TC Notes and Observations, 28 July

NOTE: no practice tomorrow.

Mike Daniels is there, got a helmet but no pads, and it’s a padded practice. I.E., he ain’t playin’.

  • They’ve looked good so far, it red zone drills yesterday wasnt quite as pretty.

  • C.J. Moore, completely unheralded, but hes looked really good and if he can find a role on ST, he is probably in. (Not me, Kent Lee Platte)

  • Didnt see any drops in early WR drills. A change from the past couple practices.

  • Re the quarterbacks. Stafford has always looked good. Only one really bad pass so far in the last three days
    Tom Savage has looked surprisingly good. David Fales…not as much.

  • Austin Traylor with a drop down the field.

  • Jesse James tried to adjust to an overthrow and got a hand in it but couldn’t haul it in.

  • Jerome Cunninghan with a drop.

  • Isaac Nauta and Austin Traylor both with nice catches back shoulder.

  • Da’Shawn Hand leaving practice after one snap (Oh-oh)

  • Kerryon Johnson is back today

  • RB Mark Thompson draws some oohs and ahs with some loud hitting.

  • RB Mark Thompson is out here to win a job after the Theo release. Just trucked two players which could have been heard from a mile a way.

  • Tracy Walker just got Kerryon on a play.

  • Austin Bryant appears to have hit the ground and is being looked at by a trainer. Graabbing his surgically repaired right shoulder. Not good.

  • Nick Bawden, Taylor Decker, and Graham Glasgow open a massive hole for Kerryon.

  • Logan Thomas lights up Jahlani Tavai on a counter for CJ Anderson.

  • Tracy Walker easily knocked a pass away from us Austin Traylor.

  • Mike Ford hauled in an INT in 1on1s against Fulgham. Not a great pass, but great coverage nonetheless.

  • Coleman has done alright. Moved outside a bit too.

  • Stafford with his first duck. Wobbly pass went too far.

  • Play action throw to CJ in the flat. Beat JRM to the edge.

  • Tj Hockenson with a nice catch downfield, beat JRM, Rashaan Melvin gave him a smack but he held on.

  • Tom Savage to Zach Zenner who worked over Anthony Pittman for a long gain.

  • Teez Tabor in zone stayed underneath kept Jesse James from getting back to the LOS.

  • Another Tom Kennedy drop.

  • Tre Lamar with a nice jump to deflect a pass, but heads up play by Travis Fulgham came down with it for a good gain.

  • DT John Atkins now leaving field with training. Da’Shawn Hand left earlier.

  • Mike Ford with a very poor recovery while backpedaling allowing a catch underneath. In a real game, would have been a tough tackle, too.

  • Justin Coleman with tight coverage on a crosser by Jones, caught but would have been downed immediately.

  • Another really good play by Justin Coleman. This time by Danny amendola. Same thing. Was caught but wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

  • TJ Hockensin with a long catch downfield. Will Harris covering.

  • Nick Bawden with a swing pass gets hit out of bounds. Then Jahlani Tavai gives him another for good measure.

  • Hockenson with a slant catch. Will Hatris with a nice hit on him.

  • Savage with a deep pass that went incomplete to Chris Lacy with Amani Oruwariye trailing. Next play, Oruwariye miscued and got beaten badly.

  • Miles Killebrew sighting! Just poked the ball out immediately after a Mark Thompson catch.

  • Another day, another OL grouping. This time Dahl and Aboushi at guard.

  • Rashaan Melvin with a nice pass deflection downfield on Kenny golladay.

  • Mitchell Loewen with another good play, dragging the runner down around the edge.

  • Garrett Dooley and Jamal Agnew with a nice defensive play in a flat pass.

  • Garrett Dooley, Tavon Wilson, and Amani Oruwariye with a nice stand on run d.

  • Oruwariye looking better in zone today. Had an INT go through his hands for the third time in a few days.

  • Nick Bawden and the reserve OL opened up a big hole for Mark Thomspon.

  • Hock with another RZ TD to his training camp resume. This time over Tracy Walker.

