Camp Notes: Former Lions great has man crush on Suh
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One of the stars of the Detroit Lions' famed "Silver Rush" defensive line of the late 1970s and early 1980s thinks the current group could end up being better.
Al "Bubba" Baker, 56, stood on the sideline Tuesday, watching the fifth day of training camp and relishing what he saw.
"It wasn’t that long ago that I was that guy and some fat, old man who used to play for the Lions was there, and I'm thinking, 'What does he know? I'm young. I'm a stud,' Baker said. "I'm 56 years old, and here, now, this is a treat for me."
Especially seeing Ndamukong Suh, who Baker really, really likes.
"I have to admit, I have a man crush on Ndamukong Suh," Baker said. "I've already told my wife. If I had a body like that, I'd still be playing.
"There's no one single human being that can block Suh. He doesn't exist. King Kong is retired."
When he was playing, sacks weren't even an official statistic kept by the league. But the Lions' web site says Baker had 23 sacks as a rookie, which helped him earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Baker thinks second-year player Nick Fairley is just as special.
"He reminds me of myself," Baker said. "He's jovial. He doesn't look like too much is going to faze him.
"When you have a guy like that, you just need to communicate to him how important he is. I can look right into his eyes and just see he's got all that ability."
Toss in veterans such as Israel Idonije, Jason Jones and first-round pick Ziggy Ansah, and Baker thinks the sky's the limit for the defensive line.
"They can be the best," Baker said. "It's going to take a whole lot of work, but I think it's the first time the Lions have had an opportunity to be a dominant front because the ability's there.
"I think these guys have the ability to break any record we ever had as the Silver Rush. By far."
Michigan State coaches visit
Coaches from Michigan State visited practice Tuesday, including receivers coach Terrence Samuel.
Samuel said he enjoyed watching Lions rookie receiver Cody Wilson put a move on cornerback Bill Bentley and reach the end zone in one drill.
Samuel coached Wilson at Central Michigan in 2010, helping Wilson achieve the third-best individual receiving season in school history, with 1,137 yards.
"He's a great kid," Samuel said. "His upside is huge."
Samuel also remembers seeing Lions cornerback Chris Houston as a college player.
"I coached against Chris when he was at Arkansas," Samuel said. "He was one of the most physical, man-to-man corners I've ever seen."
The Lions secondary remains a little depleted for the time being, but the situation isn't expected to last.
Cornerbacks Ron Bartell (shoulder), Chris Greenwood (hamstring) and Jonte Green (hamstring), along with receiver Devin Thomas, linebacker Carmen Messina and defensive end Ronnell Lewis (non-football injury list) were the players not practicing Tuesday.
"Everything that we have injury-wise is nothing more than day-to-day," Schwartz said. "Some of the hamstrings might take a little bit longer, but we're just taking them day by day.
"We don't have any long-term or surgical things coming out of our MRIs."
Having said that, Lewis, a fourth-round pick in 2012, is missing valuable time.
"We only have eight full-padded practices in training camp, and this was the second one," Schwartz said. "We always talk about our defensive linemen, judging them on pads. It was a good, hard, physical day, and all those defensive linemen need it.
"Anything you miss is stuff that you can't get back. He's working hard to get back, but the fact is, we can't circle back in time in training camp for guys that have missed. There's urgency to get back for everybody."
Safety Louis Delmas is practicing every other day to keep his knees in good shape and was able to go in team drills.
Jason Jones, who missed Monday's practice with a sore knee, was able to practice some Tuesday.
The Lions wore black pants for practice Tuesday, fueling rumors that a third uniform for the team will be black.