TC Notes ad Observations, 30 July

From Reisman, PoD:

After a day off from practice, the Detroit Lions were back at it on Tuesday morning. If you thought they may jump back into an unpadded practice after sporting the shoulder pads on Saturday and Sunday, you’d be wrong. They were back out there and hitting each other during another long practice.

Here are my observations from Day 5 of Detroit Lions training camp.


Here’s a list of the all the players not participating on Tuesday:

Devon Kennard
Christian Jones
Malik Carney
Jonathan Wynn
Da’Shawn Hand
Austin Bryant
Tommylee Lewis (PUP)
Steve Longa (PUP)
Trey Flowers (PUP)
Darius Slay (NFI)
Darius Kilgo (NFI)
Trey Flowers (NFI)

Of the injured guys, Devon Kennard looks close to returning, and Austin Bryant looked to be a little more active than most of the guys on the sideline. Da’Shawn Hand didn’t do much at all and was sporting a heavy-duty brace on his left arm after suffering an injury during Sunday’s practice.

Returning to practice from injury was Mitchell Loewen and Marcus Cooper, who both appeared to be full participants on Tuesday. A’Shawn Robinson also returned and immediately got reps with the first-team defense. Romeo Okwara was dressed, but did not participate in full team drills. Newly-signed defensive tackle Mike Daniels also did not appear to practice much, despite being dressed.

Graham Glasgow continues to impress

Through five days of practice, I don’t think any offensive lineman has impressed more than Graham Glasgow. The Lions were back to their 1A offensive line lineup (Decker, Wiggins, Ragnow, Glasgow, Wagner), and Glasgow continued to show that his move to right guard should be seamless this year.

His best play on Tuesday came on positional drill in which he and Rick Wagner had to deal with a pair of stunting pass rushers. The handoff between the two was so smooth and effortless, in stark contrast to the second and third team, who both struggled in the same drill. Particularly, UDFAs Ryan Pope and Beau Benzschawel really struggled in the drill, as they have all camp.

Taylor Decker and Kenny Wiggins had a good rep, as well, but Decker also had a false start that had him running a lap.

Jahlani Tavai’s INT = Play of the Day

For the second time this offseason, Tavai made the play of practice. This time, he stepped in front of a Matthew Stafford red-zone pass, tipped it to himself and took it the other way. What isn’t shown in the video is Stafford attempting to tackle Tavai, only for the rookie linebacker to shake him off and send Stafford to the ground. [Matthew! What’re you doing, buddy?]

At camp thus far, Tavai has shown just about everything: The ability to pass rush off the edge, smooth coverage, and football smarts. For now, it seems Tavai is headed for a major role on this defense and he looks up to the challenge thus far in camp.

Keep an eye on Garret Dooley

The Lions are extremely beat up at the JACK linebacker spot. Devon Kennard, Austin Bryant, and Malik Carney all sat out team drills, which left the second-year linebacker out of Wisconsin out to get the majority of first-team reps. Dooley was added to the practice squad in the middle of the 2018 season, and the Lions liked him enough to keep him around again.

During Tuesday’s practice, Dooley showed good discipline by holding the edge on a third-and-1 drill, which allowed safety Tracy Walker to make the stop short of the sticks.

On the other side, Eric Lee continues to get first-team reps with Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara sidelined. He picked up what would’ve been a sack during 11-on-11s.

A brief note on the backup QB race

For the first time I’ve seen in all camp, David Fales got some brief time in with the second-team offense. I wouldn’t read anything into it, as Fales looks like a distant third quarterback on this roster. He consistently holds onto the ball too long, and he had a brutal interception thrown straight at Tracy Walker during a red zone play. At this point, it would be a shock if Tom Savage isn’t the backup quarterback in 2019.

Mandatory Teez Tabor update

It’s been a pretty quiet couple of days for Tabor, which tends to be a good thing for a cornerback, but Tuesday was a definite step down. For most of the day, Marvin Jones Jr. got the better of him, including an easy red-zone touchdown grab. This is still very clearly his best training camp to date, but this practice was a small, but noticeable, step down from his Week 1 performances.

Odds and Ends

  • Another day, another forced fumble/incompletion from Miles Killebrew. This time, fullback Nick Bawden was the victim.
  • Andrew Adams, who continues to get looks with the first team, struggled today in one-on-one coverage drills against tight ends. Jesse James, T.J. Hockenson and Jerome Cunningham all won reps against Adams. He did have solid coverage vs. Cunningham, but the tight end still made an impressive catch.
  • Today may have been Kenny Golladay’s best day of camp thus far. He cleanly beat Rashaan Melvin twice in one-on-one drills.
  • The Lions’ nickel corners, however, impressed on Tuesday. Justin Coleman looks like the only player on the team that can hang with Danny Amendola. Meanwhile, Jamal Agnew is proving to me that I likely underestimated his value as a defender.
  • The Lions’ third-team defense had a rough go in some third-down drills. They started out with too many men, which sent the entire offense to do laps. After a stern discussion with the coaches, on the very next rep, the defense committed another penalty. Mitchell Loewen jumped offsides. Those third-down penalties will kill you and and drive your coach insane.
  • Here were your kick returners from Tuesday: Jamal Agnew, Ty Johnson, Brandon Powell, Danny Amendola.

From Birkett, DetFreeP:

Maybe Bob Quinn knows a little more than the rest of us about the NFL draft.

Quinn sent Detroit Lions nation into a bit of a tizzy when he spent a second-round pick on Jahlani Tavai this spring, but five practices into training camp I’d call Tavai one of the more pleasant surprises of summer.

Tavai is definitely still a work in progress, but he’s taken first-team reps at linebacker every day of camp so far and on Tuesday he made the play of the day, a leaping interception of Matthew Stafford.

Tavai’s pick came during a red-zone drill when he dropped into shallow zone coverage near the goal line and deflected the ball to himself.

He returned it down the far sideline, where a frustrated Stafford chased him down and tried unsuccessfully to collar him for a tackle.

I’m not sure if Stafford didn’t see the rookie or tried to throw over him – a receiver, I think Marvin Jones, appeared to be slipping loose of his defender on the play – but whatever the case, Tavai showed some impressive athleticism to make the tip and pick.

The Lions intend to use Tavai in a variety of roles in their linebacking corps, and as such have moved him all over the field this summer.

He played as a stack linebacker in the first practice of camp, when Christian Jones ran with the second-team. He took some snaps at Devon Kennard’s outside linebacker spot on Day 2 of camp, when Kennard was out with an injury. And he’s some played middle linebacker, too, when the Lions move Jarrad Davis to the edge.

Both Jones and Kennard remain out with injuries, so Tavai, Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin got the bulk of the first-team work Tuesday.

I’d still consider Tavai the fourth linebacker for now – Kennard and Jones were every-game starters when healthy last year – but it’s clear he’s going to play a lot for the Lions this fall and contribute to their failure or success.

• Da’Shawn Hand wore a whopper of a brace on his left arm Tuesday after leaving Sunday’s workout with an apparent elbow injury. I don’t remember exactly who, but one media member compared Hand’s brace to the one J.J. Watt wears regularly with the Houston Texans, and that image certain fits.

Hand declined an interview request as he walked off the field, but there was noticeable swelling behind his left elbow. I wouldn’t expect him back on the field too soon, but he still has more than a month to get ready for the first game.

Watt, by the way, started wearing the brace after he dislocated his elbow in the 2012 season, when he played all 16 games. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis also wore a similar brace when he returned from a torn triceps muscle that year.

• A’Shawn Robinson practiced for the first time Tuesday after missing last week for personal reasons. He, too, declined an interview request as he came off the field. Robinson took a handful of first-team reps in most periods before giving way to Kevin Strong, but he has a ways to go to get in shape. As players ran the perimeter of the field for conditioning work after practice Tuesday, Robinson lagged noticeably behind the group and I wouldn’t even qualify what he was doing as jogging by the time he finished.

• The Lions did some one-on-one pass protection drills Tuesday with running backs squaring off against linebackers and safeties. The drill is definitely slanted towards defensive players, but it’s still worth mentioning a few guys who stood out.

I thought Zach Zenner was the best pass protector of the running backs. He stymied Reeves-Maybin on one rush, Tavon Wilson on another and Will Harris on a third, and was able to gather himself after an initial jolt from Davis on still another. Kerryon Johnson, by contrast, was a little rusty in his protection. Quandre Diggs was too quick for Johnson on one snap, and Tavai knocked him back with his powerful hands on another.

