TC Notes and Observations, 27 July

Mike Daniels was signed yesterday, not in Camp yet or at least not on the field. And Theo Riddick was released, saving some cap space. FYI - they’re in pads today. These are comment from writers who are there, not me. (I’m in Texas):

  • Kenny Wiggins starting at LG. Glasgow at RG. Crosby at RT. First time I’ve seen Crosby on the right.

  • Now Wagner back in at RT. Crosby at LT.

  • No sign of Kerryon Johnson early at practice this AM. Romeo Okwara here but not practicing. Only person returning from yesterday’s injury list is Marcus Cooper. Still no A’Shawn.

  • WRs out catching balls. Andy Jones NOT Tom Kennedy the first to put one on the ground.

  • And then, Tom Kennedy with a drop to start the day, third day in a row.

  • With Romeo Okwara out, were seeing some Mitchell Loewen.

  • David Fales misses Kenny Golladay covered by air. And by a lot. Throws his helmet, seemingly frustrated.

  • A few guys not participating, or that I haven’t seen, at Lions practice today: Kerryon Johnson, Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Romeo Okwara and A’Shawn Robinson.
    No Mike Daniels yet, either.

  • P.J. Johnson at nose for 2nd team group, John Atkins for 3rd. Mark Thompson fumble.

  • Kevin Strong jumps offsides, runs a lap after jumping offsides.

  • Real nice coverage by Andrew Adam’s to break up a pass.

  • Anthony Adams with a pass breakup, continues to get his hands on footballs in camp.

  • A little more than an hour into today’s practice now, still haven’t spotted Kerryon. Zenner working in with the No. 1 offense.

  • Jamal Agnew. Still fast. Also catching the ball better on punts.

  • Brandon Powell lost the ball in the sun on a punt return. Tom Kennedy let’s one bounce to him, hes quick.

  • Jesse James almost came up with a brilliant contested catch over Jarrad Davis who was in tight coverage.

  • Jamal Agnew jumped an underneath pass to Danny Amendola in what would have been a pick six.

  • Nick Bawden is a lot of things, but fast isnt one. Took a short pass and went all the way to the end zone, took him about seven minutes, lol.

  • Sam Martin getting about a second longer hang time than Ryan Santoso on punts.

  • Ryan Santoso with a pretty nice punt, whiff by Quandre Diggs on the return got Matt Patricia heated.

  • Sam Martin with a nearly 70 yard punt.

  • Nice special teams play by Andy Jones jumping on a punt to pin it deep.

  • Charles Washington bobbled a punt, not sure if he was gunning at the time but if he was it was a good play.

  • #70 Loewen just gave Kenny Wiggins the business and put him on the ground

  • Run blocking pretty good so far. Particularly Ragnow, Glasgow, Bawden.

  • Pass a little too tall for Logan Thomas, Tracy Walker even higher but couldn’t get it.

  • Tom Savage with a tight spiral to the front corner of the end zone. Has a nice arm.

  • Chris Lacy with a nice catch in the end zone…only for Will Harris to knock it out.

  • A lot of running drills today, so less TE action.

  • Added: Joe Dahl had one of the best blocks of the day when he pulled and picked up a LB

  • Ty Johnson is playing the role as the 4th RB behind Kerryon, Anderson, Zenner. Almost always run behind a fb

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From Jeremy Reisman, PoD:

The Detroit Lions opened up practice a little bit on Saturday. Instead of a heavy focus on red zone drills, the Lions utilized the entire field on offense and defense. Perhaps more notably, the team donned full pads for the first time in training camp.

That being said, it wasn’t quite as wild of a day as Friday, and it was their shortest practice of the week.

Here are my Day 3 camp observations:

No Kerryon Johnson

The only two players who were completely unaccounted for were A’Shawn Robinson—who was excused because of a personal matter—and Kerryon Johnson. Johnson spoke with the media after practice on Friday and didn’t appear to leave with any sort of injury, so his absence remains a mystery at this point.