  • Tom Savage is the first QB I’ve seen so far to take a lap. Fumbled the snap in RZ drills.

  • Hock running laps after a penalty. [Should note. Players haven’t been SENT to run laps or do push ups. They just do it. ]

  • Mitchell Loewen with a big boss man play, crushing the OL and taking Zenner down for a big loss on the goal line.

  • Mitchell Loewen has been having a day. But he just got taken out by Nick Bawden to open a TD lane.

  • Mitchell Loewen now headed for the locker room, meaning Detroit has lost four defensive linemen just today: Hand, Bryant, Atkins and Loewen

  • That’s it. God Lord, injuries are pilig up on DL. Tomorrow is an off-day ad they need it. One hopes to see Harrison, Daniels, and A’Shawn in there on tuesday, pus hopefuly nobody got really hurt bad today.


From Justin Rogers, DetNews:

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

  • Following the addition of Mike Daniels, the Lions defensive line has the makings of a dominant unit, but right now that group is hurting. Trey Flowers, Damon Harrison and Darius Kilgo remain out with injury designations, A’Shawn Robinson is still tending to a personal matter, and Devon Kennard, Romeo Okwara and Jonathan Wynn have been sidelined or limited by injuries the past couple of days.

Already shorthanded, the Lions had four other defensive lineman leave the practice field on Sunday, whether due to injury or dehydration. That group included Da’Shawn Hand, Mitchell Loewen, Austin Bryant, and John Atkins. By the end of the day, the team was down to four healthy linemen, a group consisting of three rookies and Eric Lee.

Monday is an off day and it couldn’t come fast enough. But just in case, does anyone have Ricky Jean Francois’ phone number?

  • With so many players on the shelf, it did provide a few younger players an opportunity to shine. No one took advantage more than Kevin Strong, an undrafted defensive lineman out of UTSA, where he played a year under the tutelage of Lions defensive line coach Bo Davis.

Strong stood out in one-on-one reps against the offensive lineman, winning reps against Joe Dahl, Kenny Wiggins and on an outside rush vs. offensive tackle Ryan Pope. Strong also generated some good pressure in team drills.

Loewen was better a day earlier, playing with impressive power. He did come up with one big play before exiting Sunday, shedding his block and stuffing running back Zach Zenner in the hole during a red zone drill.

  • Also from the one-on-one trench battles, the offensive line won most of the matchups against their fatigued counterparts. Linebacker Jarrad Davis popped over to get in some reps and blew by offensive tackle Andrew Donnell, impressively dipping around the outside without being touched. Davis also ran a rep inside, but was pancaked by center Luke Bowanko.

Rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai also had an good rep, easily bending around second-year tackle Tyrell Crosby.

Finally, seventh-round pick P.J. Johnson is noticeably raw in these early practices, but he showed some eye-catching lateral quickness for a 320-pound man. There’s potential there.

  • Back at practice was running back Kerryon Johnson, although he was a little late coming straight from the airport. He had been excused for good reason, to attend his brother’s wedding on Saturday.

There wasn’t enough time away to collect rust, but if there had been any doubt, he made two sharp cuts in traffic on a scoring touchdown run during red zone work.

  • Team owner Martha Firestone Ford was in attendance for the first time during this camp.

  • T.J. Hockenson mixed it up a bit with some defensive players. In an early blocking drill, the rookie tight end got an ear full from Lee after the defensive end won their first two reps, but Hockenson rebounded, winning the third and final battle between the two.

On the receiving end, Hockenson showed more emotion than we’re used to seeing. After making a long catch down the sideline, he signaled first down, irking veteran safety Tavon Wilson, who gave the rookie a little shove. And in red zone work, Hockenson scored yet another touchdown in the back corner of the end zone, slicing between two safeties. He briefly celebrated the scoring grab as the crowd cheered.

  • Since converting to linebacker last season, Miles Killebrew has been something of a background player on the practice field, but he offered a reminder of his ability to lay a jarring hit when you enter his zone, dislodging a dump-off pass to running back Mark Thompson.

