Last week receiver Nate Burleson was talking about how the competition in 7-on-7 drills has been more intense so far this training camp than he could remember.

“Man we’d go days without them getting a hand on a ball” Burleson said of the defensive backs. “That’s not happening this year.”

Coach Jim Schwartz has also noticed calling this group of defensive backs “the best group of corners we’ve had” when everybody is healthy.

Because of the talent upgrade there is more man coverage being played during team drills. In a perfect world the Lions would love to be able to play more man than zone. That would enable them to do more things defensively including calling more blitzes.

The byproduct of that at least through these early days of camp are some headaches for the offense particularly quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“They’re just playing more man coverage” he said Sunday. “When you play zone you’re going to complete a bunch of balls but maybe not as many big plays. They’re playing a lot of man and they are sticky. They’re playing well.

“Our guys are talented they’re young super-aggressive and that’s what we need.”

Stafford was asked if all the ball-hawking in drills was testing his patience.

“We’re on the same team” he said. “I am happy about it. I’d love to see them glove them up in games. That’d be sweet. It makes it tougher. There’s more big play opportunities; hit more shots down the field but you miss some because of the good coverage. That’s what you want.