As for the injured players, here’s a list of guys who sat out Saturday’s practice: Jonathan Wynn, Darius Kilgo, Darius Slay, Damon Harrison Sr., Christian Jones, Malik Carney, Devon Kennard, Marcus Cooper, and Romeo Okwara. Okwara is the only new name on the list, as the rest of the players either left Friday’s practice early or have missed time prior to Saturday.

Despite the Lions making the signing official, Mike Daniels was not suited up.

Run-heavy day

It’s a little ironic that the Lions went heavy on the running game on Saturday with their lead back sidelined, but we could get a better sense of how the running backs and offensive line performed with the pads on.

The Lions ran a goal-line drill with four straight runs. From where we were standing, it looked like the Lions scored on all four reps, with the first two runs going right behind Graham Glasgow at right guard. Glasgow had a very solid day from front to back.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the first-team offensive line was going against the likes of John Atkins, Mitchell Loewen and P.J. Johnson. With Robinson, Harrison, Okwara and Mike Daniels not in the lineup, the imbalance in talent was obvious. [ LOL, Good Point! ]

Offensive line back to “normal”

After shaking things up on Friday, the Lions were backed to what seems like their most likely starting front: Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner.

Team 2 was as follows (from left to right): Tyrell Crosby, Joe Dahl, Luke Bowanko, Oday Aboushi, and Andrew Donnal

Third team: Ryan Pope, Micah St. Andrew, Leo Koloamatangi, Beau Benzschawel and Matt Nelson

One small note on Tyrell Crosby: For the first time all camp I saw him take a first-team rep as the right tackle. This was only during very early drills and didn’t last long, but worth noting.

Teez Tabor’s weaknesses emerge

For the first time all camp, the Lions did some one-on-one wide receiver vs. cornerback drills. The very first rep was Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Teez Tabor. We have seen Tabor thrive in red zone drills, but on the first play, Jones beat Tabor cleanly deep for an easy 40-yard bomb.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that his very next rep was another deep route against Andy Jones in which Tabor stayed with him stride-for-stride and the ball fell harmlessly incomplete.

Tabor would only get those two reps, so it’s hard to ding him too hard for one bad play, but it does caution a bit of the hype surrounding him over the past couple months.

Drill of the day

A new drill to camp was a tackling and fumble recovery drill. Players would tackle an inflatable dummy all the way to the ground, then scramble from their knees to locate a ball bounced around. The goal was clear: When you make a tackle, always be looking for the ball.

One interesting note on the drill is that nearly the entire team was working on it at once. The only players not involved were the quarterbacks, the offensive line, the special teamers and Detroit’s top three receivers, who were catching passes from the quarterbacks.

Odds and ends

Pretty cool moment during a hand-placement drill. The whistle blew to transition to the next drill, but Tavon Wilson grabbed rookie safety C.J. Moore to do one more rep with him and teach him the correct form. After the extra rep, Wilson gave Moore a little tap on the helmet. You always love to see veteran players pass down wisdom to the youngsters.

The Lions offensive line handled the defense all day, but during a pass rushing/blitzing/stunt drill, rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai stood out. On one rep, he slid smoothly inside and had a nice bend to create pressure up the middle. On the very next rep, he displayed his power, blowing Crosby (at left tackle) several yards back for another pressure.

Players I credited with at least one pass breakup: Andrew Adams (vs. Marvin Jones), Rashaan Melvin (vs. Jermaine Kearse), Mike Ford.

Players I credited with at least one drop: Andy Jones, Chris Lacy.

Best defensive play of the day came from Jamal Agnew, who had a perfect interception. Not certain, but I believe it was on Danny Amendola, who has embarrassed a lot of DBs this camp.

With so many defensive linemen out, Mitchell Loewen stood out as a positive along the defensive line. He would’ve had an easy sack on a play-action rollout play, and probably would have had another on an 11-on-11 play in which the quarterback couldn’t find anyone open.

