Thursday, October 30, 2008

Detroit Lions "Encouraged" After Pass In Practice Gains 20 Yards

Allen Park, MI. (Oct. 30) - The winless Detroit Lions expressed guarded optimism after a pass in yesterday's practice from quarterback Dan Orlovsky to receiver Calvin Johnson gained a "good" 20 yards.

"It might have been more -- like maybe 22, 23 yards," said head coach Rod Marinelli. "But it was a good 20 yards, for sure."

After a succession of passes resulted in drops, interceptions, or just plain being thrown nowhere near a receiver, Orlovsky yelled, "Let's try one more!" before fading back in the pocket. He then let loose with a "pretty decent" spiral, according to Marinelli, which was slightly behind Johnson. But the second-year receiver, in an effort praised by those who saw it as "top notch", "brilliant", and "amazing", managed to catch it despite the pass's less-than-perfect location.

Though the pass came in "non-contact drills", meaning that no defenders were on the field at the time, the Lions released a statement in which the team said it was "encouraged" by the pass completion.

"This afternoon in practice, quarterback Dan Orlovsky completed a 20-to-25 yard pass to receiver Calvin Johnson. While we are encouraged by this achievement in the offense's development, there is still much work to do," the statement said.

After a series of chest bumps, high-fives and hugs, some of the offensive players dumped a bucket of Gatorade over Marinelli's head.

Practice, however, was extended moments later when the field goal unit failed to execute a snap. But Marinelli pointed out that punt returner Mike Furrey fair caught a punt "without incident", and that the team would keep "working hard."

When asked about his team's chances this Sunday at Chicago, Marinelli said, "Let's just see if we can do a damned handoff first, then come talk to me."

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