TC Notes and Observations, 11 Aug

From Mike Rothstein, ESPN:

Some thoughts from Sunday’s Lions training camp practice:

  • As expected, Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones didn’t participate in practice – joined by the usual guys sitting out rehabbing (Jarrad Davis, Da’Shawn Hand, Mike Daniels and Teez Tabor). Neither Tom Savage nor Tyrell Crosby have been spotted at all either Saturday or Sunday.

FYI - there’s nothing wrong with Stafford, it’s a scheduled day off. He’s still there, involved with the offense. He’s just not on the field.

  • Mostly a team work day with David Fales and Josh Johnson taking reps – Fales mostly with the first unit and Johnson with the second. For the second straight day, it was Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl as the first-team guards, while Kenny Wiggins worked at both guard and tackle.

  • Fales looked sharper Sunday than Saturday or during the exhibition game – both he and Johnson had really impressive throws, but also had throws that show how far behind Matthew Stafford they really are.

  • Chris Lacy had a really good day at practice, including catching a tight-window throw from Fales that got by Darius Slay. Every day lately, Lacy has had one or two catches that have looked a level above the other receivers he’s competing with. Depending how things go in Houston, he might be separating himself in the chase for the No. 4 receiver position. That he’s shown he can line up inside and outside can only help his case.

  • Ryan Pope had his best day in a while. In individuals, he beat Anthony Pittman twice and Devon Kennard once in offensive line/defensive line reps – perhaps a sign of progress from the undrafted free agent.

The Lions are off Monday and then have a workout Tuesday before heading to Houston for two days of joint practices with the Texans.

Added: Da’Shawn Hand still isn’t practicing, but was no longer wearing his big arm brace. Still had a compression sleeve, though.

Participation Report from Eric Schlitt, Lionswire:

The Detroit Lions don’t release injury reports during the preseason, but it’s clear coach Matt Patricia is paying close attention to his veteran’s needs and providing them with rest days ahead of their trip to Houston for joint practices with the Texans. Here’s where the team stands based on our observations from training camp practice 14.

PUP/NFI list:

NT Damon Harrison (NFI)
LB Steve Longa (PUP)
Harrison and Longa have injury designations that prohibit them from playing at this time.

Changes after Practice 14

QB Matthew Stafford (scheduled rest day, per Patricia)
WR Marvin Jones (dressed, no participation)
DL Mitchell Lowen (dressed, no participation)
NT John Atkins (absent)


EDGE Trey Flowers (removed from PUP, drills only)
CB Jamal Agnew (returned to drills and special teams work)
RB Mark Thompson (participation in drills only)

Returned in full

CB Darius Slay
LB Christian Jones
WR Tommylee Lewis
DE Jonathan Wynn
EDGE Malik Carney
LB Garret Dooley

With joint practices looming the Lions are giving Stafford a scheduled break and in turn getting a longer look at the reserve quarterbacks on the roster. With Tom Savage in concussion protocol, that meant plenty of reps for third-stringer David Fales and newly acquired Josh Johnson.

Marvin Jones was out for stretches, left the field, then returned late in practice but did not participate. Coach Matt Patricia avoided the questions surrounding an injury to Jones, but this movement is typically related to some ailment. Loewen followed this same schedule.

Atkins was a surprise absence and no word was given as to why he was not in attendance.

Still not practicing

QB Tom Savage (concussion protocol)
OT Tyrell Crosby (concussion protocol)
DL Da’Shawn Hand (The brace on his arm was removed)
DT Mike Daniels
DT Ray Smith
JACK Austin Bryant
EDGE Malik Carney
LB Jarrad Davis
CB Teez Tabor

There was an unusual exchange with Patricia and the media on Saturday regarding Crosby and his status. When asked if Savage was in concussion protocol Patricia responded, “Yes, he’s in protocol.”

When asked about if Crosby was in concussion protocol as well (which Crosby said as much in the locker room after the game) Patricia responded, “Crosby has an injury right now that I’m not going to comment on, just kind of the general rule for evaluation and the process there and just kind of leave that one.”

It’s a bit surprising that after responding openly about Savage that Patricia avoided the question about Crosby. This could speak to the severity of the injury or the timing, as Crosby played the entire game last Thursday. We will have to keep a close eye on Crosby and his participation levels moving forward.