Training camp continues on Sunday with another open practice at 9:30 a.m. ET. I would urge as many Lions fans to come out as possible, because—if I’m being honest—attendance has been pretty pathetic through three days. Come, say hi to the POD staff, eat a Wahlburger and overreact to every single rep with us.

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Gonna be a big deal if Martin and Agnew return to form - win battle of field position with our D and ST should happen most weeks.
Looks great on paper, right now.


From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – Theo Riddick wasn’t the only running back to miss practice.

The Detroit Lions were also without top back Kerryon Johnson on Saturday, leaving the club shorthanded in the backfield for their first padded practice of the year. Riddick was cut shortly before the workout to make room for the addition of Mike Daniels.

Those guys have taken the first two reps in most running back drills this year. Without them, C.J. Anderson operated as the top back during practice. Zach Zenner, Ty Johnson, Mark Thompson and fullback Nick Bawden rounded out the rotation.

T.J. Hockenson shines in early days of Lions camp

The rookie tight end has been almost unguardable in the red zone.

Lions coach Matt Patricia speaks with reporters before practice, so the reason for Johnson’s absence remains unclear. But Johnson did say earlier this week he is 100 percent healthy after missing the final six games of last season with a knee injury.

“Look, I’m healthy, that’s all (Matt Patricia) needs to know,” Johnson said after practice on Friday. "He’s going to give me the ball as many times as I can take. He’s going to be smart about it. But I’m a running back. They pay me to run the ball. I love to run the ball. I play football to run the ball. So that’s what I do.”

Johnson was sensational as a rookie, averaging 5.4 yards per carry for the year – second most in the league – but still got banged up despite a modest workload of 118 carries. So while the Lions have rebuilt their offense to feature Johnson more prominently, they also don’t plan to overwork the back and risk re-injury. That’s a delicate balance the Lions are trying to walk, between giving a good back as many carries as possible, while also keeping him as healthy as possible for the stretch run.

“Kerryon is real insightful, he’s a really smart guy and truthful, so it’s a great statement by him,” Patricia said. "He took that to heart, and he went to work in the offseason and really made improvements with his body. He’s smart from that aspect of it and he trained hard. You think about it from the rookie season to your second season, it’s really the first spring he’s been able to do that. Coming out of college or doing combine work or draft trips or visits, your schedule is interrupted (by) the entire process through finally getting into an NFL team.

"For him, just to really have that stability of a normal schedule, being able to go out and work every single day to improve and get better, he did a great job of that. We will see as we transfer into football. I told the guys this morning, one of the biggest things for me, it’s great as we go through the spring and come off the summer break, but I talk about conditioning and getting into shape and how to be stronger in that avenue. It’s something when you put the pads on and you throw the helmet on, and put that shoulder pads on, the straps going to constrict how far your rib cage can expand when you’re trying to breathe, and you’ve got different weight on your legs. Football shape is an entirely different thing, and we have to do it. The only way to do it is to get the equipment on, go out there and practice with repetition to get our bodies used to that.

"There’s a portion of your body that goes through getting used to being hit. It’s no different than boxers that spar and go in the ring and a guy is throwing a medicine ball into his stomach a thousand times, he’s got to get used to getting hit. Our players go through the same process. They have to get used to getting hit, so that they know how their body is going to react when it happens in a game. You think you may have great ball-security and then you get into the game and you get popped really hard and all of a sudden you forget about the ball-security or the ball-control and now you’re not as productive as you should be because you haven’t practiced it properly. Those things are really important for us from that standpoint.”

Defensive end Romeo Okwara also was sidelined as the Lions strapped on pads for the first time this year, while defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, cornerback Marcus Cooper, defensive end Jonathan Wynn and linebackers Devon Kennard, Christian Jones and Malik Carney all continued to miss practice. Robinson has been excused from the team for personal reasons and is due back soon. Jones left Friday’s practice with an apparent leg injury.

Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive tackles Snacks Harrison and Darius Kilgo remain on the non-football injury list, while defensive end Trey Flowers, receiver Tommylee Lewis and linebacker Steve Longa are on the physically unable to perform list. None of those players has appeared in camp.

Cornerback Marcus Cooper was back on Saturday after missing the previous day’s practice.

Here are more observations from Day 3 of practice:

– One of the treats of the pads going on is seeing some of the first meaningful one-on-one battles of camp, especially in the trenches. On Saturday, it was a one-sided affair that heavily favored the offensive line. The starters all won their reps easily, with Taylor Decker (Mitchell Loewen), Kenny Wiggins (Ray Smith), Frank Ragnow (John Atkins), Graham Glasgow (Da’Shawn Hand) and Rick Wagner (Austin Bryant) all prevailing. Glasgow was especially impressive, driving Hand into the ground. Of course, the defensive line was without big names like Trey Flowers, Snacks Harrison, Romeo Okwara and the recently acquired Mike Daniels. Hand was the only defensive regular from last season to participate in the drill, so you would expect the offensive line to take care of business. But give the unit credit for doing just that.

– The second-team offensive line was nearly as good, with left guard Joe Dahl (over Kevin Strong), center Luke Bowanko (over P.J. Johnson) and right tackle Andrew Donnal (over Bryant) all winning their reps. Left tackle Tyrell Crosby was overtaken by a Loewen bull rush, though, while Hand took out right guard Oday Aboushi.

– The third-team offensive line, for those scoring at home, from left to right: Ryan Pope, Micah St. Andrew, Leo Koloamatangi, Beau Benzschawel and Matt Nelson.

– Receivers and cornerbacks also participated in their first true one-on-ones of training camp. Marvin Jones led things off for the offense, while Teez Tabor went first for the defense. (Over Rashaan Melvin, which maybe is noteworthy? Or maybe not?) Jones got the best of Tabor, beating the cornerback on a fly route for an easy touchdown. Tabor has been so good this offseason, but he has to figure out how to overcome his foot speed downfield to have any real shot at winning a full-time job. The good news is Tabor had a much better second rep, running step-for-step with Andy Jones down the right sideline and using the boundary effectively to force an incompletion. He also had another nice rep while matched up with Kenny Golladay in team drills, forcing an incompletion on third down. This is the third straight day I’ve seen Tabor make a nice play to prevent Golladay from catching the football.

– Golladay did beat Rashaan Melvin on a timing route on his only one-on-one rep, and later Marvin Jones got Melvin again by twisting him around like a pretzel. Danny Amendola caught an easy pass on a crosser over the middle. Among the defenders, Jamal Agnew and Tavon Wilson had some of the best reps I saw, and Mike Ford had a good rep against Deontez Alexander, forcing an incompletion.

– Agnew also had an interception during team work.

– With Kerryon Johnson out and Theo Riddick gone, C.J. Anderson was the No. 1 back. But man is there still a lot to like about Zach Zenner. He said after practice he’s bigger than ever, weighing between 220 and 225 pounds, but he moves well too. That includes exciting the (modest) crowd by scooting untouched through the second level during team drills. Anderson might wind up winning the No. 2 job, but I’m not ready to give it to him either. Zenner did a lot of good work down the stretch last year, and still looks like he can be an effective runner, especially between the tackles.

– I don’t know exactly how the Lions will replace Riddick’s role in the passing game, but it was interesting to see receiver Brandon Powell touch the ball a lot more, including in the backfield, in the practice after Riddick’s exit. (Team rules prevent me from disclosing anything more specific about plays and formations.)

– After producing just 14 takeaways last year, the Lions have worked a lot on generating turnovers. On Saturday, they unveiled a new drill where players had to take a bag to the ground, then a coach would bounce a ball that had to be recovered. Almost everyone had to participate as well, offense and defense. The only players I recall not doing the drill were the quarterbacks, top three receivers and specialists.

