TC Notes and Observations - 21 Aug

Bo Scarbrough isn’t practicing.

Neither is D’Andre Swift, at least not yet. I’m okay with that, they need these guys on the field next month and should do what they gotta do to make that happen. Picking up Jonathan Williams was a pretty good decision.

Lions announce no fans at home games until November. Wonder if will change their policy on televising home games.

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If the NFL doesn’t lift blackout restrictions this year, it will be the stupidest decision in the history of the league, and that includes giving Daniel Snyder a team.


Benjamin Raven, MLive:

Logan Stenberg handling most of second team center reps. Going to be a rough learning curve, as it looks right now. Trouble with snap, trouble recovering to actually block.

Jonah Jackson working with 1s, as he has all week.

Also, to fire up the hype train since it’s camp, Okudah looked to make his first pick, had a rough view of play but stuck with Marvin down right sideline, rolled to the ground with the ball. Was later seen conversing with Marv on sideline while second and thirds got some work

(Ben’s words, not mine, you guys don’t need to be fired up)

Good day for the Okwaras. Romeo has looked strong all week. Jamie Collins had a pick. Not much Tavai action.

Okudah sticks to Marvin and Golladay. Had a couple of nice plays against 11, but Marv still cooked him a couple of times.

More of the same from Hockenson today

Justin Rogers:

No Swift today. Suffered an upper leg injury yesterday. Team likely playing it safe. Marvin Hall left today’s practice with an injury.

Michael Rothstein:

Marvin Hall also left practice early. Not sure what he hurt but he walked slowly back to the locker room with a staffer.

Jeff Okudah had his best day of practice so far — intercepting a deep Matthew Stafford pass to Marvin Jones. It was, I believe, Stafford’s first interception of camp. He also worked with the first team with Desmond Trufant not working in team drills…

Benjamin Raven:

Defense looked much better. Four straight stops with a pick, two PBUs and fumble recovery had the offense running a lap. Harris and Coleman has tips, Julian O with fumble recovery.

Participation report from Friday:

  • D’Andre Swift - OUT
  • Bo Scarbrough - OUT
  • Victor Bolden - Sidelined
  • Nick Bawden - Sidelined
  • Matt Nelson - Sidelined
  • Isaac Nauta - Sidelined
  • Beau Benzschawel - No team drills
  • Desmond Trufant - No team drills
  • Marvin Hall - Left early

Eric Schlitt:

Cephus can play on the outside, and the LBs are moving a lot … my guess is Collins plays 80+ percent of snaps

Kerryon Johnson split 1st team reps with Ty Johnson, Kerryon looked like fine, Ty showed improvement

Jeremy Reisman:

With Bawden and Nauta not doing much, Jason Cabinda was exclusively with the offense again as FB.

Me: I’m kinda warming up tot he idea of Cabinda in there at FB. If he can do well on ST then he’s got a good shot at making the 53 roster. He might be about to tae Bawden’s place and Hunter Bryant might be about to take Nauta’s if he can learn to block somebody.

Cabinda absolutely clobbered a linebacker up the middle on a 3rd-and-1 situation. Not sure which LB it was but heard the collision from 60 yards away. LOL, not sure he wants to go back to the LB room after that.

On a Michael Rothstein podcast:

Matthew Stafford said Jeff Okudah’s interception was on a free play with the defense offsides.

He also pointed out an Okudah pass breakup on Golladay that seemed to impress him.

(Okudah pick was on Stafford, who was quick to note during his Zoom session it was on a free play. Defense jumped, he tossed it up)

Still a pretty good play from Okudah though. Stafford to Golladay ain’t no slouch to defend against.

They have to. How can you not broadcast a game because of low ticket sales when no tickets were sold?


Good day on D: After what I thought was a rather poor day for the defense overall Thursday, that side of the ball was much better during Friday’s padded practice in Allen Park. The defensive line was good in pass-rush drills against the offensive line, and many more balls hit the ground or landed in defenders’ hands on Friday than they have probably all week.

There was a particularly good sequence late in an offense vs. defense team period. Safety Will Harris knocked a Matthew Stafford pass away from tight end T.J. Hockenson. On the next play cornerback Justin Coleman got his hand on a Stafford pass. The next play Jamie Collins Sr. came up with an interception.

The second-team offense came in after that, and their first play was a bad high snap from Logan Stenberg that led to a mishandled attempted handoff by Chase Daniel, resulting a fumble recovered by Romeo Okwara. The entire second-team offense had to run after that one. Overall, it was a much better day for the defense Friday.