On a positive note, Hand was walking around the field without his brace on his left arm indicating he is progressing through this injury well.

From Jeremy Reisman, PoD:

The Detroit Lions offense finally showed some signs of life without Matthew Stafford on Sunday afternoon. With the Lions’ franchise quarterback taking another veteran day off and Tom Savage still in concussion protocol, it was up to David Fales and newbie Josh Johnson to run practice after a not-so-hopeful session on Saturday.

Both rebounded nicely, but we’ll get into that in a bit.

Here are my Day 14 training camp observations:


Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones Jr. had the same deal as yesterday. Show up and go through stretches, but that’s it. At this point, there’s no reason to assume either are injury related, but we’ll see next week.

Here are the players that did not participate in practice:

Tom Savage
Tyrell Crosby
Steve Longa
Damon Harrison Sr.
Ray Smith
Da’Shawn Hand
Austin Bryant
Mike Daniels
John Atkins
Jarrad Davis
Teez Tabor

A couple notes here. Da’Shawn Hand no longer had his brace on his left arm. Instead, he was still wearing his compression sleeve.

John Atkins was a new name that was out. I did not spot him at practice at all. He, Crosby, and Savage were the only three players that were unaccounted for completely.

Interesting to note that Tre Lamar was at practice despite the fact that he was waived-injured. This suggests the Lions believe Lamar will clear waivers and return to their IR list. Lamar had a big wrap around his left knee.


Today was a much cleaner practice from David Fales, who was extremely sharp and accurate in one-on-one and seven-on-sevens. In fact, during the first set of seven-on-sevens Fales went 8-for-8 in red zone passes.

Unfortunately, it was a different story when the offensive and defensive lines came in. We saw some of the same issues with Fales once the team went full 11-on-11s, mainly his tendency to hold onto the ball way too long.

As for Josh Johnson, I still haven’t seen him test his arm too much, but his fade leaves a lot to be desired. He threw a pretty awful ball right at Rashaan Melvin during seven-on-sevens. Then, during full team drills he was picked off by Andrew Adams.

4-minute drill

Prior to practice, head coach Matt Patricia said that the team would work on what they call a four-minute drill: a possession in which the offense is already leading and trying to milk the clock.

The first-team offense ran three plays of varying success. First down was a run up the middle that was stuffed for no-gain. The Lions moved the ball up three yards anyway and ran for another 3- or 4-yard gain. Facing a simulated third-and-3 situation, they ran the ball yet again on third down. While it was hard to tell if he made it based on our view from the end zone, though the roar of the offense on the sideline suggests they picked it up. If so, it wasn’t by much.

The second team was a little more interesting. After a first-down run was stuffed, Johnson found Travis Fulgham in one-on-one coverage, and Fulgham pulled down the catch and spun off the would-be tackler for a huge gain. The next play, Johnson looked for Fulgham in the end zone, but Darius Slay batted the ball out of Fulgham’s hands and followed it up with his patented finger wag.

Finally Kevin Strong gets his own section

If there’s one defensive lineman that keeps coming up in my notes but doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, it’s undrafted rookie defensive tackle Kevin Strong. Remember, Strong comes from University of Texas-San Antonio, where currently Lions defensive line coach Bo Davis coached him in 2017.

Strong again looked like a standout player Sunday, and with all of the injuries along the defensive line, he split time with Fred Jones with the first-team defense. When the Lions are fully healthy, it’ll be tough for Strong to find a spot on this roster, but he keeps making a case for himself over the likes of John Atkins or P.J. Johnson.

Odds and ends

The offensive line shakeup from Saturday remained the norm on Sunday. That means Joe Dahl was repping as the first-team left guard, while Kenny Wiggins was the second-team right tackle. Left guard duties with the second team were split between Beau Benzschawel and Joe Dahl running double duty.
You may want to start putting Chris Lacy in your 53-man roster predictions. Lacy beat Darius Slay on a route and pulled in the catch despite Slay limiting his vision.
As the Lions start to get their linebacking crew back, Jahlani Tavai and Devon Kennard both picked up tackles for loss in the run game. Tavai also forced a fumble that sent Kerryon Johnson doing a lap.
Favorite play of practice: Ty Johnson and Kerryon Johnson on the field at the same time.
After practice, the Lions beat writers had a friendly punting competition. The winner? Yours truly, with this beauty:

From Justin Rogers, DetNews:

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Sunday’s Lions training camp practice.