  • It’s easy to scoff when a player says he’s in the best shape of his life, especially when they’re 33 years old, but Danny Amendola has looked sharp in these early camp practices. He’s had little issue getting separation when working against the defensive backs and seems to have a good rhythm going with Matthew Stafford.

  • The Lions ran their safer version of the Oklahoma drill for the first time this year, where a ball carrier and defender start laying down on their backs, heads facing each other, scramble to their feet and battle in a confined space.

Davis was sharp during the drill, standing up Thompson, a 240-pound back. Jalen Reeves-Maybin was pushed around by rookie Ty Johnson on one rep, but the linebacker responded by driving veteran C.J. Anderson backward in their head-to-head matchup.


From Eric Schlitt,

The Detroit Lions held their fourth training camp of the 2019 offseason, and the defense continues to take on injuries. Four more defensive linemen left practice today, bringing the number of defensive linemen and JACK linebackers currently injured up to an alarming 12 players.

With 12 injured, that means there were only five healthy players left on their defensive front and Romeo Okwara — who was injured yesterday — was limited today and did next to no work. That brings the true number down to four healthy players.

It was a long day for Eric Lee, Kevin Strong, PJ Johnson and Ray Smith.

PUP/NFI list (no changes):
NT Damon Harrison (NFI)
CB Darius Slay (NFI)
NT Darius Kilgo (NFI)
EDGE Trey Flowers (PUP)
LB Steve Longa (PUP)
WR Tommylee Lewis (PUP)

Not much has changed, everyone here is working out and appears close to returning, save Longa who is still receiving one-on-one attention from trainers and not participating in the group rehab therapy sessions.

Still not participating on Sunday
DT A’Shawn Robinson (Excused absence)
DT Mike Daniels
DE Jonathan Wynn
EDGE Malik Carney
JACK Devon Kennard
LB Christian Jones

Still no word on Robinson, Daniels looks ready to go, while the rest are putting in a lot of work on the stationary bikes, doing bag work and even at one point were doing strength training by hitting a bag with a sledgehammer.

Changes/Additions on Sunday

RB Kerryon Johnson was back at practice after an excused absence
EDGE Romeo Okwara was in pads, but little to no participation
CB Marcus Cooper returned to practice
DL Da’Shawn Hand left after one practice rep
NT John Atkins left practice early
JACK Austin Bryant left practice early
DL Mitchell Loewen left practice early

Johnson returned to practice today in full capacity. Coach Matt Patricia said yesterday was an excused absence and while it’s not confirmed, Johnson posted pictures from his brother’s wedding on social media, so it’s safe to assume he is fully healthy.

Okwara and Cooper returning to limited work is an encouraging sign they are headed in the right direction.

Yesterday after practice concluded, Hand left to the locker room ahead of everyone else and didn’t look very happy. It appears whatever was bothering him carried over to today as he quickly wrapped up his practice and returned inside.

This is a nice time to remind people, the Lions are very cautious with players early in camp and even the littlest thing could end a players day.

Atkins left not long after Hand. Then Bryant went down with an upper-body injury and needed trainers, but he was able to get up after a few minutes of examination and walked off the field under his own power. Loewen made an incredible goal-line stop, then left the field almost immediately after, a few minutes before the session ended for the day.

With a day off tomorrow, there’s a chance several of these players will be removed from this list when they take the field on Tuesday.


From Jeremy Reisman, PoD:

Sunday was perhaps the most intense of the first four Detroit Lions practices. Their second day with the pads on, players did not shy away from contact much at Allen Park, much to the pleasure of the Lions fans in attendance.

I was sitting with the fans on Sunday, giving myself a different perspective of practice. Here’s what I saw:


Everyone but A’Shawn Robinson was accounted for, including Kerryon Johnson, who had an excused absence on Saturday, according to head coach Matt Patricia. Johnson’s Instagram story suggests he was at his brother’s wedding.

Defensive end Romeo Okwara and cornerback Marcus Cooper returned to camp after missing Saturday’s practice, although I did not see either participate in team drills.