• One period after the pass-protection drill, the running backs and linebackers went one-on-one on pass routes, and that, too, went about as you’d expect in a drill slanted towards the offense. Johnson showed his versatility by beating Davis for a couple catches and fullback Nick Bawden got the better of Tavai on one route when the rookie appeared to be too flat-footed.

• If not for the Tavai pick, the play of the day might have gone to Jamal Agnew, who made a diving pass breakup of a Tom Savage throw to a slot receiver whose number I didn’t catch. Agnew looks like the Lions’ backup slot corner at this point, behind Justin Coleman, but he’ll be active on gamedays if he wins the return job.

• Agnew, Ty Johnson, Brandon Powell and Danny Amendola all got reps as kick returner Tuesday, if you’re keeping track at home.

• I don’t know what Lions coach Matt Patricia said to his defense, but he huddled them up at one point during Tuesday’s practice for a good two minutes or so. The second-team defense committed some sort of mental error the play before and had to run the length of the field. Clearly, Patricia was not happy with whatever transpired.

• Because of the way the Lions’ practice fields are situated, Matt Prater spends some of his time kicking field goals on the skinny goal posts right in front of the bleachers the media are confined to on the east side of the field. Prater’s kicks often sail into the bleachers, where reporters have to keep their head on a swivel or risk getting hit. Some sail over or next to the bleachers, too, where high-school and middle-school football players sometimes line up to retrieve them. Shout out to the one player who made a nice catch on one such kick Tuesday.

• My attention was elsewhere for some of the one-on-one passing drills the Lions did Tuesday, but I did note one play Teez Tabor made. He was covering Marvin Jones, the Lions’ best deep threat, and ran stride for stride with him for 30 or so yards. Stafford overthrew Jones on the play, but since Tabor’s speed has been questioned repeatedly, it feels like it’s worth mentioning that he stayed with Jones on that pass.

• Last thing for the day: It was good to see Kelly Stafford, the wife of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, at practice Tuesday. Kelly Stafford underwent a 12-hour surgery this spring to remove a brain tumor and has posted regular updates about her health on Instagram. She had two of the couple’s daughters with her Tuesday. Here’s hoping all her health problems are in the past.

From Justin Rogers, DetNews:

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Detroit Lions’ Tuesday training camp practice.

  • The Lions got a handful of defensive linemen back on the practice field, but in limited capacities. Devon Kennard, Romeo Okwara, A’Shawn Robinson and Mike Daniels were all in pads, but only Robinson, returning from a four-day absence after tending to a personal matter, took any meaningful snaps.

As for Da’Shawn Hand, who left practice on Sunday and was labeled day-to-day by coach Matt Patricia, he was sporting a large elbow brace on his left arm. In addition to Hand, Austin Bryant, Christian Jones and Jonathan Wynn remained sidelined.

  • The team opened practice with a series of head-to-head drills, including the running backs working against the linebackers and defensive backs on blitz pickups.

It was a drill to forget for Kerryon Johnson, who lost matchups against safety Tavon Wilson, rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai and rookie safety Will Harris. Among the backs likely to make the roster, C.J. Anderson was probably the most consistent, stuffing both Tavai and Harris.

Mark Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound practice squad candidate, also showed well as a blocker.

  • While the backs were working on picking up blitzers, the tight ends were running routes against defensive backs on the second practice field. The best catch was by rookie Isaac Nauta, who got a step on Harris on a deep release and hauled in a fully-extended grab by the fingertips while fading toward the left sideline.

  • When the receivers and defensive backs matched up, Kenny Golladay looked sharp. His route running is much more precise than earlier in his career, leading to more consistent separation. Things are looking like they’ll continue to trend up in his third season.

Teez Tabor gave up an early catch against Marvin Jones on a slant, but did an excellent job recovering from a nasty juke the receiver made at the line of scrimmage. In a game, Tabor would have been in position to make a quick tackle after a minimal gain. On the next battle between the two, Tabor blanketed Jones on a go route, leading to an incompletion.

