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Lions WR coach throws bricks to WR's
Fred Graves could have taken the conventional approach. He could have tossed footballs at the Lions' receivers. Or Ping-Pong balls. Or crumpled pieces of paper.
Anything to help the young receivers improve their pass-catching skills.
"It's all about focus," said Graves, the team's new receivers coach. "If I balled up a piece of paper or if I take a tennis ball or even a football, and I toss it to you, in your mind you say, 'Oh, I dropped it.' Then you've got to correct that.
"But if I toss you a brick, I don't have to say anything because in your mind this thing is going to hurt. So you always get hands and eyes coordinated together and, basically, that's the drill."
And that's what Graves throws -- usually once a week -- to Charles Rogers, Roy Williams, Mike Williams, Kevin Johnson and the rest of the Lions' receivers. He throws bricks.
If they had any question about what kind of guy they were getting as their position coach, it was answered the first time Graves started lobbing bricks at them.
"We call him Coach Carter," said Roy Williams, referring to the movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. "He really works us out pretty hard. He brought a new attitude to this football team, especially the wide receivers. And we want to work for him.
"He puts his foot down, and he's setting a tempo. We didn't have that last year. We had a good coach in Kevin Higgins but Coach Carter, here is a pretty tough guy. He brings a lot of drills to the game."
Most notable is the brick drill. Graves tosses bricks from about six yards away. He's still putting a little arc on his tosses, but he said he would make flatter, harder throws as the players got the hang of it.
The players have no choice but to grab the brick ... or else, Roy Williams said.
"You're going to catch the brick," he said Tuesday, the first day of a two-week minicamp. "You're not going to let the brick hit you in the stomach or drop it on your toe, you're going to catch it."
Neither Roy Williams nor Rogers had any experience catching bricks as part of football training, but both said Graves' system is effective.
"It helps your concentration and focus," Williams said. "You're not going to let the brick hit you in the stomach so you're going to catch it away from your body. It translates to the football."
Rogers said the Lions are still getting to know Graves, but there is no doubt he has succeeded in getting their attention. He doesn't hesitate to bark orders -- or corrections -- if they make a mistake on the field.
"He's bringing a whole different formula than we had in the past," Rogers said. "A lot of people would shake their heads but -- one thing about it -- I think our wide receivers are buying into the system and giving him a chance to see what he can do."
Graves, 55, said he started the brick-throwing drill during his 19-year coaching stay at his alma mater, Utah. He also used it in his previous NFL stops, at Buffalo (2001-03) and Cleveland (2004).
Graves is impressed with the Lions' receivers, saying they are potentially in the class with Peerless Price, Eric Moulds and Josh Reed, the threesome he coached at Buffalo. And he has no reluctance to push them.
"You just gotta keep coaching them," Graves said. "Some things you're going to have to repeat more than you do with a vet, but that's part of the deal, part of coaching, part of getting them ready.
"At this point in time you've got to be a little patient with them, and they've got to take it upon themselves to really want to learn. The way they go is the way our offense is going to grow."
Alright,who let him watch "Dodgeball".This is stupid.Just wait until he breaks the fingers,hands,feet,or toes of one of thier THREE franchise recievers.
Charles Rogers hasn't played a season (has he even played in a regular season game?) since he was drafted.Another injury would be devistating.
Mike Williams,whom the just drafted this year,hasn't played a game in a year.Don't need him injured.
Roy Williams has the potential to become one of the best recievers in the game.The guy is electrifying,he makes some of the most off-the-wall catches I have ever seen.He puts butts in seats and faces to television sets in Detroit.An injury to him would be catastrophic to the team.
STOP THROWING BRICKS TO THEM YOU JACKASS!
Congrats to the 2009 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins