TC Notes and Observations, 25 July

From Michael Rothstein, ESPN:

Some thoughts from Day 1 of Lions training camp:

  • Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay appear to be just fine. Both worked out fully Thursday and Golladay in particular looked to be in sharp form during the non-padded workout. Both were with the rehab group all spring.

  • As expected because they were on the NFI list, Darius Slay and Damon Harrison didn’t participate in practice but were in attendance. The only player I did not spot at practice was defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. There’s a chance he might have been there, but I did not see him on the sidelines or on the field for any reps.

  • It looks like Frank Ragnow is going to be the team’s center. After working there in the spring, he started out camp there as well, flanked by Kenny Wiggins and Graham Glasgow at guard.

  • A T.J. Hockenson thought: He is really fluid and catches the ball with ease. He had one particular catch for a touchdown in the end zone where he jumped into the air over defenders and came down with it. In that play he did not look like a rookie at all.

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From Jeremy Reisman, PoD:

It was a slow start to Detroit Lions training camp on Thursday morning, as the team opened up practice for the 2019 season. The team was out of pads, there wasn’t a lot of contact, and for most of the practice, they were at a walk-through or slightly faster pace.

There were obviously some 11-on-11 full drills, but for the most part, it was clear the Lions were going to ease into things to kick off training camp.

Here are my observations from Day 1:


As expected, everyone on the injury list did not participate in Thursday’s practice. That includes:

PUP list:

Tommylee Lewis
Steve Longa
Trey Flowers
NFI list:

Darius Slay
Darius Kilgo
Damon Harrison Sr.

Additionally, Malik Carney was working with trainers for the majority of practice. He ain’t on the NFI or Pup tho

There was one wild card, though. A’Shawn Robinson was not there at practice. Robinson was also a little limited during OTAs and minicamp, not participating in a lot of team drills, but Thursday he was nowhere to be found.

Earlier in the week defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni noted that everyone had reported to camp, so this doesn’t appear to be a holdout, but it’s not clear why Robinson wasn’t out there on Thursday.

First-team offense looks sharp

There weren’t a lot of full-team drills on Thursday, but during goal-line drills Matthew Stafford and the first team receivers looked dominant. Stafford hit Kenny Golladay with a beautiful back-shoulder throw while Rashaan Melvin was in close coverage. A few plays later, he found Marvin Jones Jr. by splitting the zone, leaving the starting defense to do push-ups.

T.J. Hockenson living up to the hype

Much like OTAs and minicamp, Hockenson continues to look like the real deal. He was the source of the first “oohs” and “ahs” with a nice leaping touchdown grab, one of a few he had on the day. We’ll still have to see how he is as an in-line blocker, but as a receiver and route-runner, Hockenson has pretty much looked unblemished thus far in practice.

The same can’t be said for his compatriots in the tight end group. Isaac Nauta had a bad drop. Logan Thomas ran a perfect route and had two steps on Tavon Wilson, but he, too, had a rough drop. Jesse James had a pretty quiet day. All things are trending for Hockenson to be TE1 in Week 1.

Jarrad Davis looking frustrated

While the first-team offense was putting it on the defense, Davis was wearing his emotions on his sleeve. There were a few breakdowns in coverage resulting in open receivers. It’s impossible to tell who exactly is at fault with where we were situated and a lack of replay, but it was clear Davis was not happy with either himself or someone else.

Jahlani Tavai: Starter?

If you though the Lions may take second-round pick Jahlani Tavai slowly, Thursday’s practice would suggest otherwise. He received most of his work with the first team, mainly taking away Christian Jones’ responsibilities.

That being said, the Lions did a lot of shuffling with their linebackers. Both Tavai and Davis split time in the middle. Jones actually played some “JACK” linebacker with the second team, as well as his typical off-ball linebacker role.

Offensive line update

As expected, Frank Ragnow remained at center for Day 1 of training camp with Graham Glasgow at right guard. Kenny Wiggins was your starting left guard, although the Lions rotated Joe Dahl in at center and left guard a little throughout the day. As far as I could tell, Oday Aboushi was strictly with the twos on Thursday.

Tyrell Crosby also got a little bit of time with the first-team as the left tackle. At this point, it’s clear Crosby is their primary backup at the tackle position, while it looks like Dahl may hold that honor along the interior line.