  • Rookie receiver Travis Fulgham continues to make strides. After dropping a deep, over-the-shoulder grab early in the day, he shook cornerback Mike Ford on a deep post pattern to end the one-on-one segment, then followed it up by hauling in a deep bomb from Matthew Stafford out of play-action, between Tabor and safety Tracy Walker.

  • Continuing a trend from last week, linebacker Garret Dooley continues to get extended work with the first- and second-team defenses.

  • During full-team drills, Patricia got agitated with the defense. The coach called the entire unit over to the ATV he’s using to get around the practice field and gave them a tongue lashing for two to three minutes. Making matters worse, defensive end Mitchell Loewen jumped offside on the very next play.

  • Rookie defensive tackle P.J. Johnson worked his way into the backfield a few times on the day, including a would-be sack if the quarterbacks weren’t wearing red, no-contact jerseys. Not surprisingly, there’s not a lot of consistency to the seventh-round pick’s play at this point, but he continues to flash a skill set worthy of development.

  • For the first time since the start of camp, David Fales worked ahead of Tom Savage as the second-team quarterback. Based on what we’ve seen to this point, there’s no real reason to believe Savage is in jeopardy of losing the backup competition.

Fales threw an ugly pass intercepted by Walker in the end zone late in practice.

  • For the second time this camp, Anderson fumbled a ball while taking part in a ball security drill. He only has four career fumbles, so it’s probably nothing to be concerned about.

  • Undrafted rookie offensive linemen Beau Benzschawel and Ryan Pope both continued to struggle. Working on tandem blocking drills, both suffered sound defeats on their reps. Dooley zipped by Pope around the edge, essentially untouched, while Benzschawel struggled to pick up defensive end Eric Lee on a stunt.

  • The play of the day went to Tavai. On a red zone snap, the linebacker leaped up, deflected and corralled a Stafford pass. And on the interception return, the competitive quarterback attempted to make an ill-advised tackle near the sideline, but bounced off Tavai like a bug on a windshield.

From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – The Detroit Lions’ beleaguered defensive line received a boost Tuesday, with A’Shawn Robinson rejoining the team after an extended absence.

Robinson reported on time for camp with the rest of the veterans on Wednesday, but was then excused by head coach Matt Patricia to address a personal matter. He wound up missing the first four days of camp.

Robinson declined to speak to MLive after practice, and the nature of his absence remains unknown.

“Uhhhhh, let me think about it,” Robinson said, when asked if he had a second to talk. "No.”

The Lions are exceedingly deep on the defensive line, and especially on the interior, where they’ve added former Pro Bowler Mike Daniels to a rotation that already returned Snacks Harrison, Da’Shawn Hand and Robinson. But injuries have gutted the depth at the position. Hand left Sunday’s practice with a left arm injury, while Harrison and Darius Kilgo still haven’t suited up while on the non-football injury list.

So Robinson’s return to the field was certainly welcomed, although he worked on a pitch count and seemed gassed by the end of the two-hour practice. He was the last player to finish a lap around the practice fields after the workout. In fact, he was 27 seconds slower than anybody else. By the end, I wouldn’t even consider whatever he was doing running.

There’s little reason to worry, of course, with more than five weeks still remaining before Detroit kicks off the regular season on Sept. 8 in Arizona.

Few players improved more in the Matt Patricia defense last season than Robinson, who went from fighting for a roster spot in camp to finishing the year as the fifth-best interior run defender in the league according to ProFootballFocus. He ranked 11th overall at the position according to PFF.

Was he really the 11th-best interior defender in 2018? I suspect not. But he was good, and having a guy like that coming off the bench is going to make Detroit that much tougher to handle up front.

Here are more observations from Day 5 of Lions camp:

– Elsewhere in the front seven, Devon Kennard, Romeo Okwara and Mike Daniels were all in pads. But none took meaningful team reps either, leaving that unit short handed heading into the second week of camp. Da’Shawn Hand remained out, and was sporting a bulky brace on his left arm. Patricia has said he’s day to day, along with Austin Bryant. Christian Jones and Jonathan Wynn also did not suit up.