  • For the second practice in a row, Matthew Stafford wasn’t participating as part of a planned stretch off for the quarterback. But on the back end of that back-to-back, the offense was much more in sync.

Working with the first-team offense, David Fales started off the day with a crisper set of throws in one-on-one drills, which he carried over to a seven-on-seven red zone period. There he was a perfect 8-for-8 getting his receivers into the end zone from the 2-yard line.

Fales got a little help from tight end Logan Thomas on the first snap. Thomas was able to tip a wide pass to himself in the back of the end zone to get the best of safety Tracy Walker.

When the Lions moved to full-team work, incorporating the offensive and defensive lines, Fales struggled a bit more, but was still better than he was the day before.

  • On the other field, recently signed backup quarterback Josh Johnson worked on red zone route combinations with two receivers against two defensive backs. He was hit or miss in the drill, with one particularly bad throw on a corner pattern to Kenny Golladay coming up well short and getting intercepted by Rashaan Melvin.

  • Defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand remained sidelined, but for the first time in more than a week, he was free of the range-of-motion brace he’s been wearing on his left arm.

  • During a blocking drill, where the wide receiver was expected to keep a defensive back away from a ball carrier, Golladay worked over rookie Amani Oruwariye. Blocking is an often underappreciated aspect of the position and Golladay does it well.

  • Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson spent some time working on the edge during Sunday’s practice and displayed his trademark ability to get his hands in the passing lane, knocking down one of Fales’ passes.

  • Ball security issues cropped up a couple times with Kerryon Johnson and newcomer Justin Stockton putting exchanges on the ground. On Stockton’s bumble, it appeared there were problems starting with the snap. Defensive tackle P.J. Johnson burst through the line to both disrupt the exchange and recover the fumble.

  • Receiver Chris Lacy made the catch of the day, maintaining concentration through a deflection by cornerback Darius Slay in the middle of the field. Slay made sure to finish the pass breakup on the next opportunity, knocking a deep ball away intended for Lacy.

  • Speaking of concentration, it might be rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson’s best trait. He doesn’t seem to be fazed by traffic in tight spaces at all. He showed that again during this practice, making a catch down the seam despite blanket coverage from safety Quandre Diggs.

  • Travis Fulgham had a couple of long gains working crossing routes, including one in an end-of-game situation that killed the clock. Fulgham’s success had receivers coach Robert Prince excited, as he ran out onto the field to celebrate with the rookie.

  • Rookie tight end Isaac Nauta came up limping at the end of practice after blocking on a field goal attempt. His status will need to be monitored the next couple days.

  • All Andrew Adams does is pick off passes. The safety has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, which was the case when one of Josh Johnson’s passes sailed over the reach of Hockenson.

  • In one-on-one pass rush drills, defensive end Trey Flowers won a rep working against offensive lineman Graham Glasgow. That’s more work than defensive tackle Mike Daniels has done in drills to this point.

Perhaps the most surprising rep belonged to undrafted rookie Beau Benzschawel, who successfully slowed up Robinson.

Defensive tackle Kevin Strong also continued to turn heads in the drill, blowing by veteran center Luke Bowanko and putting on a late rip move to get around Kenny Wiggins.

  • After practice, the local media competed in an impromptu punting competition, with each person getting two punts. I didn’t do well, but also didn’t totally embarrass myself, shanking both efforts around the 30-yard mark. The winner went 47 yards, while the worst effort traveled just seven.

Hmm…no mention of Zenner.

No news for Zenner is good news.

From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – Matt Patricia said Darius Slay and Snacks Harrison would open training camp on the non-football injury list until they proved their conditioning levels were ready for contact practices.

Slay, who missed the entire offseason program while in a contract dispute, returned to the Lions nine days ago. But Harrison, who also held out for an extension, continues to sit.

He’s now missed 14 practices, plus the preseason opener against New England.

Asked whether Harrison is still trying to get his conditioning up, or battling an injury too, coach Matt Patricia sidestepped the question.

“We’re trying to do the best we can for him to get ready to go,” Patricia said. “For a guy that has played a lot of football for a number of years and has handled these situations in training camp the same for a while and just working with him to make sure he is ready to go when we get to that point. Just that open communication back and forth. Those guys are doing stuff. They’re out there, they’re working, it’s just who they are working with at that point.