– Matt Patricia, who is recovering from leg surgery, has ditched his golf cart for a new set of wheels at practice. He was using an ATV during Saturday’s workout, and the ride seemed to suit him a lot better (and not just because it was painted all black). The ATV is smaller and handles corners better, which is nice for navigating a football field with more than 100 people on it. It’s much smaller too. Patricia was able to drive the vehicle closer to the action, and at one point even huddled players around it for at talk during red-zone drills. He was also able to stand up a lot more, resting his left leg on the seat. In fact, Patricia – who is as intense as any coach I’ve ever seen during practice – stood up for much of the workout, especially when he was with the defense. The ATV just seemed like a much better fit that allowed Patricia to be more active during practice, and I suspect we’ll see a lot more of it going forward.

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From Eric Schlitt, LionsWire:

The Detroit Lions completed the third day of their 2019 training camp, putting pads on for the first time this fall. Pads mean contact and contact means we get to see our first look at the running game. Unfortunately, we get this first look on a day in which starting running back Kerryon Johnson was not participating and the team just released Theo Riddick to make room for Mike Daniels.

Running game

What we saw was a lot of basic zone reads options. This is a terrific run scheme for Johnson’s style and today was a day he would have likely shined. Instead, we saw C.J. Anderson be decisive, Zach Zenner repeatedly hit the backside A-gap for success and Ty Johnson use his speed to get outside.

Most of the running game was happening on the field farthest from the media tower, but it looked like the biggest winner of the day was Zenner. It was a double victory for him today, as his chances to make the 53-man roster increased significantly with Riddick no longer with the team. Ty Johnson’s path also got a lot easier, as he is the player most likely to step into Riddick’s role.

Offensive line return to normal
After shaking up the guard positions on Day 2, the Lions returned to their original starting five offensive lineman today. It will be interesting to see if the rotation at the guards spot continues through camp, but at some point, coaches need to settle on a starting group and work towards building chemistry.

When left guard Kenny Wiggins was asked about the rotating, he responded, “We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football and all of us have great depth, and that’s a great thing to have.” He went on to say the competition is “up in the air right now”, but called the unit’s chemistry “awesome” and wrapped up his interview by saying, “when you play next to your brothers, it’s fun.”

Wiggins looked solid today but it’s worth noting that when the Lions were running in a goal line set, they ran the ball right behind right guard Graham Glasgow and went 2/2 in doing so.


There was a lot of technique teaching today. Players often break up into position groups for individual attention, but today they broke down even further separating into very specific small groups, sometimes consisting of as few as four players.

For example, coaches grouped together Tracy Walker, Tavon Wilson, Will Harris and C.J. Moore. What do they have in common? They are the primary players competing for a slot safety role(s). When the Lions deploy three safety sets, it’s likely that two players from this group will be on the field at the same time. In those formations, one of these safeties will have to cover the offensive player lined up in the slot, so today’s teaching focus was on different techniques on how to jam the receiver at the line of scrimmage.

Walker was easily the smoothest at this drill, as he can use his length to make an impact at the line. Wilson looked a bit stiffer in the hips, but he was clearly the most experienced and was giving pointers to the younger players. He specifically spent some extra time with Moore and when Moore executed the drill perfectly at the end, Wilson gave him an excited pad on the head and Moore did a proud fist pump.

When the drills expanded to offensive skill players vs defensive backs, it was very notable that it was Teez Tabor taking the first rep of the drills, facing off against Marvin Jones. Jones got the better of him on a 9-route — no surprise, he also beat Rashaan Melvin in the same fashion — but Tabor bounced back in the second round and easily beat Andy Jones.

Tabor still has flaws in his game, but he continues to show intelligence on the field, often properly breaking on the ball and making plays, but it also says something that coaches are putting him at the front of the pack and squaring off against the Lions top receivers.

A few other notes on defensive players:

Jahlani Tavai showed violent hands today with the pads on, something I expect to continue.

