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LIONS TRAINING CAMP: Williams and Rogers drop to 3rd string


When Charles Rogers was held out of a recent morning of drills and Mike Williams spent another session doing repetition after repetition after repetition, Lions coach Rod Marinelli said not to read too much into his strategy.

So what to make of the first depth chart of training camp? Rogers and Williams are both listed as third-string receivers heading into Friday's exhibition opener against the Denver Broncos. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Ford Field.

Williams is slotted behind Roy Williams and Glenn Martinez. Rogers is behind Corey Bradford and Mike Furrey.

"That's how we're going to start the game," Marinelli said. "We're just making guys earn it and earn it. Guys are moving up, moving down. Good practice, a guy moves up."

But how does it look when two first-round picks are buried behind players who weren't even drafted?

"That's how we're lining 'em up," Marinelli said.

Although Marinelli says players can climb the depth chart, the question remains: Will Rogers and Williams ever reach their potential?

The Lions chose Rogers with the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, but he played little of his first two seasons after suffering a broken collarbone. Then he was suspended for four games last season for substance abuse, which led the Lions to try and recoup $10.184 million of his $14-million signing bonus.

Williams, the 10th overall pick in 2005, arrived at last year's training camp overweight. He played in 14 regular-season games, but caught only one touchdown. He also was fined at various times by the team for being late to meetings and injury treatments.

Williams has shown flashes during camp, but apparently not enough to warrant a higher spot on the depth chart.

His former coach, Steve Mariucci, said Sunday that Williams has "got to get with it" on the NFL Network during its Hall of Fame pregame show. Mariucci, who was fired from the Lions late last season, is an analyst for the network.

"Some rookies become professionals a little sooner than others," Mariucci said Sunday. "Just because you sign a contract, it doesn't make you a pro ... you've got to learn how to do it. And Mike has to learn that, he has to learn how to practice, how to be available ... and do what's asked of him. And they're going to give it a good shot. But they're counting on him because he was such a high draft choice."

MORE DEPTH: None of the Lions' recent draft picks are slated to start against the Broncos. First-round pick Ernie Sims is behind Alex Lewis at weakside linebacker and second-round pick Daniel Bullocks is behind Kenoy Kennedy at strong safety, instead of at free safety. Marinelli said putting Bullocks at strong safety gives him "position flexibility."

With Teddy Lehman out, Paris Lenon will start at strongside linebacker, ahead of James Davis and seventh-round pick Anthony Cannon.

Casey FitzSimmons will start at tight end, ahead of Marcus Pollard, who started all 16 games last season.

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