That means the following players were out (but present), as expected: Tommylee Lewis, Steve Longa, Trey Flowers, Darius Slay, Damon Harrison Sr., Darius Kilgo, Jonathan Wynn, Devon Kennard, Christian Jones, and Malik Carney.

Additionally, while Mike Daniels was present, he was not participating in practice.

Unfortunately, the injury list would only grow as practice went on. Da’Shawn Hand injured himself on the very first rep, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. I didn’t see the play, but here’s how Birkett described it:

Hand, who finished last season on injured reserve with a sprained MCL in his right knee, was taking part in a four-on-three rush drill, where three interior offensive linemen block four defensive players, when he grabbed at his left elbow area.

He walked off the field shaking his arm and was immediately visited by a Lions trainer and what appeared to be Lions coach Matt Patricia’s chief of staff, Kevin Anderson, before heading to the locker room.

Towards the end of practice defensive end Mitchell Loewen (more on him later) left after a collision with Nick Bawden. And fourth-round rookie Austin Bryant also left practice after staying down on the field for a minute or two following a full-contact drill. Of all the injuries I saw, Bryant’s appeared to be the most serious, but he did walk off under his own power.

You can’t stop Hock

The Lions have put a lot of different players on first-round selection T.J. Hockenson this training camp, and they have all been beaten. Sunday, Hockenson elevated over rookie safety Will Harris for a huge gain down field. Then a little while later, he beat Tracy Walker by a good two steps for an easy score during red zone drills.

The rookie is playing with some swagger, too. After both big catches, he celebrated, giving the crowd a first down motion and an “Are you not entertained?” pose after each catch.

I haven’t seen enough out of Hockenson during blocking drills to make a fair evaluation on that part of his game, but he has been absolutely dominant as a receiver.

The rise and fall of Mitchell Loewen

If there has been a secret superstar of training camp, it is Mitchell Loewen. The depth defensive end has looked good in both team drills and one-on-one as a pass rusher. With no Okwara or Trey Flowers over the past few weeks, Loewen has been getting reps with the first team, and he is making the most of it.

His play of the day came on a goal-line drill, in which he knifed into the backfield and made a huge hit in the backfield—and let every person in attendance know it with a loud celebration. Literally, on the very next play, a collision with Bawden sent him to the locker room with just a few minutes left in camp.

Mark Thompson making an impact… literally

Even after the release of Theo Riddick, running back Mark Thompson may be a longshot to make the roster. However, he certainly made an impression on Sunday. Early in practice, he trucked over Tavon Wilson, and later in practice he did it to Jamal Agnew, causing a bit of a stir between the offense and defense.

The defense, however, would get the last laugh. Late in practice, Miles Killebrew sent a shoulder right into Thompson’s arms, blowing the running back to the ground and jarring the ball free in the process.

Drill of the Day: Oklahoma Drill knockoff?

The NFL told teams that the Oklahoma Drill is no longer allowed in practice, and while there are different variations of that drill, the Lions managed to do something somewhat similar on Sunday.

Players started on their backs—head-to-head—and after a whistle they would scramble to their feet and try to hurry their way past a defender. Much like Saturday’s tackling drill, every player participated, with the exception of the offensive line, quarterbacks and special teamers.

Odds and ends

Rashaan Melvin continues to look the part at No. 2 cornerback. He had a solid pass breakup in coverage against Marvin Jones Jr. on Sunday.
Tre Lamar also had a really solid pass defended. While he’s a long shot to make the roster, I’ve had more positive notes than negative for Lamar.
Travis Fulgham got a little bit of playing time with the first-team offense. Good sign for the rookie.
Good day from the reserve cornerbacks. Amani Oruwariye had a couple of a pass breakups and a near interception. Meanwhile, Mike Ford had the only interception I saw all day while in coverage again Fulgham
The Lions were back to their 1B offensive line group, using Joe Dahl and Oday Aboushi at left and right guard respectively with the first-team offense. Kenny Wiggins (left guard) and Graham Glasgow (right guard) were with the second team.


