on Wednesday, and Detroit Lions They took a step back in their training camp regiment. After two lively and padded workouts, the Lions went a little over an hour on what was basically just a long run.
But on Thursday, they regained strength again with their longest camp workout yet. The pads came back on again, and practice took nearly 2.5 hours. In fact, they had to cut the final exercise short, because they were working for the maximum time allotted per training by the NFLPA (150 minutes).
Dan Campbell got the juices early, started training with other one-on-one tackle drills, then continued those competitive one-on-one drills with RB/TE vs. LB/S in pass protection and WR/CB coverage drills at the same time.
About halfway through, emotions overwhelmed when Austin Bryant and Dan Skipper were locked up during the cast of an entire cast. Bryant threw one punch late, and that resulted in an entire team fight. Notably, Logan Steenberg came in and the helmets were literally rolling. While you love seeing the intensity, it was a bit dangerous to see some guys fall to the ground. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the brawl was eliminated by the likes of Benny Sewell and others in less than a minute.
But during the next set of team rehearsals, Amani Urwari and Amon Ra Saint Brown got into the act with Oruwariye visibly frustrated by something and took Saint Brown to the ground. This brawl did not spread to the rest of the team.
In pure Saint Brown’s fashion, after a few plays, he brilliantly beat A.J. Parker for big wins, hitting the ball into the field in celebration.
Now, let’s get into the more in-depth notes from Thursday’s practice.
That was mostly good news on the injury front as Dandrey Swift and Taylor Decker were back in training after their servicing days on Wednesday. They both seemed to be fully engaged, so no issues there.
Quintez Cephus wasn’t a good fit, but he’s been there with the team and seems to be getting around really well with no bandages or noticeable support. Remember, Dan Campbell Cephus suggested avoiding serious injury After helping them off the field on Tuesday.
Defensive intervention Levi Onozuriki and midfielder Ryan McCollum remained on the sidelines, and the Lions did not provide an update for either (there was no pre-training press conference). McCollum has been out for the past two days, while Onuzurik has been out since Monday’s buildup, but Campbell indicated on Wednesday that his injury did not appear to be serious.
It’s also worth noting that rookie James Mitchell had his first appearance at 11v11 in the practice, but more on that later.
End game scenario
Throughout the camp, the Lions conducted situational drills at the end of the exercise to prepare the team for game-like situations. During almost all of these drills, the defense won. On Thursday, the crime responded.
Scenario: Down six points, 31 seconds left with at least two timeouts, starting at the opponent’s 41-yard line. This is what the first team did:
- Jared Goff scrambles for 13 yards in the middle (timeout).
- Aidan Hutchinson fires Goff (by defeating Halapoulivaati Vaitai) for a 7-yard loss (timeout)
- Goff delivers a 35-yard landing to DJ Chark for a dive
The team’s second attack wasn’t nearly as successful, although David Plouffe delivered a beautiful deep ball under pressure and off his back foot, but a potential touchdown pass slipped out of Trinity Benson’s hands. The trip ended after James Houston scored a penalty kick, followed by Eric Banks with a kick.
Today was a particularly intense day for Jared Goff, who is really looking forward to driving the crime. His throws were crisp, on time, and there were only a few zigzags in the pocket – which are usually kryptonite. He hit many deep balls, during individual and team workouts, and his day was punctuated by two big games in the red. The first was the region reading option which I kept and ran in the middle to get a file
10 yards Landing 5 yards (and after the subsequent target that almost fell to the ground). The other was the aforementioned deep shot to Shark.
For the spare job, this was David Blue’s day with the second team, and he made some great throws all day, including a 20-yard outside route in the arms of Calif Raymond, who only had one step over the rookie’s safety. Kirby Joseph. Raymond dove on the ball, but backed off when it hit the ground.
It wasn’t a good day for Tim Boyle, who sustained a brief injury at the end of training when he was knocked out by a man of his offensive line. Boyle got up and completed the exercise, but he seemed to be walking very carefully afterwards.
D’Andre Swift continues to appear in the scrolling game. During the red zone team practice, he beat Alex Anzalone cleanly for a good capture from 10 to 15 yards all the way to the goal line. He also ran right by Malcolm Rodriguez in a one-on-one cover workout. But what Swift liked the most on Thursday was his pass protection. He had a totally gritty cast against linebacker Sean Dion Hamilton, and earned some huge praise from Duce Staley in the process.
Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson may qualify for a spot on the list this year. And while Jefferson certainly bridges the gap there with some Noticeable improvements in the second year, beat him by Igwebuike in a special teams individual practice. Jefferson was trying to get Igwebuike to handle the payoff, but Igwebuike stopped him altogether. Jefferson is starting to look more comfortable on the specials, but there’s a reason Igwebuike was third on the specials teams picks last year.
As was hinted at, Mitchell saw his first action in full team practice on Thursday. He’ll have to work his way up from the third team attack, but he scored during a red-zone workout in a play where he sequentially slipped off the line and found himself wide open for the easy hit. If he can keep making plays like this on his slim chances, he’ll be there in the TE2 competition.