"And I would say our training staff does a great job of being very proactive in some of that stuff out on the field to get those guys ready to go. It’s a much more controlled environment. The biggest thing for us is when we transfer into where we are in training camp, where it’s – I don’t want to call it live action, but you’re engaged with another player, there’s different torque, there’s different things that can occur on your body that’s different then maybe a simulate sled or a bag. We just want to make sure that we’re always conscious of that as we work guys back in.”

Harrison’s resume speaks for itself, of course. He’s a former first-team All-Pro defensive tackle who just led the NFL in run stops. He actually led the Lions in run stops last year, and he played in only nine games for the team after arriving in an October trade.

As a team, the Lions run defense rocketed from 30th all the way to 10th in those nine games.

So, yeah, Harrison can play some ball, and still has plenty of time to get ready for that Sept. 8 opener against Arizona.

Another piece up front, Mike Daniels, has yet to do much of anything since signing with Detroit last month, although has said he hopes to ramp up his activity next week in Houston. And yet another key piece, star free-agent signing Trey Flowers, didn’t come off the physically unable to perform list until Saturday.

Flowers had been sidelined while recovering from a shoulder injury, and said missing so much time leaves him with a lot of work to do before the opener.

“Obviously, all the fundamentals and little things that you miss out on during camp and just conditioning in your pads and things like that,” Flowers said. “So I came a long way, but I’ve got a long way to go.”

Here are some more observations from practice:

– If I were a betting man (I’m not, mom, I swear), my money would be on Joe Dahl winning the left guard job. He actually held up well against New England – no, really, he did – and then was rewarded for it by taking the first-team reps on back-to-back days at left guard. That’s the first time I can remember anyone taking first-team reps on back-to-back days at that position. Dahl had been splitting those reps with Kenny Wiggins, but sure looks like he might have taken the lead for the gig.

– With Matthew Stafford enjoying almost a week off from throwing the football, David Fales was back under center with the first-team offense. And he seemed far more comfortable than he did during a tough showing on Saturday, or in the loss against New England before that. In fact, he threw seven straight touchdown passes during the seven-on-seven period. Logan Thomas kicked things off with a terrific catch in traffic over Tracy Walker. C.J. Anderson got Walker on the next rep too. Jesse James, Nick Bawden, Ty Johnson, Jerome Cunningham, Thomas again and Austin Traylor also scored during the drill.

– With Marvin Jones enjoying a second straight day off, Chris Lacy got a long burn with the first team. He caught a really nice pass during two-minute drills too, despite excellent coverage from Darius Slay. “He was so lucky,” Slay said with a laugh after practice. “Like, I’ve been locking up every day. He’s the first person to catch a ball on me, and that was so lucky, 'cause I tipped it and it hit his hip. Caught it on his hip.” Still, give Lacy his due. He practiced well in the spring, and is making some noise in camp too. With Jermaine Kearse out, that receiver battle is up for grabs and I think Lacy is about as talented as a pass catcher as anyone else in that mix. But he also offers less versatility than guys like Brandon Powell and Tommylee Lewis, who moonlight as return men.

– Among the others who were not practicing: QB Tom Savage, OT Tyrell Crosby, DL Da’Shawn Hand, DT Mike Daniels, DT Ray Smith, DE Austin Bryant, LB Jarrad Davis, CB Teez Tabor, LB Steve Longa, DE Mitchell Loewen and DT John Atkins. On the bright side, Hand ditched his arm brace for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury two weeks ago.

– My thoughts and prayers go out to Amani Oruwariye, after Kenny Golladay put him in a body bag during receiver blocking drills.

– Another day, another pick for safety Andrew Adams. I don’t have an official tally of interception leaders this offseason, but I’d be shocked if it weren’t him. He’s on the right side of my bubble right now, as this team searches for guys capable of turning over the football.