From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – The Detroit Lions might have one of the deepest defensive lines in the league, not that you’d know it from Day 4 of training camp.

Da’Shawn Hand left with an injury just one snap into practice, followed by Austin Bryant, John Atkins and Mitchell Loewen. With Snacks Harrison and Darius Kilgo still on the non-football injury list, Trey Flowers still on the physically unable to perform list, A’Shawn Robinson still excused from the team because of a personal matter, Mike Daniels not cleared for full practice and Romeo Okwara not participating in team drills, Detroit finished the day with just four defensive linemen.

There are 14 on the roster.

Hand’s injury appeared to be a left arm issue that he suffered while participating in a four-on-three pass rush drill. He stopped to grab his left elbow, then shook the arm as he left the field with a trainer.

A fourth-round pick last season, Hand proved to be one of the low-key steals of the draft. He had three sacks and forced two fumbles while playing in 13 games, starting eight, although the numbers only begin to tell the tale of a guy who was disruptive while sliding up and down the defensive line – a valuable commodity in this defense. He was ranked the best rookie defender in the league, according to ProFootballFocus, and 13th overall.

Hand is expected to play a big role in the defense this season, even with the additions of Mike Daniels on the inside and Trey Flowers on the outside.

A few minutes after his injury, this year’s fourth-round pick went down too. Bryant was clutching at his right shoulder, the same one that has been surgically repaired, and immediately left the field with a trainer.

With Flowers and Okwara also hurt, Loewen was forced to take a lot of reps with the first- and second-team defenses. Then he wound up heading for the locker room prematurely too, ending what had been a really nice couple days of practice for the deep reserve.

“I told the team many times – I told them yesterday too – all of us in that room started at some point,” coach Matt Patricia said before practice. “The name wasn’t at the top of the position chart. It was somewhere along the bottom. Whether you’re a coach or a player, you have to work your way up. Opportunities are all about what you do with them, and certainly I think Mitch is a guy that went out yesterday and practice real hard. He’s a tough guy.”

By day’s end, Detroit’s defensive line depth had dwindled to four: Eric Lee and rookies Ray Smith, Kevin Strong and P.J. Johnson.

Here are some more observations from practice:

– Like Patricia said, Loewen did a nice job stepping in for injured players and making the most of his opportunity on Saturday. A day later, I saw a lot to like about Kevin Strong, an undrafted rookie out of Texas-San Antonio. In fact, I don’t know if any defensive lineman was better during one-on-one drills. He beat Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins on the inside, then offensive tackle Ryan Pope with a rush around the outside. His odds of making the team are about as good as mine, with all that depth ahead of his at defensive tackle, but he’s on my radar for a spot on the practice squad.

– Elsewhere in the one-on-ones, the offensive line continued to overwhelm that patchwork defensive front. Rick Wagner (Eric Lee), Oday Aboushi (P.J. Johnson), Frank Ragnow (Ray Smith) and Taylor Decker (Mitchell Loewen) all won their reps. Among the starters, only Dahl did not have a clear-cut victory, allowing Strong to push the pocket.

– The linebackers also took part in those pass-rushing drills, and Jarrad Davis was especially impressive, blowing past Andrew Donnal so fast that he went untouched to the quarterback. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before in a one-on-one drill. Rookie Jahlani Tavai also won his rep, showing great bend to get around Tyrell Crosby.

– While watching those one-on-ones closely, I heard cheers from the far field. I looked over, and of course, there’s T.J. Hockenson making another ridiculous catch. He’s made a bunch of those through four days of camp, including one that I did see on Sunday where he twisted through the air for a touchdown with Tracy Walker in coverage. Listen, I’m trying my best not to write about him everyday, but it’s hard not to. He’s been that good, especially in the red zone. He’s been among Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets, and no beat writer sitting in the press room right now can remember him dropping a pass. Yes, it’s only been four days. But man, he looks as good as advertised.

– Hockenson did make one of his first obvious mistakes of camp, though, jumping before the snap during goal-line drills. He ran a lap around the field as punishment for a mistake that would be costly in a game.

