensive end Ziggy Ansah (first round), cornerback Darius Slay (second round), offensive guard Larry Warford (third round) and punter Sam Martin (fifth round) are among those expected to be in the mix for starting positions. Theres going to be some open jobs, Schwartz said. I think we have more than one candidate to fill those. I think there will be some really good competition once we get to training camp for spots, both on the roster and for playing time. Per NFL off-season rules, the players practiced in shorts, no pads other than helmets. So there was no hitting. The real evaluations for those starting jobs will be made during training camp and the four preseason games. For now, the Lions are going into this six-week break believing that they accomplished what they wanted to during the off-season organized team activities, including 10 voluntary practices before mini-camp. Its been a good off-season for them, Schwartz said. First, the guys reported in great shape and they worked hard. Its a short offseason. Its only 10 weeks, but they took advantage of every opportunity. They practiced with the same kind of tempo from the very beginning. I think we accomplished installing just about all of our offensive and defensive schemes. Weve introduced a new special-teams scheme. Theres been a lot of positives off the off-season.
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