Okudah INT: Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah came up with his first interception of camp on a deep ball intended for Marvin Jones Jr. It was a free-play situation after an interior defender jumped early, prompting Stafford to take a deep shot to Jones, but still, Okudah was on Jones’ hip down the sideline and showed good ball skills by going up and making a nice play for the pick.

Impressive week: There have been a number of good performances throughout the first week of padded practices for the Lions, but two guys have stood out to me. Hockenson really looks good early. Third-year safety Tracy Walker has also stood out, especially when it comes to his range and cover skills. The Lions are going to rely pretty heavily on both young players, so it’s nice to see them off to a good start.

Family affair: The Okwara brothers, veteran Romeo and rookie Julian, made a number of plays Friday for the Lions’ defense. I thought both were good in individual pass-rush drills against the offensive linemen with both winning reps convincingly. Both players would have had a sack in team periods had they been live and allowed to hit the quarterback. Romeo also recovered a fumble. There were some team periods where they were both on the field together, which had to be pretty special for the brothers.

Safety range: Duron Harmon has proven over the years to be a rangy, playmaking safety, which is one of the reasons the Lions traded for him this offseason. Harmon has 10 interceptions over his last three years playing in roughly 60 percent of the snaps as the Patriots’ third safety. Harmon showed off that range in Friday’s practice, coming over from the deep middle of the field and breaking up a deep pass intended for Marvin Hall down the left sideline in a team period. He’s going to make a difference for the Lions’ defense in the pass game.

Pass-rush drills: I focused more Friday on the defense in D-line vs. O-line pass-rush drills, and a few defenders stood out to me. First was veteran defensive tackle Danny Shelton, who was particularly impressive with his technique and rush. He won both his reps against Frank Ragnow and Joe Dahl. Da’Shawn Hand was good, especially in his rep against right guard Jonah Jackson. I thought Romeo Okwara was particularly sharp as well.

Punt returners: The Lions worked on some punting Friday and had Jamal Agnew, Danny Amendola and rookie Jason Huntley back returning punts. Agnew and Amendola, as expected, were smooth catching and returning. It was more of a struggle for Huntley, however, who played more kick return than punt return at New Mexico State. In fact, Huntley returned 59 kickoffs in college vs. only five punts. He dropped two of the four kicked his way Friday.

Practice report: The two biggest names missing from practice Friday were running backs Bo Scarbrough and D’Andre Swift. That gave more opportunity to the newly acquired Jonathan Williams, who’s been making the most of his reps this week. He’s looked good.

Hmm. It’s only one day, right? But it does nothing to instill confidence in the coaches to put you in there, does it?

Chris Burke


Was just about to mention him. Shelton ate on Friday. He consistently dominated up front, including two really impressive wins in 1-on-1s: beat Ragnow, then Jackson. John Penisini was strong today, too. Fun to watch him and Logan Stenberg battle.

After Thursday when the O looked good, I’m guessing some of the D guys got a little upset and kinda upped the ante a little bit. You can’t take a day off in this league fellas, especially when that day is Sunday. And I’m talking to the O as much as the D.

Good to hear Shelton got some back on Ragnow, and we’re going to need Penisini a little bit too unless they go out and sign another vet DT. Nothing about Sapapolu(?) sounds like no help coming from there. Kevin Strong is back though, maybe we’ll hear something about him next wee.

Chris Burke:

  1. Offense wasn’t quite as sharp. Couple picks from Stafford – one, by Okudah, that Stafford said was a free play; Oruwariye jumped a Golladay comeback route on the other. Still some big plays in there.

  2. As mentioned, Danny Shelton had an extremely productive day. Two clear wins in 1-on-1s, vs. Ragnow and then Dahl (I typed Jackson the first time, for some reason).

John Penisini was disruptive throughout, too. Good battles with Penisini and Logan Stenberg.

  1. Duron Harmon has been running with Will Harris at safety, then Tracy Walker with Jayron Kearse (and others). Lions still mixing and matching a lot, but that’s … interesting. Walker pretty clearly looks – and has been playing – like a starter on this depth chart.

  2. Julian Okwara found another gear today. There wasn’t an OT who could contain him, in 1-on-1s or 11-on-11. He beat Crosby twice during the former, then blew past Vaitai in the latter. His burst is legit – no surprise, but fun to see it.