– Kerryon Johnson was back at practice after taking a day off to attend his brother’s wedding, and turned in one of the most impressive runs of camp so far. He took a handoff about 10 yards from the end zone, cut left, then eventually reversed field and basically walked into the end zone. I think he was actually untouched, although the play happened about 150 yards from where the Lions pen in reporters, so I can’t say that definitively. Either way, yeah, there’s nothing wrong with Johnson’s eyesight.

– The Lions were in pads for the second straight day, and even had guys going to the ground during goal-line drills. Give the defense credit for standing up Zach Zenner short of the goal line, too, an impressive stand given the number of bodies they were missing. Team rules prohibit me from reporting player dialogue during practice, but let’s just say the defense was fired up enough to yell something naughty that could be heard crystal-clear 150 yards away.


From O’Hara and Twentyman,

Hard evaluation: It’s a little hard to get a good evaluation of Detroit’s defense early in camp, because so many players on that side who are expected to make an impact are sitting out right now. Defensive end Trey Flowers, linebacker Devon Kennard, defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, defensive end Austin Bryant and linebacker Christian Jones are battling injury. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson has missed practice due to a personal reason. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison Sr. and cornerback Darius Slay remain on NFI.

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels was at practice Sunday, but working off to the side as he gets acclimated to practice and his new surroundings. The Lions were down to five defensive linemen by the end of Sunday’s practice. There’s a lot of firepower on defense not on the field right now. – Tim Twentyman

T.J./TD: It has become a daily occurrence to mention a good catch by rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, and he made another one Sunday – and in front of an important fan. Hockenson made a sharp cut to Matthew Stafford’s pass in the right corner of the end zone. Positioned to view practice a few yards away was franchise owner Martha Firestone Ford. – Mike O’Hara

Loving contact: Mark Thompson is trying to catch on in Detroit’s backfield. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound running back is able to stand out during padding practices. Thompson isn’t afraid of a little contact, and runs hard every rep. He ran over an unsuspecting defender Sunday, which fired up his offensive teammates. There always seems to be a loud crack of pads when he carries the rock in padded practices. – Tim Twentyman

Danger Zone: Media members watch practice from a grandstand in the south end zone of the field. That means they have to be aware when kickers are practicing field goals. There are always a few that land in the bleachers. Put up the protective nets? Or how about staying alert? – Mike O’Hara

Good start: Veteran left tackle Taylor Decker has had a really good start to camp. I have him undefeated the last two days in one-on-one pass-rush drills. He’s been solid in team and group work, and said Sunday he’s feeling great. He certainly looks it. – Tim Twentyman

When opportunity knocks: It’s imperative in camp that when an opportunity to make a play comes a player’s way, they take advantage. Rookie cornerback Amani Oruwariye put himself in terrific position to make an interception in a team period Sunday. He baited the quarterback, and had the ball thrown right to him, but dropped it. Those opportunities don’t come around that often. We’ll see if Oruwariye can take advantage of the next one. – Tim Twentyman


From Erci Schlitt, Lionswire:

The Detroit Lions completed the fourth day of their 2019 training camp, and the overwhelming story of the day is the injuries to the Lions defensive front.

Defensive Injuries

Before you hit the panic button, it’s important to remember the Lions are extremely cautious with injuries this time of year and will remove players from practice for minor ailments.

With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the Lions depth chart up front on defense because the participation levels are unusually low.

Nose Tackle: Damon Harrison is on the Non-Football Injury list (NFI), John Atkins was injured on Sunday, Darius Kilgo is on NFI, leaving seventh-round rookie PJ Johnson as the lone player available.

3/5-technique: Mike Daniels was just acquired and has yet to practice (not unusual) and A’Shawn Robinson is on an excused absence, leaving undrafted free agent Ray Smith as the lone player at the position.

Hybrid 3/5/7-technique: Da’Shawn Hand left practice early, leaving undrafted Kevin Strong as the lone remaining player.