– T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James are getting all the attention at tight end, and rightfully so. Those are the guys Detroit will lean on most this year. But don’t forget about Isaac Nauta. He’s just a seventh-round pick at a position in which Detroit has invested heavily this year, so I wasn’t even sure whether he would make the team. But Nauta has really sticky hands, and showed that again today when he beat Will Harris during one-on-ones. He extended fully while in a dead-sprint to catch the ball with his fingertips. That’s a really difficult play. Later in team drills, I saw Nauta line up as the up-back in a two-back set. And I don’t have to remind you how Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn feel about versatility when building their roster. Right now, I think he’s playing his way onto the right side of the bubble.

– Teez Tabor’s camp continues to be a lot of good with a little bad. Consider one sequence during one-on-ones on Tuesday. Tabor got a little out of position and Marvin Jones beat him for a short gain. Tabor was able to recover nicely and the play wouldn’t have done much damage in a game. Still, Matt Patricia waved him over to the ATV and had a word with him. Next rep, Tabor was matched up with Jones again. And this time, he ran step for step with him and forced an errant throw out of bounds. Patricia waved Tabor over to the ATV again, and this time gave him a high-five. At this point, there’s no doubt Tabor has come a long way in the last 12 months. He’s so much better than he was this time last year. I have to think at this rate, he’s in good shape to make the team. The question now is, can he push Rashaan Melvin for the starting job opposite Darius Slay?

– The Lions opened Day 5 by pitting the running backs against linebackers and safeties in a blitz-pickup drill. This thing is designed to favor the defense, but Kerryon Johnson did struggle. He lost reps against Tavon Wilson, Jahlani Tavai and Quandre Diggs. Zach Zenner was much better, handling Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tavon Wilson and Will Harris. C.J. Anderson also had a couple nice wins, standing up both Tavai and Harris.

– Listen, Jamal Agnew was an All-Pro return man as a rookie. I get it. But man, for a guy who is so electric with the ball in his hands, he sure does struggle to track it in the air. He’s had some miscues fielding balls over the years, including in games – that touchdown return against the Giants was initially botched, remember – and I’ve seen it a few more times throughout the early days of camp. He put another ball on the ground Tuesday. I really do think he could be pushed for either/both the punt and kick return spots. The Lions worked on kick returns today, with Agnew joined by Ty Johnson, Brandon Powell and Danny Amendola.

– Matt Patricia was fiery as hell in camp last year. I remember him letting a few F-bombs fly in the first, oh, 2 minute of the first day. This year, I’d say he’s been a little more subdued. But that’s not to say he can’t still bark an order or two. There was one moment today where he huddled the defense around his ATV and gave them a talking-to for at least 2 minutes after the second team had made some kind of error. Then the defense had to run the length of the field. No idea what happened, but clearly Patricia wasn’t happy.

– As I was thinking things through on the off day, I realized one name I hadn’t jotted down too much on the first four days of practice: Kenny Golladay. He hasn’t been bad, but just hasn’t done a whole lot either. That might have something to do with all that time he took off during the offseason program, and the deep ball definitely has not been locked in during the opening days of camp. Of course, a day later, Golladay turned in his best practice to date. He made a couple nice catches during one-on-ones on Tuesday, and another during team drills.

– Sticking with the receivers for a moment, rookie Travis Fulgham had one of his best practices as a professional. He did drop one deep shot early in the day, but then bounced back to beat Mike Ford on a deep post in one-on-ones and later sliced between Tabor and Tracy Walker for another bomb from Matthew Stafford. Fulgham, by the way, was known for the deep ball during his days at Old Dominion.

– Might be time to consider doing some homework on Garret Dooley, who repped with the first team at linebacker on Tuesday. And it wasn’t the first time either. Of course that had something to do with all the injuries in the front seven, but clearly he’s done something to impress coaches and should be a candidate for the practice squad at least.

– Another linebacker who has popped the last couple days of practice: Miles Killebrew. He’s the forgotten man on defense, but dislodged the ball from intended receivers with nice hits in each of the last two workouts.

– I saw Kelly Stafford, wife of Matthew, at practice for the first time since her brain surgery back in the spring. She was accompanied by the couple’s twin daughters, Chandler and Sawyer, who were dressed in matching outfits. Owner Martha Firestone Ford was also among the spectators.