Mandatory Teez Tabor update

With Darius Slay sidelined, it was once again Teez Tabor and Rashaan Melvin manning the outside corner position. While Tabor had a pretty quiet day, he did have one of the better pass breakups on the day.

The play of the day actually came from free agent signing safety Andrew Adams, who stepped in front of a Tom Savage pass for the only interception of the day. Adams actually saw a little playing time with the first-team in three safety sets.

Drill of the Day

I chuckled a little bit when the Lions pulled out a new, quick drill with just about everyone on the team participating. Basically, two players lined up across from one another. They would move toward each other and one would essentially lift the other up almost like a dance move. It was clearly to work on leverage and upward motion while blocking/tackling, but it just looked funny watching 50 200-300 pound players do this in unison. Additionally, Christian Jones put Jarrad Davis on his back during one rep.

Odds and ends:

Here are the players that split reps for punt return duty: Brandon Powell, Danny Amendola, Tom Kennedy, Jamal Agnew and Quandre Diggs
Get ready: Chris Lacy is going to be the annual wide receiver training camp darling. Repping with the twos and threes, he looks a level above his competition.
Mike Ford is repping way down with the third team (behind Amani Oruwariye), but he had a nice breakup while covering Deontez Alexander.
Interesting note after practice: After two hours of padless practice, several players—mainly defensive linemen and linebackers—put on pads and worked on contract drills off to the side. I didn’t see that happen once last year.

From Michael Rothstein, ESPN:

Some thoughts from Day 1 of Lions training camp:

  • Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay appear to be just fine. Both worked out fully Thursday and Golladay in particular looked to be in sharp form during the non-padded workout. Both were with the rehab group all spring.

  • As expected because they were on the NFI list, Darius Slay and Damon Harrison didn’t participate in practice but were in attendance. The only player I did not spot at practice was defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. There’s a chance he might have been there, but I did not see him on the sidelines or on the field for any reps.

  • It looks like Frank Ragnow is going to be the team’s center. After working there in the spring, he started out camp there as well, flanked by Kenny Wiggins and Graham Glasgow at guard.

  • A T.J. Hockenson thought: He is really fluid and catches the ball with ease. He had one particular catch for a touchdown in the end zone where he jumped into the air over defenders and came down with it. In that play he did not look like a rookie at all.

From Mansure Shaheen, PoD:

T.J. Hockenson (TE)
The Lions’ first-round pick showed fans why he was worth a top-10 pick on Day 1. Hockenson made a few spectacular grabs in the corner of the end zone during red zone drills. He showed off his athleticism, strong hands and his ability to win the ball at the point of attack. One day of training camp does not mean too much, obviously, but Hockenson was clearly the player that caught the most eyes on Thursday.

Travis Fulgham (WR)
Detroit’s sixth-round receiver looked great in 7-on-7 drills. He used his big body to make a few impressive catches in the end zone and gave fellow rookie Amani Oruwariye a lot of trouble when they faced off in man coverage. Fulgham showed flashes of the red-zone threat that the Lions hope he can become this season, and managed to stand out in a crowded group of second and third-team receivers.

Andrew Adams (S)
The addition of Adams flew under the radar last March, as it came in the midst of a flurry of big signings made by the Lions. He made his presence known Thursday, though. Adams made the defensive play of the day when he jumped a pass by backup quarterback Tom Savage and nabbed an interception that would have been a pick-six. He also looked great in 7-on-7 drills and held his own when he was forced to play defense in the red zone.

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From O’Hara and Twentyman,

Mr. Everything: Veteran safety Quandre Diggs was the only defensive back in the NFL last year to finish with at least 75 tackles, three interceptions, three tackles for loss and one pick-six. He’s played both safety spots and both inside and outside cornerback during his career. He was a quarterback in high school. During Thursday’s first practice of training camp, he was also among a group of players that included Jamal Agnew, Danny Amendola, Brandon Powell and Tom Kennedy returning punts. Is there anything Diggs can’t do on the football field? – Tim Twentyman