Mitchell Loewen is very much a sleeper for this roster. His quickness caught Tyrell Crosby off guard in a one-on-one drill and he threw him around pretty easily.

Kevin Strong has been repping with the nose tackles because of injuries at the position, but he showed why I think he has 3/5-technique potential with a brilliant swim move that left Micah St. Andrew in the dust. Strong has legit practice squad potential.

While I was watching the OL vs DL one-on-ones, apparently Jamal Agnew had a terrific interception that I unfortunately missed. Look for it in the team released practice video later on tonight because I was told it was arguably the play of the day.

Da’Shawn Hand continues to surprise

I have studied Hand more than most and despite all my hard work, he continues to surprise me with his range. In an offensive line vs defensive line drill, Hand got three reps, here’s how they went down:

Hand stood up as JACK linebacker, outside of the left tackle. At the snap, he dipped behind the down defensive lineman and attacked the guard. At, 295-pounds his momentum overwhelmed the guard and Hand relocated him right to where the quarterback would have been standing.

On the next rep, Hand stood up at JACK again, this time he dropped into the flat and covered the running back. This was way too easy for a player his size.

The final rep saw him put his hand back in the dirt, lining up at the 3-technique. His quickness at the snap allowed him to get under Oday Aboushi and with one arm extended he overpowered him collapsing the pocket. He kept his off arm free and if it was a live situation, he would have been able to use it to grab the ball carrier.

Special teams

The Lions continue to make special teams a big part of their early practices and the big standouts today were punter Sam Martin and gunner Charles Washington.

Martin is absolutely destroying the ball this year. His hang time was noticeably improved and he looks sharp with his placement. Sorry, Ryan Santoso fans, Martin isn’t showing any cracks in his armor.

One of the last special teams drills of the day was a punting drill where gunners were asked to run down the field and down the ball before it reached the end zone. Washington looked strong on these plays showing why he made the 53-man roster last year.


At the conclusion of padded practices players typically have a cool-down period where they shed their extra equipment and do stretches. The first player to get up and begin post-practice individual drills was Tavai. He made his way over to the bags to work on tackling technique where he was quickly joined by fellow rookie Austin Bryant as the two of tried to maximize their time.

When the jug machine was pulled out, the first one in line was once again Danny Amendola. Right behind him: T.J. Hockenson.

Keeping with the rookie theme, PJ Johnson found the defensive line coach for extra work, while all four undrafted rookie offensive linemen were off in the corner working on hand placement.

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From Dave Birkett, DetFreeP:

Matt Patricia has a new ride.

Patricia, who revealed earlier this week that he had offseason surgery on his lower left leg to correct a tendon, bone and muscle issue, spent the first two days of Detroit Lions training camp tooling around the team’s Allen Park practice fields on a cart.

Patricia did the best he could with the vehicle, circling the perimeter of the field during individual drills and staying 20-plus yards back of some team drills.

But the vehicle never quite seemed right.

He drove it sometimes while sitting on the passenger-side seat, his left leg extended on the bench. Often, he’d stand up in the vehicle to better communicate with his players and offer coaching tips.

On Saturday, at the Lions’ first padded practice of training camp, Patricia unveiled a much cooler ride, a shiny new black ATV complete with a bright blue Lions logo on the console that he drove all around the field.

I don’t necessarily think Patricia was going for “cool” with the vehicle swap. The ATV is much more practical from a size and maneuverability standpoint, though he still had to stay far away from drills for safety reasons.

But as my colleague Carlos Monarrez said, the new vehicle looks like something Batman would drive, and not the wonky old Batmobile from the 1970s, either. The Christian Bale-approved Tumbler.

The old vehicle? That was more suited for a gardener than a football coach, and for the duration of training camp it should go back in the shed.

As mentioned, Saturday marked the Lions’ first padded practice of the summer and there was plenty to observe. The Lions did more full-field work Saturday after focusing on the red zone Thursday and Friday, and Patricia said one area of focus was “trying to decipher the difference between the run and pass plays” on defense and offensively “trying to make the play-action plays look like the run.”