From Twentyman and O’Hara,

The pick: Rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai was able to tip a Matthew Stafford pass to himself for an interception at the goal line in a red zone drill. Tavai secured the ball and headed down the left sideline. Stafford pursued him and ended up on the ground after trying to get Tavai out of bounds. Tavai, who stands 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, seemed unfazed by the attempt. Stafford just bounced off him and hit the deck. – Tim Twentyman

Hard contact: Linebacker Jarrad Davis looks forward to days when training camp practices are in pads, and Tuesday was an example of that. Davis had two big collisions with running backs in a one-on-one drill – first with rookie Ty Johnson, next with C.J. Anderson. Davis looked like a man who enjoys his work. – Mike O’Hara

Nice grab: In one-on-one passing drills pitting the receivers vs. the cornerbacks, veteran wide receiver Jermaine Kearse made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab down the right sideline. I couldn’t tell if Kearse got both feet down, but it was a great grab, nonetheless. Even cornerback Justin Coleman, who was defending on the play, was impressed. He offered up a high five to Kearse after the catch. – Tim Twentyman

Speaking of high fives: Third-year cornerback Teez Tabor got one from head coach Matt Patricia after he had sticky coverage on Marvin Jones Jr. forcing an incompletion deep down the field in the same drill. – Tim Twentyman

Hands-on-instruction: Camp has few moments with no activity, and linebackers coach Al Golden took Tavai aside in one brief break to demonstrate a way to use his hands. Golden put his left hand, arm extended, on the front of Tavai’s helmet, above the face mask. Tavai countered by jabbing Golden – lightly – in the chest. It was repeated several teams, well below game speed. – Mike O’Hara

Rough period: The running backs worked on pass blocking drills against the linebackers and safeties on Tuesday, and it was an overall tough outing for the running backs. Kerryon Johnson had a particularly rough period. Tavon Wilson, Quandre Diggs, Tavai and Will Harris all looked to win their reps against Johnson, who was noticeably frustrated with himself a couple of times. – Tim Twentyman

Kick return: The Lions worked on their kick return Tuesday, and Jamal Agnew and Ty Johnson got most of the reps as the deep return man. Danny Amendola also got some work there, but I expect the competition to return kickoffs to focus on Agnew and Johnson early in the preseason. – Tim Twentyman

Not happy: Late in a team portion of practice, coaches stopped the period and made the defense run around the field for what looked like a substitution error. They were then gathered up around Patricia, who spoke to them for a few minutes and didn’t seem very happy. On the very next snap defensive end Mitchell Loewen jumped offside. It wasn’t a good five minutes for the defense. – Tim Twentyman

From Eric Schlitt,

The Detroit Lions completed the fifth day of their 2019 training camp, and rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai continues to make noise, coming away with the play of the day.

Tavai makes the play of the day

The Lions have mixed in more zone coverage options than they have in the past and in this red zone situation it paid off for the defense.

On first down with the defense in man coverage, Matthew Stafford found Marvin Jones. Then he completed another pass (I didn’t to who because I was locked in on the Tracy Walker vs T.J. Hockenson matchup and the pass went the other way) to move the ball. The next play the Lions defense showed man coverage once again but instead executed a zone coverage disguise concept and Tavai jumped in front of the path of the ball.

Tavai deliberately tipped the ball to himself, with a gentle tap — something that’s not easy to do with a Stafford fastball — and then made a much easier catch for the interception.

Tavai has shown well every day in camp so far and these kinds of plays speak to his intelligence. Pre-training camp, I suggested that he would likely fight for reps and by the end of the season, could earn roughly 50-percent of the snaps by the end of the season, but at this rate, I’m not sure how you can take him off the field.

More defensive observations

With Da’Shawn Hand among the players not participating today, it was undrafted Kevin Strong stepping into his hybrid defensive lineman role. This is a well-earned promotion for a player who balled out last week and is making a name for himself in camp.

No Damon Harrison opened the doors for John Atkins to start, while Eric Lee continues to play (and start) at down defensive end while Trey Flowers (PUP) and Romeo Okwara (injury) miss time. Despite Atkins starting, I liked more of the reps I saw from PJ Johnson, who’s stock is on the rise.

When the team added a 3-technique, it was A’Shawn Robinson — who made his training camp debut — taking on the starting role with the three players above. Mike Daniels should be in the mix for that same spot as early as tomorrow.