Tavai fitting in: Jahlani Tavai looked at home with the starting linebackers in the offseason workouts, and he was just as comfortable at the start of training camp. The second-round draft pick from Hawaii worked with the No. 1 unit. The way he communicated with teammates between plays showed that he was not out of place. – Mike O’Hara

Playmaking rookie: Rookie first-round pick T.J. Hockenson made a few nice plays in his training camp debut. The team’s No. 1 pick this past April snuck behind the linebackers and caught a touchdown in the back of the end zone in the last rep of a goal line passing drill that forced the defense to do pushups. Later, in 7-on-7’s, he made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone and was able to get both feet in bounds for a touchdown. – Tim Twentyman

Center of attention: Frank Ragnow was at center from the first snap. We can end any speculation of whether the move to center from left guard – where he started all 16 games last season as a rookie – was an offseason experiment. – Mike O’Hara

First five: Speaking of the offensive line, there are a lot of question marks about the starting left guard spot this camp. As expected, the five linemen with the first-team unit Thursday were Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner. We’ll see if things change Friday. – Tim Twentyman

Rookie debut: Fourth-round draft pick Austin Bryant of Clemson did not participate in offseason drills while recovering from an injury, but he looked comfortable doing drills Thursday – including dropping back in coverage. – Mike O’Hara

Sitting trio: The first practice of training camp took place without defensive end Trey Flowers (PUP), cornerback Darius Slay (NFI) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. (NFI) on the field. All three were standing together chatting off to the side at the beginning of practice. It was a lot of defensive firepower in one trio. Those guys are arguably Detroit’s top three defenders. It will be hard to evaluate Detroit’s defense until all three get between the lines. – Tim Twentyman

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From Erik Schlitt, Lionswire:

The day opened with coach Matt Patricia rolling into the morning press conference recovering from leg surgery and announcing that while Damon Harrison and Darius Slay were both at camp, they were also being placed on the Non-Football-Injury (NFI) report. A’Shawn Robinson was the only surprise absence from practice, and at this time it’s unclear why. For more on these storylines, check out our Day 1 Participation report.


The rust is still coming off a lot of the players, as to be expected on Day 1, but Hockenson had arguably the best day among the offensive players.

Erik Schlitt
As the Lions begin O vs D drills, Hockenson beats blanket cover from Tavai and a DB for a toe tapping diving catch in the back of the end zone. Brilliant way to open camp for the 8th overall pick.

Hockenson made two brilliant catches in the red zone, highlighted by the one in the tweet above. He looked sharp on a day where the other tight ends weren’t overly noticeable.

Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones had solid debuts after missing spring ball and Chris Lacy — who was just removed from the PUP list — regaining some of the momentum he garnered in the spring before his injury.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but Ty Johnson is very fast. He ran a quick out into the flat and Stafford sidearmed him a rocket ball, which Johnson caught and walked into the end zone, as no linebacker was within 3-yards of him.

The Lions went right back to where they left off in spring camp with the offensive line rolling with (left to right) Taylor Decker – Kenny Wiggins – Frank Ragnow – Graham Glasgow – Rick Wagner, as their starting five.

At one point in practice, the coaches split the offensive skill players into two groups and the offensive line shifted with them. It was subtle, but also noteworthy, that in addition to the starting five, it was Tyrell Crosby and Joe Dahl that traveled with the first team and the remaining eight players went with the second team.

It’s only day one, but Oday Aboushi traveling with the “B” team instead of the top unit tells me he is behind both Wiggins and Dahl for now.

This was our first time seeing the rookie offensive lineman and they lined up with the third team: Ryan Pope at left tackle, Micah St. Andrews at left guard, Beau Benzschawel at right guard and Matt Nelson at right tackle.


The biggest takeaway from today’s defensive action was linebacker Christian Jones was working out with the JACK linebackers and Tavai was starting at WILL linebacker.

The linebackers moved around a lot today with each of them playing at least two positions, here’s a look at the top linebackers roles:

Jarrad Davis shifted between MIKE, WILL, SAM
Jahlani Tavai between WILL, MIKE, SAM and JACK
Devon Kennard between JACK and WILL
Christian Jones between JACK, SAM and WILL
Jalen Reeves-Maybin between MIKE, WILL, SAM

Avid Lions Wire readers will recognize JACK, MIKE and WILL linebacker designations from Patricia’s multiple defense, but SAM isn’t a role we saw last year because the Lions never put four linebackers on the field.