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From Twentyman and O’Hara,

Increased load: Defensive end Trey Flowers was removed from PUP Saturday, though he only took individual reps in practice. Sunday he did a little more, taking part in 1-on-1 pass-rush drills vs. the O-line. Flowers had a great rep rushing inside on guard Graham Glasgow. Flowers showed off terrific strength getting hands on Glasgow, getting the big guard unbalanced on his way by him. –Tim Twentyman

Close call: Rookie tight end Isaac Nauta almost came down with a leaping catch, but the ball came loose as he tumbled backward. Instead of a catch, Nauta and his teammates on offense had to pay the penalty of doing 10 pushups. – Mike O’Hara

Hand delivery: Safety Andrew Adams picked off a ball from quarterback Josh Johnson that was too high for tight end T.J. Hockenson in a four-minute team period. After briefly celebrating with his teammates, Adams sprinted over to head coach Matt Patricia, who was watching from his ATV 15 yards or so behind the offense, and hand delivered the football to him. Patricia set it on the front of his ATV. – Tim Twentyman

Back to back: The offense got off two good plays in a short span. First wide receiver Kenny Golladay got a nice gain when he found a seam in the secondary on a sharp cut from left to right. A couple plays later wide receiver Chris Lacy made a good catch down the right sideline. – Mike O’Hara

Finger wag: Cornerback Darius Slay’s go-to move after defending a pass is the finger wag. Lions receivers know it’s not just a gameday move for Slay. He’ll bring it out on the practice field too. Rookie wide receiver Travis Fulgham got the finger wag Sunday when Slay was able to knock away a pass from him deep down the right sideline. – Tim Twentyman

Four-minute special: The offense was running the four-minute drill, when it tries to sustain a drive to run out the clock. It got more than it might have bargained for when Fulgham made a good catch down the left sideline for a long gain. – Mike O’Hara

Animated practice: The offense was pretty animated Sunday whooping and hollering at every good play made by their unit. It looked to have an impact on the defense, too, because by the end of practice the defense was getting pretty vocal and cheering for every good play by their unit. There was some back and forth for a while in a team period, and players on both sides seemed to be having fun with it. – Tim Twentyman

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From Dave Birkett, Det FreeP:

Matt Patricia hasn’t been able to be as hands-on with his coaching as he’d like this summer because of the Achilles injury that has restricted him to watching practice from the seat of his ATV.

Whereas Patricia would place himself in the middle of some drills last year, throwing passes to his defensive backs or demonstrating technique for linemen, he has been removed from the action at training camp for safety reasons. But at the end of Sunday’s practice, Patricia was able to let the teacher inside him come out a little when he spent 10 to 15 minutes huddled with the team’s linebackers going through corrections from the day’s drills.

“Just some things that gave us some issues in practice, some things we just wanted to clean up,” linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin said. “Kind of just had little misunderstandings about it as a whole, so we just wanted to get that fixed.”

The Lions spent part of practice working on their four-minute offense and defense, with some situational plays mixed in.

And while it’s unclear exactly what Patricia felt needed correcting, it was obvious he was in his element doing it.

He gathered the linebackers for a brief talk after practice, still sitting on his ATV, then had them walk through a series of play fits. After going through one batch of corrections, Patricia gathered his linebackers again, then the group lined up once more to run through another set of corrections.

We all know the strength of the Lions defense is a line that includes Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison and Mike Daniels — the latter two still haven’t practiced this summer. The weakness is the unsettled cornerbacks corps behind Darius Slay.

The linebackers are the wildcard of the defense, with Jarrad Davis perhaps poised for a big year, Devon Kennard and Christian Jones returning as starters and some promising but unproven depth in Jahlani Tavai, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Miles Killebrew.

Patricia coached linebackers for five seasons with the New England Patriots, and on Sunday he took extra care to make sure they were doing things right.

More observations from Sunday’s practice:

  • The Lions have an off day Monday and a short practice Tuesday before leaving for Houston for a week of work against the Texans. Matthew Stafford should be back by then after a few days of team-prescribed rest, and perhaps Marvin Jones, too.

Jones, coming off season-ending knee surgery, declined an interview request coming off the field. For the second straight day, he was out for early warmups then went inside the facility where he spent the bulk of practice working.

“We’re just trying to keep an eye on the volume that we give him as we work through it,” Patricia said. “We’re kind of at the midpoint of training camp right now. We’re constantly evaluating those guys as far as their work load, their repetitions, and the count of how many plays they have had to make sure we’re getting them enough to prepare. Then certain points of practice if we feel if the practice emphasis might swing into something different than those repetitions might go down and if there is something more productive, we can do with those guys then we’ll do it at that time.”

