Minicamp Reports - June 10

From Twentyman and O’Hara:

Two-minute offense: The team worked through some two-minute 7-on-7 situations at the end of practice Thursday. The offense got the ball at their own 25-yard line down 24-20 with 1:48 on the clock. Quarterback Jared Goff and the first-team offense worked themselves down the field and scored on a Goff to tight end T.J. Hockenson touchdown. Hockenson had four big catches on the drive, including the touchdown.

The second-team offense worked down into the red zone, but cornerback AJ Parker ended the drive with an interception on a pass from quarterback Tim Boyle along the right sideline. – Tim Twentyman

Health check: One positive outcome of the offseason program is that the Lions have gotten through minicamp without sustaining any serious injuries. That has not always been the case. Most notable of late: Offensive tackle Taylor Decker was injured in the 2018 offseason. He missed half of that regular season. – Mike O’Hara

Special teams space: Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp ran a drill Thursday where he had his kickoff return men trying to get past two gunners coming down the field. It was fun to see how electric some of these returners are in space. Wide receiver Victor Bolden got Fipp pretty hyped with two nasty juke moves to get by two defenders.

The star of the period had to be wide receiver Tom Kennedy. He juked both gunners in one rep and then beat two others out wide on another rep. It earned him a high five from Fipp as he ran by. – Tim Twentyman

Blocking out: A special teams drill looked strange, with the blockers on the return team throwing both hands in the air while shielding a member of the coverage team from getting to the returner. It’s a technique to keep the blocker from getting a penalty for a block in the back or holding. – Mike O’Hara

Nickel emergence: Veteran cornerback Mike Ford played the majority of the first-team reps at nickel corner during minicamp. He and Corn Elder are expected to compete throughout training camp for the job. – Tim Twentyman

Hockenson: Hockenson is worth watching, even in the offseason. He made two more stellar catches – one a lunging catch down the right sideline to reach the end zone, and a similar one down the left side. Start the season. – Mike O’Hara

Practice report: Cornerback Jeff Okudah, safety Tracy Walker, defensive end Austin Bryant and cornerback Jerry Jacobs did not take part in Thursday’s final minicamp practice. Okudah bumped heads with wide receiver Damion Ratley in Wednesday’s walkthrough and had a bandage above his right eye Thursday. – Tim Twentyman


From Jeremy Reisman:

The Detroit Lions closed out minicamp on Thursday with a shortened session. However, head coach Dan Campbell gave us a couple new drills that we hadn’t seen up until then, including some two-minute drills to finish practice.

For much of the team, Thursday was their final practice before a month-long break. Campbell said he’s expecting around 50 players for the final sessions of organized team activities next week, but the main focus of that group with be first, second and third-year players.

So let’s recap Thursday’s event, likely the final practice available to the media until training camp in late July.


The only two players who did not practice at all on Thursday were Austin Bryant and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Both were on the sidelines in street clothes, however, and Campbell said earlier in the week neither player’s injury was considered serious.

Prior to practice, Campbell noted that Jeff Okudah and Damion Ratley “bumped noggins” during walkthroughs on Wednesday, and, indeed, both had heavy bandaging on their foreheads on Thursday. Okudah practiced without a helmet during positional drills, but spent the rest of the practice jogging on the sidelines. Ratley was essentially a full participant.

Partial participants in Thursday’s practice included rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes—who has been sitting out seven-on-sevens all week—and Tracy Walker—who, like Okudah, took part in positional drills without a helmet, but didn’t do much else during practice.

With the beaten-up secondary, here were the starters for the first-team defense:

CB: Amani Oruwariye
CB: Quinton Dunbar
NCB: Mike Ford
S: Will Harris
S: Dean Marlowe

Positional drills

Amon-Ra St. Brown

I focused on the wide receivers during the early part of practice, as they worked with quarterbacks in the red zone. Amon-Ra St. Brown stood out twice during these drills, once for his route running, another for his hands. Obviously going without a defender here, it’s hard to know how effective his route would have been, but he’s so sudden out of his breaks that it’s easy to see how he creates separation at the top of his routes. He also had a nice snag on a fade route that shows his underrated ability to high-point a ball.

Running back dropsies

Not necessarily a big deal, but certainly noteworthy: during a receiving drill, three straight running backs dropped the ball: Mike Warren, D’Andre Swift then Dedrick Mills.

Special teams

The Lions ran a special team drill I had never seen before. Basically, they had two players barreling downfield simulating gunners, and it would be up to the returner to out-juke them in a one-on-two drill. The Lions shuffled through several returners including: Kalif Raymond, Victor Bolden, Tom Kennedy, Jermar Jefferson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Dedrick Mills, D’Angelo Amos, Sage Surratt and D’Andre Swift.

Three particular reps stood out and drew a reaction from the rest of the team watching:

  • Tom Kennedy juked inside before displaying his speed and beating both defenders to the outside and taking it the “distance”
  • St. Brown was caught by—of all people—39-year-old Don Muhlbach, which caught the delight of many onlooking players.
  • Victor Bolden had a shifty inside move that split the defenders and found daylight.

Also—and I hate to sound like a broken record here—but this was another instance in which Jared Goff and T.J. Hockenson continued to build their chemistry. During nearly the entire special teams session, Goff and Hockenson were side-by-side chatting before passing the ball back and forth.

Two-minute drill (seven-on-seven)

The Lions ran a two-minute drill for the first time this offseason (at least in front of media). Here was the scenario: own 25-yard line, 1:48 left, 2 timeouts, down 24-20.

The first-team offense scored with relative ease. Here’s the breakdown of the plays:

  • First-and-10: Quick out to Hockenson, broken up by Dean Marlowe.
  • Second-and-10: Amani Oruwariye deflects a pass, but Tyrell Williams catches it anyways for 15 yards (inbounds).
  • First-and-10: Hockenson picks up and easy 20 yards.
  • First-and-10: Goff finds D’Andre Swift, who beats Jahlani Tavai by a step or two on a crosser. He picks up about 10 yards, but is “tackled” inbounds. Timeout.
  • First-and-10: Goff finds Hockenson for a toe-tapping out route for 12 yards.
  • First-and-goal: Fade to Breshad Perriman. Incomplete (not close).
  • Second-and-goal: Pass thrown away after one receiver falls down, and Jahlani Tavai is all over Swift’s angle route.
  • Third-and-goal: Hockenson beats Alex Anzalone for a fairly easy touchdown.

The second team wasn’t quite as successful. Kalif Raymond made up for an early drop (with Corn Elder in close coverage), by creating yards of space with a dig route on the next play. After chunk plays from tight ends Brock Wright and Jake Hausmann, Tim Boyle was nearing striking distance. However, rookie cornerback AJ Parker stepped in front of Damion Ratley for a well-read interception that ended practice.

(Note: the third-team offense (David Blough) did not get an opportunity to run the two-minute drill.)

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true romance smile GIF


Womp, womp.

Next week from 14-17 June will be the last practice session for the Lions until TC. But Jeremy Reisman is saying the beat-writers won’t be allowed to watch, so no reports and observations until TC.

The DetFreeP, DetNews, and TheAthletic have paywalls and I don’t do paywalls so there may be more reports and observations if you’re interested.

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