Shane Zilstra continues to stand out for me. During a singles match, he caused Tracy Walker to slip for an easy grab, and that translated into a full team workout when he scored a touchdown with Mike Hughes in coverage.
Devin Funchess had one of the most impressive things of the day, the Brady Breeze, the safety of “moss” during singles play. However, if he wanted to make the team, he would have to step up his own tag team match because his intensity was easily outclassed during those drills.
Calif Raymond probably had a better day than anyone else on the field. His dominance of individual training reminded me of last year when Bobby Price claimed Raymond was the toughest defensive receiver on the team. It’s clear that the Lions’ Receiving Corps has improved since then, but his spells are still notable, especially in solo drills.
Josh Reynolds, too, still has a solid camp, and he’s more physical than he might seem. Amani Urwari had good coverage during one game, but Reynolds’ accurate pass gave him plenty of room at the top of his path to grab with ease.
Several OL/DL workouts were done with the eye shot, but I was able to see about a dozen reps during one set. In those drills, Tommy Kramer and Darren Paulo won both fights.
line of defense
During the team’s training, the defensive line shone again, and that was all we saw in the camp. Charles Harris is still a monster, and today Hutchinson really shined — precisely when he slipped inside.
“He’s having a bit of a disorientation, and I love that,” Vaitai said of Hutchinson after training. “You make me think. You can’t just sit. He has a really good bulls rush, he has a really good performance – he has a lot of good things.”
Elsewhere, Bryant continues to make a really strong case for himself on this list. He works mostly with both, keeps up his pace at two bags per exercise, and has just added a pass to his stats sheet today.
Anthony Bateman gets plenty of looks on the edge – even with the first team in certain sub-packs. You can tell that the position is new for him, but it is coming.
Campbell said earlier this week, “It’s going to take a minute, but nonetheless he has the physical qualities that enable him to do it, he has some height, he has speed. He’s very explosive, so we really like the guy you’re looking for, that guy, let’s see. Whether he can play all the full-back’s points.”
The more I watch Malcolm Rodriguez play more and more, the more convinced I am that he will see some significant time in defense this year, despite being represented mostly with the third-team defense. He totally blasted back running rookie Justin Jackson in a one-on-one workout, then did two great back-to-back reps during team practice. First he shot his gut to stop running around the line of scrimmage, then he was perfectly covered to get rid of running in the next play. However, Swift has really blew past him in a one-on-one workout, so there’s plenty of room to grow for the rookie linebacker.
Derek Barnes got the most first-team reps on Thursday, and his ups and downs were. His most impressive play may have come on special teams, where he hobbled Chris Board – one of the team’s best specials players.
“This is one area where I’m also trying to raise my level of performance,” Barnes said after training. “It’s important to be able to do both.”
As the Lions’ wide receivers had such a dominant day, it was a rough day for Detroit who started to appear outside the corner – and most of them were Amani Oruwariye and Will Harris during the practice. Each of them still had some victories, but the attack had the overall advantage.
The nickel corner spot is still the most awesome fight on the site. A relatively interesting note from Thursday: During the opening rounds Mike Hughes and Chase Lucas were on the near side with the first team, and AJ Parker on the far field with the second team’s defense. Parker still gets a lot of practice with the first team, but they’ve started spraying Lucas there a bit as well, and for good reason. He hit at least two passes during Thursday’s one-on-one workout.
However, he also got valuable learning experience when the Lions worked on two versus two groups (WR groups). In the snap, Lucas lined up over Raymond with Harris lined up over Benson. He mainly chose Raymond Harris, but Lucas followed Raymond. This freed Benson for a wide open hunt. After that, Lucas and Harris had an enthusiastic conversation.
On the other hand, Hughes continues to get a great deal of time outside.
Strong day from DeShon Elliott who had a passing breakup on Zylstra and one of the best special teams representatives against tight end Garrett Griffin. He was the closest defender of the bomb to Shark.
The Brady Breeze may have a tough road to making it onto the list, but he definitely catches the eye with his body. Benson perfectly lit up a striker who could draw a flag from helmet to helmet, and the representatives of his special teams were among the most physically fit.
Ifeatu Melifonwu showed some gentle patience over an interception during a 7-on-7 drill, reading the quarterback and stepping in front of Benson for selection.
“Nothing came right away, and then I just read the midfielder’s eyes,” Melifono explained. “(I) I drifted backwards and then the drill came right behind me and I fell on him.”
Austin Seibert was a perfect 4 for 4 during practice, hitting from (about) 43, 45, 50 and 53. Riley Patterson went 3 for 4, missing his attempt from 50 yards.
The Lions acted on kick-offs for the day, giving the backup returnees a long look. Unfortunately, Kalil Pimpleton fumbled during one of his reps and Josh Johnson stopped the subsequent kick. In the end, the lions returned to what were clearly the better of the two options: the Eggoybeck and Benson.