With Devon Kennard, Austin Bryant and Malik Carney out with injuries, and Lee at defensive end, the Lions turned to Garret Dooley as their starting JACK linebacker. Dooley is a bit of a sleeper as he can play all four linebacker spots and was recently profiled by Lions Wire’s Max Gerber in his long shots series.

After getting burned by Marvin Jones in one-on-one deep routes last Sunday, Teez Tabor found himself pushing even on both their intermediate route reps today.

Justin Coleman saw some expanded duties today, receiving reps in both the slot — his primary position — and on the outside. If the Lions don’t feel confident in either Rashaan Melvin or Tabor in certain situations, having Coleman capable of flexing outside is a real advantage. In one-on-one drills today, he held Danny Amendola and Jermaine Kearse in check.

When Coleman shifted outside, it was Jamal Agnew getting primary slot reps. In one-on-ones with Amendola, they split wins. There is a role for a second slot receiver on this roster.

Andrew Adams is still within my 53-man roster projections, but he looks to be a deep safety only after watching him in one-on-one drills against the tight ends group. T.J. Hockenson, Jessee James and Jerome Cunningham all got wins against him today.

In addition to Tavai’s interception, the only other ball the defense came away with was a Tracy Walker interception on David Fales. Could be Fales didn’t see him or maybe Walker snuck in late, but it was an absolute gift of a turnover.

Offense line back to original starters

The offensive line was back to its normal rotation with guards Graham Glasgow and Kenny Wiggins back in the starting lineup. While Glasgow has been rotating with the second team guards throughout camp, it’s important to make one thing clear — Glasgow has easily been one of the best offensive linemen in camp and is locked into a starting role.

When offensive linemen face off against the defensive linemen in a stunts/picking up stunts drill, Glasgow was the only offensive lineman to perfectly execute all his reps.

Wiggins, Taylor Decker, Rick Wagner, Tyrell Crosby and Luke Bowanko also earned plus marks, while Oday Aboushi, Beau Benzschawel and Ryan Pope all struggled. Pope’s guaranteed money got him onto my original 53-man roster prediction, but he doesn’t appear to be adjusting to the switch from right to left tackle and unless he makes some massive strides by my next roster stack, he will be on the outside looking in.

Kenny Golladay has had a steady, solid camp but hasn’t truly stood out during the first week. We were reminded of how good he can be after a strong performance today. In one-on-one drills, he absolutely owned Melvin, earning oohs and ahs from both the crowd and offensive players on the field.

Rookie Travis Fulgham continues to show he is still learning the position, while also showing he’s probably too talented to not keep on the 53-man roster. In one-on-ones, he beat Dee Virgin cleanly but then dropped the pass, then on the next rep, won a contested catch against Mike Ford.

In 11-on-11s, Fulgham ran a 9-route and was bracketed by Tabor and Walker, but still managed to elevate and win the contested catch above both defenders. It drew the second loudest cheer of the day from the crowd.

I said it on last night’s interactive Periscope broadcast recapping Week 1, Kearse is expected to be the Lions fourth wide receiver, but if he struggles and is replaced, it would likely be by Brandon Powell, who the Lions continue to utilize successfully as a gadget player.

Tight end Isaac Nauta is getting a little bit better every day and the Lions are expanding his range of responsibilities, seeing snaps at fullback for the first time in camp.

Special teams

The Lions worked on a lot of kick return drills today and are starting to ramp of the energy levels in these drills. Primary kick returners today were Agnew, Amendola, Brandon Powell and the much-anticipated appearance of speedster Ty Johnson. Tommylee Lewis, who is still on the PUP list, joined the group trying to absorb as much information as possible.

This is the second practice in a row that Miles Killebrew has forcefully dislodged a pass from a running back while playing linebacker. While he may not ever be in that situation on defense, it’s the same technique that he will be asked to do on special teams. These types of plays help his cause, regardless of where he makes them.


Kelly Stafford found her way to Allen Park to partake in today’s activities. She had their twins in tow and were caught on video by the Lions’ media department playing with Matthew on the field.

This worries me. It’s worried me for as long as he’s been returning for us. He botches a lot of catches. If Ty Johnson can do even 80% of what Agnew can do, but with better ball security, I’d prefer him. Agnew’s going to be a solid corner, so it’s still a win, but I just don’t trust him to field the ball cleanly.