  3. Jonathan Williams is making a case to stick around, especially with Bo Scarbrough missing multiple days now. He’s been physical and just gets downhill with the ball in his hands.

From Jeremy Reisman:



It was another solid day from third-string quarterback David Blough. During 11-on-11s, Blough laid a perfect ball to Chris Lacy with the kind of deep ball touch that is necessary in this offense. While I don’t think there is any legitimate competition for the backup job with Chase Daniel, Blough is making a solid case for a third roster spot being devoted to the quarterback.

Running backs

With D’Andre Swift and Bo Scarbrough out, it was mostly Kerryon Johnson and Ty Johnson repping with the first time.

While Kerryon looked fine, it was Ty Johnson who stood out most on Friday. He was absolutely dominant during one-on-one receiving drills against the linebackers, burning Jarrad Davis in back-to-back reps.

Jason Huntley was having himself a day, too, but a lot of that was overshadowed by the end of practice. Huntley was one of three players taking punt return reps (Danny Amendola, Jamal Agnew). I saw him back there for three returns. He muffed two of the punts and failed to catch up with a shortened punt on the third.

Huntley could still be a huge, speedy weapon on offense—he had one of the prettiest plays of the day on a wheel route—but it was a rough day for him on special teams.

Wide receivers

Didn’t focus a ton on receivers on Friday, but among the reserves, Chris Lacy stood out the most. Don’t be surprised to see the team bring in some extra help in the upcoming days, though. With Victor Bolden out of practice and Marvin Hall leaving early due to an injury, the Lions have just seven healthy receivers.

Tight ends

Another big day from T.J. Hockenson, who was probably among my five biggest standouts from Friday’s practice. Hockenson vs. Tracy Walker has become must-see practice reps, and Hockenson had the upper hand today. He also made some easy-looking catches during 11-on-11 drills, as it doesn’t seem like anyone can consistently cover him in camp.

Not much from Jesse James today, but Hunter Bryant had another couple solid catches with the third-team offense.

Offensive line

No changes in the first-team offensive line, as rookie Jonah Jackson continues to hold down the right guard spot:

First team: (from left to right): Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl, Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Only a minor change on the second team, as Oday Aboushi and Kenny Wiggins swapped the left and right positions.

Second team: Tyrell Crosby, Kenny Wiggins, Logan Stenberg, Oday Aboushi, Dan Skipper

“So some of the rotation actually flipped from the right side to the left side, and that was good because we do have to cross-train the guards on both of those positions,” head coach Matt Patricia said before practice.

Logan Stenberg continues to really struggle at the center position, especially with snaps. One snap during team drills was too high that by the time the quarterback corralled the ball, the timing of the play was completely off and the handoff to Ty Johnson was botched, resulting in a lost fumble.

Elsewhere, Taylor Decker remains a complete rock at left tackle. I don’t think I’ve seen him lose a single one-on-one rep this camp.

As a unit, the offensive line dominated the defense’s NASCAR (third-down pass rushing) unit. However…


Defensive line

Today was the day the Lions’ interior defenders showed up big during one-on-one pass rushing drills. The biggest surprise of the day came from nose tackle Danny Shelton, who finally broke Frank Ragnow’s perfect camp with a surprisingly twitchy pass rush move. He followed it up on the very next rep by doing the same to Joe Dahl.

Da’Shawn Hand physically dominated Dahl on a rep of his own, while both Julian and Romeo Okwara notched a couple sacks both during individual and team play.


As mentioned before, Davis struggled again in coverage against running backs, while Jamie Collins Sr. and Jalen Reeves-Maybin made it clear they are still the best two cover linebackers.

Today was a very light day for Jahlani Tavai. In fact, in the two days I’ve been to camp, I haven’t seen Tavai take many team reps. He appears to be mostly replacing Collins with the second team when on the field, but in full 11-on-11 drills, I don’t believe he took a single rep on Friday.


With Desmond Trufant out of team drills, rookie Jeff Okudah spent all of Friday with the first time defense. He started the day struggling a tad, and even showing a bit of frustration when Marvin Jones Jr. beat him on an in-route. However, he finished the day incredibly strong. Late in practice, he became the first cornerback to pick off Matthew Stafford… although there is a bit of an asterisk to it.

“The pick was on a free play,” Stafford said after practice. “I’m glad he made the pick, but that was a 5-yard offsides on the defense.”