  • Two defensive backs had impressive pass breakups Sunday. Slay leads the NFL in PBUs since he entered the league, so it’s no surprise he ripped a completion out of rookie Travis Fulgham’s hands on the final play of a four-minute period late in practice. Fulgham had Slay beat on the play, a pass down the sideline from Josh Johnson, but Slay reached up between Fulgham’s arms for the PBU as the receiver tried to secure the ball.

Rookie Amani Oruwariye also made a nice diving breakup of a David Fales pass to Tom Kennedy on the goal line.

  • If it seems like Andrew Adams gets a mention here every other day, well, that’s because he intercepts a pass about that often. Adams picked off an overthrown Johnson pass to T.J. Hockenson on Sunday. By my count, that’s at least his fifth interception of the summer.

It’s not that Adams plays sticky coverage on receivers or tight ends. He was beat by Jesse James in one-on-one drills Sunday when he didn’t turn his head and play the ball. But he’s always in the right position on the field.

• More from one-on-one receiver drills: Isaac Nauta shook fellow rookie Will Harris with a nice move on the final play of the period. Nauta’s offensive teammates oohed and aahed because a push-up was on the line — then groaned almost in unison when Nauta dropped the ball. Nauta, who tight ends coach Chris White called the most sure-handed tight end in the draft, also had a drop in last week’s exhibition game.

• Rashaan Melvin also had a pick on a push-up play, when he made an easy grab on an underthrown Johnson pass to Kenny Golladay.

• Receiver Chris Lacy made the catch of the day when he plucked a ball out of midair on Slay. Lacy continues to shine in practice and has a roster spot in his sights.

• Trey Flowers took his first rep in one-on-one pass rushing drills of camp, and it came from an interior line spot against right guard Graham Glasgow. I’d say Flowers and Glasgow wrestled to a draw, with Flowers eventually getting by him but not in enough time to impact the would-be play. Flowers should start at right end this fall, but I imagine he’ll rush inside plenty on third downs.

• Ryan Pope hasn’t been very good all camp, but he had his best day in one-on-one drills Sunday. Pope, who has had trouble with quick edge rushers, stonewalled Kennard on one of his reps.

• Fred Jones got some first-team work at defensive tackle. Jones had the Lions’ only sack against the Patriots, when he came off a block to crunch quarterback Jarrett Stidham midway through the fourth quarter.

• Joe Dahl took first-team reps at left guard Sunday for the second straight day, while Kenny Wiggins once again worked right tackle with the second-team in Tyrell Crosby’s absence.

• Last thing, with that aforementioned off day Monday and light practice Tuesday, the next batch of observations will come Wednesday when the Lions square off with the Texans for their first of two joint practices.

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From Eric Schlitt, (Note this notes just appeared)

The fans are no longer present along the sidelines of Allen park but the Detroit Lions continue to get meaningful training camp reps ahead of joint practices — and Week 2 preseason game — with the Houston Texans later in the week.

Here’s what we saw during the Lions fourteenth day of training camp.

Joe Dahl continues to start at LG

Dahl and the Lions agreed to a 2-year contract extension just ahead of last weeks game with the New England Patriots and despite taking second-team reps in the game, he has opened this weeks training camp with the starters.

This isn’t a big leap for Dahl after spending much of the offseason rotating at left guard with incumbent starter Kenny Wiggins. So far, Dahl hasn’t looked out-of-place, with his offseason strength and conditioning training paying off in his anchor.

In Sunday’s offensive line vs defensive line/linebacker pass block/rush drills, Dahl was the only offensive lineman to earn positive marks on every rep.

Wiggins has shifted to the second team and outside to right tackle, replacing injured Tyrell Crosby. There is little clarity surrounding what injury is ailing Crosby as he self-reported that he was in concussion protocol post-Week 1 game, but Coach Matt Patricia was vaguer: “Crosby has an injury right now that I’m not going to comment on, just kind of the general rule for evaluation and the process there and just kind of leave that one.”

With Crosby out and Wiggins on the outside, it was undrafted free agent guard Beau Benzschawel stepping into the left guard spot on the second line.

David Fales is holding off Josh Johnson … for now

Josh Johnson is obviously still learning the offense, so I don’t put too much stock his timing being off. Early in practice, he threw a ball that would’ve been great for Danny Amendola but it went to Kenny Golladay and was picked off by Rashaan Melvin. A few plays later he perfectly placed a ball that Golladay would’ve been able to high-point for a touchdown, but it was too tall for Amendola. He also threw at least one more interception — to Andrew Adams — but there may have been more. That being said, those are all expected bumps for a reserve quarterback on his second day.

