As I nurse the last of my very tiny bottle of Patron, closing out the World's Smallest Cinco de Mayo party, I'm thinking about what is currently tomorrow--but in fifteen minutes will be today [sorry, it’s today now—Ty].
What I'm getting to, here, is Thursday: the first media-viewable Organized Team Activity. We should be seeing a flurry of articles, photos, and reports of the new Lions veterans: Vanden Bosch, Burleson, Williams, Houston, Scheffler, and the rest. As excited as we all are about the rookies--and excited, we should be--it's these veterans that are going to be the difference between 2-14 and, maybe, respectability in 2010.
This will be the first chance we get to see these Lions, though not with our own eyes. Without the newness and uncertainty of last season’s OTAs, without the shame of 0-16, these practices should be all-positive affairs. There’s no searching for a direction or wondering who’ll fit in. There already IS a direction; the only concern is moving forward, getting better.
I’m curious to see if the new blood will revitalize the practices, with high-energy guys like Vanden Bosch and Scheffler ,who are legitimately excited to be here, setting a higher tempo, pushing everyone around them to get better. I’m also curious to see the dynamics of leadership on defense . . . whose unit, now, is this? Shaun Rogers, Ernie Sims, Larry Foote, they’re all gone. Does Vanden Bosch command that kind of respect from Day One? What about Levy, Avril, or Delmas?
On another note, Gosder Cherilus is rehabbing from a knee surgery we didn’t know he had, to repair a knee injury we didn’t know he had. It’s tempting to retroactively blame some of his subpar performances on it, but knees don’t get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
On another, other note, the Red Wings face elimination at home tonight. I am very sad about this. I’ve come to expect playoff hockey to fill the gap between the draft and Training Camp; now hockey might be over before veterans and rookies even take the field together. It’s just not right. Actually, what’s not right is professional hockey being played into July . . .
On another, other, other note, Ernie Harwell passed away. You won’t see any maudlin memorials in this space; I got all of my sadness out of the way back when his cancer was made public. No, I’m only feeling a gentle happiness at my memories of his voice, and Tiger baseball.