Still, Okudah was all over Jones on the play, and displayed some of the ball skills that made him such a highly-touted prospect.

On the next full offensive series, the Lions secondary dominated the offense. First, Will Harris (I know, a safety) had a pass breakup on Hockenson. Then Justin Coleman followed it up with a pass breakup of his own. Finally, Amani Oruwariye capped the series with an interception.

Overall, I would say this was an impressive day from the corners, even with Trufant out.


Despite losing his tight battle with Hockenson today, Tracy Walker remains solid and comfortable out there. However, the defensive play of the day came from his cohort Duron Harmon. As the free safety, Harmon came halfway across the field to break up a bomb to Marvin Hall, colliding with the Lions receiver at the perfect time to tally the pass breakup.

Special teams

If I had to pick a punter with the early edge at camp, I’d go with Jack Fox. He put a pair of tightly-spiraled punts that nearly landed directly on the sideline, causing little-to-no return. He was also the first to rep as the field goal holder. Arryn Siposs isn’t far behind, though.

Additionally, special teams remains fairly sloppy right now—and I heard from beat writers it was even more sloppy yesterday. We saw false starts, muffed returns, and one punter was even knocked down on a live rep.

This is somewhat to be expected with no offseason to get acclimated to these roles with a new special teams coordinator. If these problems still exist in a couple weeks, then you can start to worry.

𝗟𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗴

Replying to


Who has been the biggest surprise so far from the first four days of training camp?

Chris Burke


Penisini and Frank Herron both were really good today. Seems like Jalen Elliott’s been around the ball a decent amount. Cabinda (on both sides of the ball).

From Eric Schlitt,


Overall the offense had a nice day, but there was a stretch of four consecutive plays that were so bad, coach Matt Patricia stopped practice and forced them to run a lap while everyone watched and waited for them to finish.

One-on-one drills typically favor the offensive skill players and today was no different.

Running back

Ty Johnson and Jason Huntley dominated the RB vs LB coverage drills, which should be surprising, but it was the beginning of what would be a big day for Johnson.

With no Swift or Scarbrough available, Ty Johnson got a lot of looks with the starting lineup and looked terrific. In my 53-man roster projection, I had the Lions keeping five running backs for exactly this situation. If one or two of them get banged up — which most have a history of doing — keeping Ty Johnson will give the Lions the luxury of still being able to rotate backs.

Huntley looks quick as can be, but he is so late in the running back rotations it’s hard to get a real grasp on what he can do as a runner. He did execute a wheel route to perfection that was basically uncoverable — which, if I were Darrell Bevell, should be a designed play for him in the future.

With Scarbrough out, Jonathan Williams is making the most of his opportunity to see reps and this may be turning into an unexpected running back battle for the power role.

One more note here, with Bawden and Nauta not participating, Jason Cabinda was once again the Lions primary fullback — and he’s good enough at it, it left us in the media stands wondering if this might be a permanent switch.

Tight ends

T.J. Hockenson also looked very strong today, regardless of the situation. In one-on-ones, he matched up and won battles against Tracy Walker and Jayron Kearse. He is so smooth and difficult to deal with, he makes it look easy.

When Jesse James faced off against Walker, the safety easily won the battle sitting in his hip pocket through the route. On the next rep, James squared off with Will Harris and used his veteran savvy to bait Harris’ overaggressiveness, stopping mid-route and letting the sophomore safety run right past him.

Hunter Bryant made an impressive diving catch to end the drills. With Nauta on the sidelines, Bryant is showing he has the chops as a pass-catcher. In 11-on-11’s Bryant saw time at outside receiver with the third team, which surely is helping his stock.

There is a definite hierarchy among the tight ends. Hockenson can be dominant against most everybody, with Walker giving him the most push back. James will struggle with the Walkers of the NFL but should be able to handle the players on Harris’ level. After that there are questions. When will Nauta return healthy? Can Bryant’s passing-game skills be enough to earn a spot?

Wide receivers

Jamal Agnew’s transition to the offensive side of the ball looks surprisingly smooth. He is taking second-team slot reps and is apt at creating separation. He still has work to do, but I feel more confident about his inclusion in my 53-man roster projection.

Nothing is set in stone, and there were a lot of moving parts, but for the most part today, this is how the receiver depth chart shook out:

WR-X Slot-Y WR-Z
Marvin Jones Danny Amendola Kenny Golladay
Quintez Cephus Jamal Agnew Marvin Hall
Chris Lacy Tom Kennedy Hunter Bryant

Offensive line

The big question coming into today was would Jonah Jackson continue to start at right guard and the answer was a strong yes.