Get used to this change.

Today we saw frequent formation switches between 43 and 34 base sets in red zone defense and it’s now very clear they have the flexibility to deploy four linebackers on the field at the same time.

These switches were sometimes executed by quick personnel swaps, or just realigning the existing personnel. Having players, like Da’Shawn Hand who can switch between, down defensive end, the 5-technique and nose tackle all within three plays allows the linebackers to move around him and fill gaps.

Another notable formation shift the Lions defense ran today was to drop Tracy Walker into the box. He operated at the linebacker level both on the outside covering the slot and in the middle, similar to a money linebacker role.

When I asked Walker if he was able to use his length as an asset at that level, he responded, “Definitely, I feel like my size in itself allows me to cover receivers better and allows me to be more physical and be stronger at the point of attack.”

Other secondary players that stood out today were, Andrew Adams who intercepted an errant pass from Tom Savage, as well as Teez Tabor, Mike Ford and Andre Chachere who each had terrific leaping pass breakups. Tabor is continuing where he left off in the spring.

Special teams

The punt return competition today featured Jamal Agnew, Amendola, Brandon Powell, Tom Kennedy and Quandre Diggs. When Tommylee Lewis is removed from the PUP list, he is expected to be in the competition battle as well. He spent time observing, taking pointers from Amendola and mimicking receiving punts in drills today.

The gunner roles featured six players prominently: Ford, Chachere, Charles Washington, Andy Jones, Dee Virgin and C.J. Moore. Washington, Ford and Jones were the primary gunners last season.


What happens after practice is becoming just as entertaining as what happens during practice because this team is willing to put in extra work.

After the conclusion of today’s practice, equipment managers dragged out pads — players did not use them during practice — and the linebackers and defensive linemen put them on to do extra drill work on their own time.

Wide receivers and running backs worked on the jug machine, and Amendola literally caught a one-hand ball and then walked over to fulfill his time with the media all in one fluid motion. The hard-worker moniker that follows Amendola around is legitimate.

There was lots of family time as well, but there were so many players staying behind to put in the extra work, it was impossible to keep track of them all.

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From Justin Rogers, Det News:

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

  • History and logic tells us there will be bumps in the road during T.J. Hockenson’s rookie season. Simply put, the tight end position is one of the most difficult to pick up quickly. But Detroit’s first-round draft pick got off on the right foot the first full practice of camp, coming up with a pair of catches in the end zone during red zone drills.

  • The first was a needle threaded between two defenders, including fellow rookie Jahlani Tavai. Hockenson’s route took him to the back corner of the end zone and he showed excellent concentration, seeing the ball into his hands while keeping his feet in bounds, despite heavy traffic near the boundary.

  • Later in practice, Hockenson made a leaping grab on a ball to his back shoulder over safety Will Harris. The tight end did a nice job rotating his body in the air, securing the ball to his chest and maintaining possession as he went down on his back.

  • Beyond the players designated with non-football injuries or physically unable to perform, two others were notably absent from participating during the practice. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson wasn’t spotted on the field during the morning session, while rookie linebacker Malik Carney spent the day working on the side.

  • Also working on the side, running sprints, was wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, suggesting he’s closing in on a return to action.

  • The pacing of Thursday’s practice was a slow build. The team was carefully eased into a return to action after their summer break and the first padded practices right around the corner.

  • Danny Amendola is now wearing No. 80, which he previously donned in Miami and New England. He had been sporting No. 12 prior to tight end Michael Roberts’ release.

  • Amendola was one of five players working on punt return. Joining him were Jamal Agnew, Brandon Powell, Tom Kennedy and Quandre Diggs.

  • Andrew Adams snagged a gimme interception in full-team work. The Tom Savage pass was intended for Brandon Powell, running a post, but was put directly into the defensive back’s chest.

  • Adams was similarly opportunistic playing for the Bucs last season. Despite being on the field for just 35 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, he came away with four interceptions.

  • Cornerback Teez Tabor earned a nice PBU with strong positioning in zone coverage, leaping up to bat away a deep throw into the end zone intended for Kenny Golladay.

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From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – The more time goes by, the more I realize just how bad things were during Matt Patricia’s first training camp in Detroit.