What was encouraging was his ability to keep the play alive with his mobility in the pocket and in play-action. When he was on the move he looked sharp and made much stronger connections as the day wore on. More bumps are expected, but he looks like a comfortable vet who is still getting his feet wet in an offense. He spent about 20-minutes after camp working on throwing to receivers before talking to the media.

Meanwhile, Fales went 8 for 8 in the first team drill and played as well as I have seen him in camp. Maybe he is feeling the pressure or maybe he is finally getting comfortable, but either way, he was making positive throws all day.

WR Chris Lacy fills in for Marvin Jones with the ones

Marvin Jones missed his second practice in a row yesterday, and while some veterans are getting rest days, the schedule he is following suggests a potential injury, as I discussed in Day 14’s participation report.

In his absence, Chris Lacy has taken over with the ones. He looks to have built a strong chemistry with Fales and the two connected on several big plays in practice.

With Kearse landing on injured reserve, Lacy is making his case for replacing him on the 53-man roster.

Rookie highlights

Like Lacy, wide receiver Travis Fulgham showed solid chemistry with Fales. On a “first down wins the game” situational play, Fulgham shook a now released Marcus Cooper with a slant at the line and turned it into a 40 yard YAC gain.

Then Fulgham did it again with Johnson at quarterback.

On the next rep, the defense deployed Darius Slay on the rookie and when Johnson tried Fulgham again, the rookie made his third impressive grab, but the savvy vet corner used a “punch up” technique — popular among Patricia coached defensive backs — to dislodge the ball. Hard to fault the rookie too much on this one and overall this was a terrific series for Fulgham.

Last season I begged the Lions to deploy running backs Kerryon Johnson and Theo Riddick in the backfield at the same time but it didn’t happen. Now this season, don’t be surprised to actually see Ty Johnson replace Riddick in this scenario.

In wide receiver blocking drill vs defensive backs, Amani Oruwariye easily beat Lacy and Andy Jones — who is arguably the best blocking receiver on the roster — but then got steamrolled by Kenny Golladay. The Golladay block would’ve made the highlight reel, but overall Oruwariye had an above-average showing in the drill. He also added an impressive pass breakup to his resume later in practice.

Rookies are still going to make mistakes and on one play we got a two for one. Tight end Isaac Nauta nearly snatched safety Will Harris’ soul in a one-on-one drill with a step-cut that left him in his dust. Despite Harris’ miscalculation and Nauta running free, when the ball arrived the usually sure-handed Nauta showed a lapse in concentration and dropped it.

In an offensive line vs defensive line pass blocking/rushing drill, Kevin Strong embarrassed Luke Bowanko in what has become a regular thing for the UDFA rookie defensive lineman. His combination of first-step quickness and power in his initial pass-rushing move is lethal when they work in unison. This is why he keeps showing up in conversations about the 53-man roster.

Fred Jones got the start at nose tackle with no Damon Harrison or John Atkins practicing yesterday, which could be a reward for registering the teams only sack in Week 1.

PJ Johnson didn’t get the start at nose tackle but arguably made the best play of the day from this position, blowing up a short distance play for what would have been a tackle-for-loss (TFL) and a did cause a fumble.

Jahlani Tavai also got in on the TFL game, registering one in the same set of scenario 11-on-11s.

One final eyebrow-raiser

Despite UDFA rookie linebacker Tre Lamar being waived-injured earlier in the day, he was present for practice with a wrap on his left leg. His presence was a bit unusual — I had never seen it before today — because technically he’s in NFL purgatory while he waits to see if he is claimed off of waivers.

Because of his release-injury designation, if he clears waivers he will revert back to the Lions roster and could be placed on injured reserve, essentially redshirting the season. If his presence at practice is any indication, they may be keeping him around town for just this reason.

As I noted in his release article, this isn’t an unusual move for the Lions to redshirt a player, as they took the same approach last season with then-rookie linebacker Garret Dooley, “allowing him a year to rehab with the team, as well as, being able to learn the Lions’ complex defensive system.”

FYI: no practice today, and probably nothing tomorrow according to what Dave Birkett said. So, Wednesday will likely be the next notes and observations day. At some point the Lions will go black ops on us with no reporters allowed. Dunno when that’ll be though.