From left to right, here’s how the first two offensive lines took reps on Friday:

Taylor Decker Joe Dahl Frank Ragnow Jonah Jackson Hal Vaitai
Tyrell Crosby Kenny Wiggins Logan Stenberg Oday Aboushi Dan Skipper

What’s most interesting here is, Wiggins and Aboushi have been alternating guard positions at practices but not taking getting reps with the starters while Jackson and Dahl have remained fixed. This points to there being two clear starters and two competing for reserve roles, rather than Wiggins or Aboushi actually challenging to start.

Additionally, if Benzschawel was healthy, I’m not sure Stenberg would be taking reps at center on the second team. He is a talented enough player that the Lions are looking for ways to get him on the field but he is also likely behind Wiggins and Aboushi on the depth chart at guard. He looks like a developmental player rather than a challenger at this time.

One final note. Taylor Decker has looked sensational in both one-on-ones and 11-on-11’s. Technique, anchor, strength, he has been a stone wall at left tackle and I didn’t see him get beat today.


The defense appeared to be testing out some different looks today and while NFL rules prevent the media from divulging the formations, we saw a lot of the traditional roles expanded.

Despite the new wrinkles, the base defense remained the same. The starters are the players we all expected but things get complicated when you look at the two-deep. Depending on what the Lions are looking to accomplish on any given play, we could see a variety of players landing as several different spots.

Defensive line

The two deep in the base formation is pretty standard and expected:

Nick Williams Danny Shelton Trey Flowers
Da’Shawn Hand John Penisini Romeo Okwara

Watching Shelton and Penisini at the nose tackle is night and day from what I saw last year. Now, this is only one day and I was told they weren’t as dominant on previous days, but they wrecked people today.

In one-on-ones with Ragnow, Shelton was so quick out of his stance that before Ragnow could get out, Shelton was over the top of him, pushing him down and swimming past the stud center with ease — I haven’t seen Ragnow get beat like that in the 3 years I’ve been credentialed at training camp. On the next rep, Shelton took Dahl to task. Absolutely dominant day from Shelton.

Romeo Okwara quietly had a great day, registering three would-be sacks and recovering a fumble. He’s going to be a significant part of the rotation upfront.


I’ve been anticipating the Lions linebackers to be positionally fluid all offseason and they didn’t disappoint today.

Jamie Collins played everywhere, blitzing and dropping from each, Christian Jones saw a lot of snaps at JACK, Jahlani Tavai got time at WILL, while Jarrad Davis remained mostly at the MIKE but did a few things differently.

We saw more of Julain Okwara at JACK today and his burst is undeniable. He is still working on different elements of his game but his ability to fire off the edge is NFL ready.


With Trufant getting what appeared to be a veteran’s rest day, Jeff Okudah was inserted into the starting lineup opposite Amani Oruwariye — both had interceptions.

On a “free play” — the 3-technique jumped offsides — Matthew Stafford sent Marvin Jones Jr. on a 9-route, loaded up, and fired the ball his way. Okudah confidently stayed in his hip pocket at every step and when the ball arrived he high pointed it for the interception.

After the play, Okudah and Jones spent some time talking off to the side. When they were done, Okudah pulled Trufant aside and talked with him. There is no downtime for this rookie.

This was Stafford’s first interception thrown all camp and his second came a not long after.

A first and 10 play ended with Will Harris getting a pass breakup on pass intended for Hockenson. Second down ended on a pass breakup by Justin Coleman. Then on the 3rd and 10 play, Kenny Golladay ran a curl route at the sticks and Oruwariye turned his tight coverage into a pick when he undercut the route.

These were Stafford’s only two interceptions through the first four days of camp.


Will Harris was given an opportunity to run with the starters at the JOKER spot today over Tracy Walker. This looked more like positional cross-training day rather than a permanent move, as Walker was getting second-team reps at single-high behind Duron Harmon, with Jayron Kearse filling in at JOKER on the second team.

Special teams

The punting battle looks for real and with only limited reps — on the field far from the media — it’s hard to declare a leader at this stage. The only difference appeared to be Jack Fox having more power.