Yes, practices were more grueling. I still remember watching joint practices end with the Raiders and Giants, and while opposing players were streaming for the locker rooms and taking pictures with friends and family and whatnot, Detroit was still running wind sprints.

But it was more than that. It was all the new rules. It was the last-second schedule changes. It was Patricia’s chronic lateness. It was calling out of players for things like social media posts. Players were annoyed, and there’s no doubt there was a whole lot of bad chemistry heading into the season. I’ve heard multiple players say they knew they might be in trouble.

People in this building are convinced that bad juju played a role in Detroit’s sluggish start to the season, including the 31-point embarrassment on opening night. And that set the tone for a long season in which Patricia struggled to win over the locker room.

With that said, I’ve long believed the biggest key to this season is Patricia’s ability to learn from his own mistakes and bring this team together.

So far, so good.

Players I’ve talked to in recent weeks say they’ve seen a different Patricia in Year 2. He’s still hard-charging, of course, and that will never change. He’s going to run a tough program, because that’s how he believes tough teams are made. Fair enough. It’s worked in New England, after all, and whatever these players have done in Detroit has not.

But it’s all the other stuff too. The administrative stuff. The schedules. Patricia’s temperament in meetings and with players. By all accounts, he seems to have learned from some of his rookie mistakes and made adjustments. It’s still super early, so we’ll see what happens once the grind sets in, but right now things are running far more smoothly.

“We did extensive evaluations on all aspects of (what we did last year),” Patricia said before Day 1 of practice. "Training camp was definitely one of those. I don’t know if there will be anything major from a standpoint that you’ll notice. A lot of little things – maybe order of meetings, a different change in some of the daily routine. As far as the on-field stuff, and the structure, nothing really major for us from that end of it.

"You’d like to do something twice before you start to change to see if you can improve it first. We’ll always identify and evaluate, and the good thing about it is the breaks we have in between – the player days off – if we want to switch and go in different directions, it’s easy to plan and change at that point.”

On how he expects players to respond mentally and physically to the second year of training camp: “It’s part of the philosophy, I might have mentioned this last year or not and it’s probably the same from everybody, you take training camp and you back everything up into the spring now and we tried to do that last year. I think going through it once they see how it fits together from the spring to training camp, from the mental part of it and how it relates and how it transfers over from the things that we did in the schedule we had during the spring. From that end of it to, I think it’s good for them because now they have more familiarity with the mental part of what is going to be expected and to be learned in the amount of time and the progression of how and why we put it together that way. I think they have a better snapshot of that, players and coaches in general.”

The biggest change so far in camp is the hill that has been built on the north side of the practice fields. There is a sign that says it’s not ready for use and players did not touch it Thursday, but you have to figure there is a wind sprint or two in the cards for players. Which, again, fits into Patricia’s belief that tough days in July and August help make tough teams and prevent injury.

And if you’re wondering where Patricia might have gotten this idea, well, yes, New England built a similar hill at its training facility in recent years.

“It could (help with) anything from rehabilitation issues, conditioning, improving lower-body strength, lengthening run strides, protecting different muscle groups, and we use it in different capacities," Patricia said. “Depending on the day, it might be used in different facets. It’s just another piece of equipment for us to go out there and improve from a physical standpoint.”

Here are some more observations from Day 1:

– Listen, tight end is tough on rookies. It might be the toughest position to learn other than quarterback. You have to learn to be a receiver on some downs, and an offensive lineman on others. You have to learn how to line up in line, and split out, and in the backfield. And that’s why you so rarely see tight ends break out in Year 1. But T.J. Hockenson is no ordinary tight end either. He’s considered one of the best and most-polished prospects at the position in years, and after taking him eight overall – higher than anyone’s taken a tight end since 2006 – you can bet the Lions are counting on him to contribute immediately.

The good news is, he looks like a guy capable of it. We haven’t seen what he can do in the blocking game because practices are still no-contact, but Hockenson moves so well in the passing game. He looks like he knows how to find the soft spot in a defense. And most impressively to me, he really knows how to extend for the catch away from his body. There was one play Thursday where he split a double team and high-pointed the football for a touchdown along the sideline. That’s a tough play, and he kind of make it look easy. He made another impressive play later in practice when he spun through the air to catch a back-shoulder pass over rookie safety Will Harris, then hung onto the ball as he crashed to the ground. Again, don’t put the guy in the Hall of Fame just yet. But so far, so good with one of the most important players in camp.