• The first thing to note is how many players sat out practice Saturday for injury or other reasons. Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, Romeo Okwara, Marcus Cooper and Malik Carney all worked out with trainers in the rehab group; Darius Slay, Damon Harrison, Trey Flowers, Tommylee Lewis, Darius Kilgo and Steve Longa remain on the non-football injury or physically unable to perform lists; A’Shawn Robinson remains away from the team tending to personal matters; Kerryon Johnson was not at practice for undisclosed reasons; and new addition Mike Daniels was not yet in town.

• With so many players out, especially in the defensive front seven, that meant extra reps for players like Mitchell Loewen, Eric Lee and John Atkins. Loewen, in particular, was one guy who caught my eye with his hustle a time or two.

The Lions seem overstocked on the defensive line, which is a good thing. Big guys are hard to come by, so you can never have too many. But there’s a backup job or two up for grabs, and days like Saturday can go a long way towards determining who makes the roster.

• Given the caliber of defensive lineman on the sideline Sunday, it’s no surprise that the Lions’ offensive line dominated one-on-one pass-rush drills. In my evaluations of the period, I gave the edge to every first-team offensive lineman – Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner – and most of the second-team ones as well. Glasgow got his big right paw up to knock Da’Shawn Hand off balance in the most anticipated rep of the period, and Oday Aboushi had a draw in his matchup with Hand on the second-team.

Loewen did knock Tyrell Crosby back in his second rep, but I don’t think he got to the makeshift quarterback in time for a sack. Lee also had a nice rep against the third-team tackle he faced, though I wasn’t quick enough to write down the number of the blocker he went against.

• I mentioned Charles Washington in Friday’s observations, but he’s worth bringing up again here. He’s just a solid special-teams player and has a knack for downing punts near the goal line, which he did again Saturday.

• There wasn’t much tackling to the ground Saturday, but Patricia did wheel his ATV up to talk to players before the Lions ran four goal-line plays from the 1- or 2-yard line. After his talk, C.J. Anderson and Zach Zenner stuffed runs into the end zone for touchdowns for the first-team offense, with Zenner having a pretty clear path to the end zone. Mark Thompson scored on the first rep when the second-team units took the field, and I couldn’t tell what happened on the fourth play.

Thompson is a huge running back, listed at 6 feet 1 and 240 pounds, and appeared to get in the end zone from my vantage point 120-plus yards away on sheer size. It looked like Thompson would be stopped when a lineman – I think Joe Dahl – didn’t finish his block, but Thompson wasn’t to be denied.

• I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I coach my daughter’s basketball team in the winter, so when I watch practices I’m always looking for drills that are designed to mimic game situations just to get ideas for my team. Well, the Lions did one turnover drill Saturday that I thought was pretty clever, and if I was a football coach I’d use it in my practice.

Basically, the Lions put players in six lines along the sideline and had them run about 10 yards and hit a pop-up tackling dummy. As they went to the ground for a tackle, a coach rolled a ball in their general direction that they had to immediately locate, spring to their feet and recover.

The Lions weren’t very good at creating turnovers last season, but that was a game-type situation that I could see paying dividends this fall. Hit the ball carrier, ball comes loose and find it before someone else does.

• One final note for the day, about the Lions’ passing game and pass defense. Matthew Stafford opened one team drill with a rope to Marvin Jones that would have gone for a big gain, but threw incomplete on his two other passes in the period. Rashaan Melvin appeared to break up a pass to Jermaine Kearse over the middle and Stafford threw behind Kenny Golladay on third down.

Brandon Powell caught a couple short passes with the second-team offense and is clearly in the mix for a job.

Powell’s got some electricity to him in the open field, which few other Lions receivers can match. Through three days, I’d say Kearse, Powell and Andy Jones (for his special-teams ability) have been the most impressive in their bid for the No. 4 and 5 receiver jobs.