At gunner, Tony McRae and Dee Virgin were the primary players right out of the gate. The second unit was Jayron Kearse — not his usual spot — and Jamal Agnew — who was also pulling double duty and returning kicks –, with the third rotation being Darryl Roberts and Bobby Price. They mixed up pairings from there, working in others like Mike Ford.

On the punt return team, three players dropped back to field kicks — Agnew, Jason Huntly, and Danny Amendola. Agnew and Amendola looked like the veteran returners that they are, while Huntley dropped his first one, the second hit the ground, and then he dropped the third. Not a great start for the rookie, but he doesn’t have experience in this area — he is a terrific kick returner — so this is not overly surprising. It was nice to see both Agnew and Amendola take the time to pull Huntley aside and give him pointers.

If there is a theme for this team right now, it’s that you can noticeably see the veterans taking extra time to help out the younger players. With a shortened training camp, this could go a long way to early success.

From Benjamin Raven, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – Detroit’s defense looked like a new group one day removed from getting picked apart by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Danny Shelton, Julian Okwara, Da’Shawn Hand, Romeo Okwara, Duron Harmon, Jamie Collins and even Jeff Okudah stood out during Friday’s practice.

Shelton enacted some revenge on center Frank Ragnow during drills, showing terrifying quickness for a human that size. There’s no overselling this, either, Shelton hit another level on Friday and kept it up through the end of practice.

Hand flashed the versatility that still has many thinking big for the defensive lineman heading into Year 3. He lined up in the middle a couple of times across from Ragnow and got a decent push against one of the game’s brightest interior talents.

John Penisini had some extra eyes on him with fellow rookie Jashon Cornell headed to injured reserve with an Achilles injury. The rookie out of Utah held his own in two very entertaining reps against Logan Stenberg during line drills. Penisini won the first clash with ease showing some mighty mitts while Stenberg stood firm on the second try.

While I’m sure this sounds fantastic after hearing of Cornell’s injury, the real impressive defensive work came late during team drills. The ball hit the ground only once, maybe twice with Stafford throwing on Thursday. He shredded the defense at every level, with just about every route imaginable. It was a different story on Friday, with the defense dominating four consecutive reps to the point the second-team offense took a full lap after one snap.

With Stafford under center, the defense forced two incompletions with sweet jumps from cornerback Justin Coleman and safety Will Harris. The first came from Harris, who happened to stick with T.J. Hockenson on a deep shot and smacked the ball away at its high-point while making contact. For someone who has continued to get torched by tight ends, this was definitely a good look. He started practice by getting cooked by Jesse James, who faked a move inside before flattening it out, effectively leaving Harris in his very distant dust.

Coleman was able to jump a quick slant route for what looked to be Marvin Hall. He stepped in front of the route and made a clean breakup to set the tone for team drills. Collins intercepted Stafford’s third pass of the drill, bringing out Chase Daniel and some of the reserves. Things took a darker turn for the offense as some subs ran on the field. Stenberg, who has continued to receive reps at center, struggled with his first snap to Daniel. The veteran quarterback then botched the handoff, which rookie
Julian Okwara pounced on to cover the fumble. This was when the offense was instructed to take a lap.

Stenberg had what looked to be another wobbly snap, as Romeo Okwara burst through for what would have been a sack in fully-live action. The elder Okwara nearly had another sack during this period, showing some consistent push off the edge. Not a bad session for the Okwaras.
Last but certainly not least is Okudah’s strongest practice through these first four sessions. He worked with the first-team more as Desmond Trufant made way near the end of Friday’s extended session. He registered his first interception of camp on a deep shot from Stafford to Marvin Jones. But, the veteran quarterback claimed this was a free play thanks to the defense jumping offside.

Stafford offered props to Okudah, and for a good reason. The rookie finally stuck on Jones’ hip down the right sideline and made the interception while rolling to the ground. He was shaken up on the play, but shrugged it off and returned to practice after further consultation with the veteran receiver.

“The pick was on a free play so I’m glad he made the pick but it was a 5-yard offsides on the defense, so I threw it up – but I’m glad he made the play,” Stafford said via Zoom. “That’s good for our team that he’s making plays down the field. That’s just an on the defense, so I threw it up – but I’m glad he made the play,” Stafford said via Zoom. "That’s good for our team that he’s making plays down the field. That’s just an example of his ball skills. If we get a free one, I’m putting one up to Marv. If the DB goes up makes it, at least we don’t get a big play. It was a really nice play by him – he undercut another ball today and made a pass breakup on Kenny on an in route that was really impressive too.