– There weren’t a whole lot of flashy plays, to be honest with you, as Detroit eased out of the six-week break. But safety Andrew Adams did pick off an errant Tom Savage pass, at least the second time he’s done that this offseason. His signing didn’t draw much fanfare in Detroit, but he did pick off four passes in Tampa last season. That was just three off Detroit’s entire team total.

– Darius Slay and Snacks Harrison did not practice after being placed on the non-football injury list shortly before the workout, along with Darius Kilgo. Don’t expect the absences to last for long, though. I suspect this is just a conditioning thing, making sure those defensive stars are ready to go after spending the entire offseason away from the team. Slay and Harrison are total pros, and I don’t expect either to be out of shape. They should be back in a couple days or so.

– Among players on the active roster, only defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson and linebacker Malik Carney did not practice.

– Teez Tabor came up with yet another nice play in what has been a resurgent offseason for the third-year cornerback, leaping to break up a pass intended for Kenny Golladay. Golladay had a nice practice too, including snagging a beautiful touchdown catch to the back shoulder. But on this play, Tabor did a nice job sticking in zone coverage and then broke quickly on the ball.

– Your starting offensive line was as expected: Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner. Wiggins has to be considered the favorite for that final starting spot right now, although that’s far from settled. Joe Dahl could get a look too, now that he’s beefed up. Oday Aboushi is also in the running.

– Your punt returner candidates, based on the guys shagging balls on Thursday: Jamal Agnew, Quandre Diggs, Brandon Powell, Danny Amendola and Tom Kennedy. (Amendola did put one ball on the ground.)

– Kennedy, a former pro lacrosse player, is kind of a fun story. He’s fast as hell too. But I just continue to question whether he’s good enough to have any shot whatsoever of making this team. He’s put a lot of balls on the ground this offseason, and did it twice more on Tuesday.

– Amendola is now No. 80 in your program, by the way. He wore that number in previous stints with Miami and New England, but switched to No. 12 when he arrived in Detroit because 80 was already occupied by Michael Roberts. Now with Roberts out, Amendola has it back.

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From Birkett, Det FreeP:

It’s been well documented that the Detroit Lions went through a difficult transition last summer in Matt Patricia’s first season as head coach.

They spent long days and had grueling practices at training camp, and the toll of August was evident when they slogged their way through a 48-17 loss to the New York Jets to open the regular season.

Naturally, one of the major story lines this summer – the one that will have the most impact on the season, I believe – is how camp will be different in Year 2 under Matt Patricia.

Well, one practice into training camp, I’m here to tell you … we don’t know.

The Lions held their first practice of the summer Thursday and it was largely what you’d expect from a training-camp opener. It was fast-paced. It was well-organized. There was very little wasted time. But it wasn’t very physical.

The current collective bargaining agreement requires teams to give their players a few days to acclimatize before donning pads, so Thursday’s practice was essentially an extension of what we saw in minicamp.

Patricia spent the day monitoring practice from a cart as he recovers from offseason foot surgery – some players joked that he was driving like Marshawn Lynch – but he was asked Thursday morning what changes he has in store for camp this year.

He said there will be some tweaks to the schedule that players notice but “I don’t know if there will be anything major from a standpoint that you’ll notice.”

“A lot of little things,” he said. “Maybe order of meetings, a different change in some of the daily routine. As far as the on-field stuff and the structure, nothing really major for us from that end of it. Again, you’d like to do something twice before you start to change to see if you can improve it first.”

Improvement is necessary after last year’s disastrous season, but two players I asked said that doesn’t necessarily mean change is.

Linebacker Jarrad Davis said it’s incumbent upon players to adjust to the demands of camp, not for Patricia to pull back. And fellow linebacker Christian Jones echoed that sentiment, saying Patricia “came from a winning culture and he’s doing all he can to bring that culture here.”