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From Chris Burke, TheAthleticDet:

  1. Surprise star of the day? DE Mitchell Loewen, who saw extra reps with Okwara out and absolutely tossed an offensive lineman on several occasions. Had a great rep in 1-on-1s bull rushing Crosby. Physically, he’s a good fit for this defense.

  2. Beyond the 3 locks at WR (Golladay, M. Jones, Amendola), still waiting for someone to break from the back - and that includes Kearse. Guys like Andy Jones, Lacy and Powell all have had impressive moments … and an occasional rough drop. Should be a fun competition.

  3. Best run of the day came from Zach Zenner, off a Crosby-Dahl-Bowanko left side of the line. Crosby’s going to be on the roster. I still think Dahl will too. And I’m starting to buy on Bowanko a little more, although it might depend on if Detroit wants a true backup center. With Kerryon out, it was Zenner who picked up the most touches.

  4. Matt Patricia really talked up Jalen Reeves-Maybin around this time last year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts doing so again. It’s noticeable how Reeves-Maybin keeps bulking up, and he’s still solid in coverage. Popped Zenner on a run play up the middle.

  5. Jamal Agnew has been playing well on defense. Had a pick of Stafford on a short, inside route today and held his own during 1-on-1s, even lined up outside for a late rep. Still think it’s possible we see Agnew jump into the slot with Coleman outside on occasion.

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From Twentyman and O’Hara,

Different look: It was the first padded practice of camp, and the Lions got into more middle-of-the-field action Saturday after a working a lot in the red zone the first two days of camp. There was a lot of individual work, as well as fundamental work with the coaches and some group periods with offense vs. defense drills working run and pass keys. The offense was working a lot of play-action. – Tim Twentyman

Coach mobility: Head coach Matt Patricia has traded modes of transportation to patrol the practice field while he heals from a lower left leg injury. Patricia was operating in a four-wheel ATV Saturday in place of the less mobile utility flat-bed vehicle he piloted the first two days. – Mike O’Hara

Have a day: Marvin Jones Jr. had a terrific day. It started in one-on-one drills against the cornerbacks. In the first rep of the drill he blazed by Teez Tabor for a long touchdown. He caught another ball on a deep out in front of Rashaan Melvin in one on one’s. Jones opened a team period later in practice getting behind defenders on a deep crossing route for a big play. – Tim Twentyman

Armed: Reports of backup quarterback Tom Savage’s arm strength have proven not to be an exaggeration. He’s not quite in Matthew Stafford’s class – and not many are – but he can wing it. – Mike O’Hara

Breaking up: One part of his game [Jarrad Davis] has really tried to improve over the course of his first two seasons in the league are his coverage skills. He’s trying to be a great all-around linebacker. He added pass rushing to his repertoire last season. Today he made a terrific play in coverage, knocking away a pass down the seam intended for tight end Jesse James. Davis got terrific depth in his drop, reacted perfectly to the play, and was able to break it up. He continues to develop his all-around game in year three. – Tim Twentyman

Drill of the day: In a drill to practice recovering loose balls, six players at a time dived to hit blocking dummies, then recovered a ball that was rolled in their direction as they scrambled to their feet. It was just the opposite on Friday in a ball security drill when the ball was poked with a padded stick after a reception. – Mike O’Hara

Participation report: A number of players didn’t take part Saturday. Running back Kerryon Johnson wasn’t at practice. Sitting out or working off to the side were: Defensive end Trey Flowers, defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr., cornerback Darius Slay, linebacker Devon Kennard and linebacker Christian Jones. Newly signed defensive tackle Mike Daniels was not at practice. Also, defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson is still dealing with a personal issue and wasn’t at practice Saturday, either. – Tim Twentyman

Rolling 11’s: In the first full-squad 11-on-11 with the players in pads, Stafford competed a pass to Jones. – whose jersey number is 11. Fitting. And watching with the naked eye from a distance, it looked like it might have been an 11-yard gain – more or less. – Mike O’Hara

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