“He’s done some nice stuff. I’m happy for him and then he’s talking to Marv, he’s talking to Kenny and he’s talking to me. He’s trying to figure out what he can do better and he’s a sponge. He’s trying to learn and understands that this game is different than the game he was playing six months ago in college. He’s a smart kid, athletic, got a bunch of skills, and we’re going do everything we can to speed them along and get him up to speed as quick as possible.”

Here are some more observations from the fourth day of padded practice:

– My goodness the special teams sure look rough right now. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. There hasn’t been much time to work on the kickoff, punt or field goal units through four practices, but I would expect to see some more in the coming days.

There were about six attempts late in practice for the punt squad with one of our first looks at potential punt returners. The defense ran into punter Jack Fox on the first attempt, as about 10 guys fell into a pile of bodies. Rookie Jason Huntley brutally muffed the second try, dropped another, and failed to run under one punt. Jamal Agnew and Danny Amendola were the other two returners for this drill and were able to field the ball cleanly when the punters were able to get it out.

– As for the punter battle? Friday’s exercise created more questions than answers. Fox and Arryn Siposs booted balls on the side for most of the practice. The two split reps during the punt return drill and later shared duties holding for kicker Matt Prater. For whatever it’s worth, every miss of Prater’s this week has come with Siposs holding.

“I think they both have extremely outstanding leg talent. Jack was here with us last year, and we saw his ability, the ball just explodes off his foot just when he drives into it,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "Certainly with Siposs, a guy that’s a little bit older even though he’s just coming out of college, very calm, another really strong leg, very consistent. I think for both of those guys, they’re doing a great job. They’re competing.

Certainly, as we go through camp we re going to have to turn up the pressure a little bit just on some of the different looks they’re going to see and get them a feel for what that rush looks like when it’s coming at them and see how they perform under pressure. Certainly, try to do it in the safest manner possible – it’s always a little bit interesting when you’re trying to do that with the punt and the punt protection, but we have to see that the best we can without the preseason games to see how that goes."

– Jahlani Tavai hasn’t done much this week. He was spotted standing on the sidelines during team drills, and it looks like the Lions could be limiting his reps after having his rookie season cut short by a shoulder injury. He’s moved between positions more when on the field, though.

– After trying to spot Duron Harmon early on, he burst into my vision with one physical pass breakup. Harmon spotted receiver Marvin Hall crossing the field, and covered a ton of ground before making a clean collision to send the ball flying. That was one of the most exciting plays of the day, and I’ll officially never lose sight of Harmon again. He looked like a rocket shooting across the field, and that’s exactly what Detroit needs on the back of its defense.

– It wasn’t all bad for the offense. T.J. Hockenson continues to look 100%, and then some. In early safety vs. linebacker one-on-drills, Jayron Kearse showed off his physicality by fighting a pass out of James’ hands to start things. When Hockenson stepped in to face the 6-foot-4, 220-pound safety, the second-year tight end used an impressive release and then was able to seal and keep Kearse behind him to make the catch.

Hockenson cast doubt on his ankle earlier this week, then came out looking like a different player after the team’s off day. I wanted to keep an eye on him a little more since the Lions are amid four straight practices, and he didn’t miss a step. He continues to focus on staying fresh when not involved in the drill, keeping his feet moving while catching passes from a staffer.

– Jonah Jackson continues to work with the first-team at right guard, lining up with Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl, Frank Ragnow and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. He looks like he belongs with the starters, especially when looking at the other guard options through the first week.

– The Lions reportedly worked out five defensive linemen in the aftermath of the season-ending Achilles injury to rookie Jashon Cornell. The Lions welcomed defensive tackles Josiah Coatney, T.Y. McGill, Walter Palmore, Elijah Qualls and defensive end Kevin Wilkins.

– Rookie running back D’Andre Swift was missing from practice today. It was a light day out of the backfield with Bo Scarbrough missing his third-straight practice. This opened the door for Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills, Jonathan Williams and Huntley to get extra work. Fullback Nick Bawden was limited again, which meant linebacker Jason Cabinda stepped into his spot for the second straight practice.

Hall was injured during Friday’s practice and didn’t return. Fellow receiver Victor Bolden was spotted on the sideline riding a bike while the team was warming up. Second-year tight end Isaac Nauta was also sidelined, while Beau Benzschawel was limited but back out there. Former Michigan State tight end Matt Sokol was still sporting the red no-contact jersey.