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Detroit Lions’ Larry Warford not content to duplicate stellar rookie campaign

ALLEN PARK -- Larry Warford was both dominant and consistent as a rookie last season, but the Detroit Lions guard is hardly satisfied with his first-year showing.

A third-round draft pick out of Kentucky, Warford isn't content to simply repeat the performance which netted him Pro Football Focus' Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He's looking to improve every aspect of his game in 2014.

"You always want to outperform yourself," Warford said. "If I stay consistent, I'm not getting better. You always want to get better. There's always room for improvement."

After Detroit wraps up its three-day minicamp on Thursday, Warford will head home to Kentucky for a week before shipping out to Arizona to work out with former Pro Bowler LeCharles Bentley and several current NFL offensive linemen.

Warford first connected with Bentley last offseason with tremendous results and will be looking to get in peak physical condition prior to the start of training camp in late July.

"That's when you want to be your strongest, right before camp," Warford said. "You get to work out with so many guys out there, guys from around the league, sharing tips, sharing experiences and really competing against each other."

Beyond adding strength, Warford has focused on improving his technique this offseason, particularly in pass protection. Part of that process has been erasing some bad habits he picked up in the second half last year.

"It's always a battle, trying to get the perfect set down in your pass protection," Warford said. "That's one thing I've definitely been working on this offseason, just my initial steps.

"You get into something good halfway through the season, you start feeling good about it, then your body starts changing, getting a little achy, and you're trying to compensate," he continued. "Your steps get messed up a little bit, so you fall into a new habit, not by choice. I'm trying to get back to the way it was around Week 6 or Week 7, when I was feeling good."

Coach Jim Caldwell has been impressed with Warford's work ethic and expects to see the second-year starter make strides toward reaching his full potential over the next few seasons.

"I think you find out that guys that are young, it takes a while, in terms of the development of a player, particularly in the offensive line," Caldwell said. "He has certainly shown that he's made real good progress and had some real fine performances, but it takes you two, three, four years to really perfect your craft in there.

"He's a guy that's all business," Caldwell continued. "He's focused and I think you're just going to see him continue to improve."



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Neil S. Schwartz

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