“I feel like a lot of guys know what to expect based off last year and we put a lot of work in, in the offseason making sure that our bodies are conditioned and ready to go and there’s not going to be any excuse for us to come out and have a hard day of practice and not be able to show up during the season,” Davis said. “So it’s just something that we know that comes with the territory and the more work you put in, the higher you can reach, so hopefully we can come out and do what we need to do.”
Thursday’s daily observations from training camp is on the light side because of the nature of practice, but there was still plenty to watch at camp:

• Maybe the most important (telling? unexpected?) thing I saw at camp Thursday was rookie second-round pick Jahlani Tavai working with the first-team defense in place of Jones.

The Lions were high enough on Tavai that they took him well ahead of where most teams expected him to go in the draft, and they talked extensively this spring about how he was a size and scheme fit for the defense. Well, on Thursday, he played all over the linebacking corps, allowing Jarrad Davis to move outside at times and Devon Kennard to line up from a stack position.

The starting job is probably still Jones’ to lose; he started all 16 games and made 69 unheralded tackles last season. But the fact the Lions have four linebackers they seem to trust now is a good thing.

• T.J. Hockenson, the Lions’ first-round pick, said he’d talk to reporters Friday, but he made a couple nice catches in his first NFL training-camp practice. On one play in particular, Hockenson extended high in the air to reach a goal-line pass that Matthew Stafford threw only where he could get it. The Lions will get plenty of mileage out of their tight ends this fall, especially in the red zone.

• It was the usual suspects in the usual places on the offensive line Thursday, with Kenny Wiggins taking first-team reps at left guard (and Frank Ragnow and Graham Glasgow at center and right guard, respectively). The first version of the second-team offensive line I charted Thursday had Tyler Crosby playing left tackle, Joe Dahl playing left guard, Luke Bowanko at center, Oday Aboushi at right guard and Andrew Donnal at right tackle.

• Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay were back working with the first-team offense Thursday after spending the spring working with the rehab group. Jones and Golladay made back-to-back catches in one seven-on-seven red-zone drill, with Golladay making a nice adjustment on a ball thrown behind his body and Jones showing quick hands to snag a bullet from Matthew Stafford. Both players should see plenty of targets this fall, even if the tight ends play a more prominent role on offense.

• Danny Amendola is this team’s slot receiver, but it was interesting to see Brandon Powell get first-team reps in a four-receiver set. Powell is one of a handful of players competing for the No. 4 and 5 receiver spots, along with Andy Jones, Jermaine Kearse and rookie Travis Fulgham. When the Lions went to a special-teams period in the second half of practice, every receiver was involved in some aspect of special teams (coverage or fielding punts) except Jones, Golladay and Kearse.

• Amendola, by the way, was the first player to hit the JUGS machine after practice to catch extra balls.

• One final wide receiver note: Tom Kennedy is a long shot to break camp with the team after playing professional lacrosse. He’s a good athlete – you can see the quick-twitch ability he has when he returns punts – but he has to show better hands after dropping too many passes this spring and at least one on Thursday.

• Teez Tabor took first-team reps at left cornerback with Darius Slay opening camp on the non-football injury list. Tabor, in a make-or-break year, swatted away one pass to Golladay about midway through practice.

• Safety Andrew Adams picked off a poorly thrown ball by Tom Savage in a seven-on-seven drill Thursday. Adams had four picks last season, including three in one game, and could help a Lions team that struggled to force turnovers last season.

• One other player who stood out Thursday: Running back Ty Johnson. He showed good vision cutting outside to beat Jamal Agnew to the edge in a goal-line drill. It’s tough to make any firm judgments on running backs before pads come on, but I liked what I saw from him in spring, too.

• Another running back I’ll be keeping tabs on this camp, or fullback, actually, is Nick Bawden. The seventh-round pick last year is returning from a torn ACL. He spent part of individual period with the fullbacks and I imagine is competing for Isaac Nauta for a roster spot. The Lions can keep four tight ends or a fullback, but maybe not both as that player will play a similar role on special teams and in a H-back role.

• Two final notes to end it: Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson was not at practice Thursday for undisclosed reasons, and there was no sign of owner Martha Firestone Ford, either.

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Still not enamored with our OL. Wondering if these guys may be better suited to play in Bevell’s offense? I honestly don’t get why people are trusting them so much, as poorly as they performed last year.

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