Defensive end: Trey Flowers is on the PUP list, Romeo Okwara is returning from injury and limited, Mitchell Loewen was injured Sunday, and Jonathan Wynn has been injured since the first day of camp. They have needed to move converted linebacker, Eric Lee, back to his old defensive end position to fill in.

JACK linebacker: Devon Kennard is injured, Austin Bryant was injured on Sunday, Malik Carney has yet to return from his opening day injury and Christian Jones who has been splitting time between JACK and WILL is also injured. With Lee filling in at defensive end, coaches began using Jahlani Tavai at JACK, which isn’t too much of a stretch, as he had been getting reps there anyway.

At the linebacker level, with Jones and Steve Longa injured, Tavai at the JACK, and Lee at defensive end, that left the remaining healthy players on the defensive front looking like this:

That made for a long day for the remaining 11 players of a group that is supposed to have 26 players in it.

With today being another padded practice, the Lions had several 11-on-11’s and 1-on-1 drills pitting the offensive line against the defensive line. It should come as no surprise that the offensive won most of the battles, but there were a few times the exhausted defenders dug deep and won reps.

Kevin Strong was the big winner today, as he showed the range to play nose tackle, 3/5-technique, and even lined up on the EDGE. In his four one-on-one reps against the offensive line (the first two lines only did one and the third line did two), I gave him an even grade against Joe Dahl and Beau Benzschschawel, and a winning grade over Kenny Wiggins and Ryan Pope. Strong was the only defensive lineman to not lose a rep, giving maximum effort during every drill. The ability to win battles when completely gassed is a trait that is tough to overlook.

PJ Johnson lost reps to Oday Aboushi and Graham Glasgow but relocated Benzschawel with ease on his other two reps. Ray Smith won once, taking down Leo Kolomatangi. Eric Lee lost to Rick Wagner but got the better of Matt Nelson and Ryan Pope.

The wow moments came when the defensive coaches gave Jarrad Davis and Jahlani Tavai opportunities. Davis put a speed move on Andrew Donnal that left him grasping only air. I’m not sure I’ve seen a one-on-one where a player has literally gone untouched before. He then tried his luck up the middle on Luke Bowanko and got put on the turf. Tavai faced off against Tyrell Crosby and got low enough in his bend that he touched the ground at full speed dipping under and past the block.

In 11-on-11’s, the player that most caught my attention was Jalen Reeves-Maybin who had zero issues running step for step with Jesse James. There is a role for a player who can run with tight ends and it could be the best path to playing time.

With injuries in front of him, Miles Killebrew got an opportunity for playing time and had the hit of the day, dislodging a pass from Mark Thompson, that had a reporter in the press area turn and ask, “Is Killebrew a thing again?”

During the goal line portion of the 11-on-11’s drills, the standout play of the day came from Mitchell Loewen, who penetrated the offensive line and stuffed the ball carrier. Unfortunately, he may have injured himself on that play because he left the field soon after.


The Matthew Stafford to Danny Amendola connection is alive and well. In one-on-one coverage drills, they won every battle. Now, typically these drills do favor the offense, and Amendola’s win over Justin Coleman was hard-earned, the matchup with Jamal Agnew was a clinic, as Amendola created nearly five yards of separation on his cut. This is a weapon the Lions sorely missed last season.

Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay also continue to find success when Stafford is throwing them the ball, but Jermaine Kearse is still looking for Stafford’s WiFi password.

After a quiet day on Saturday, T.J. Hockenson returned to producing his highlight-reel plays. Right now, he is absolutely uncoverable in the back corner of the end zone.

A lot is made of Ty Johnson’s speed, and justifiably so, but at 210-pounds he’s also got some thump to his game. In a one-on-one drill against Reeves-Maybin, Johnson got low and pushed the linebacker back four to five yards back.

The offensive line continued to rotate it’s guards again today, but one thing continues to stand out: when the team wants to run it in the end zone at the goal line, the most consistent path is between Graham Glasgow and the center next to him.

Patricia, said the rotating guards in camp so far is partially because he’s looking for the best starting five and partially because he is looking for guys who can do multiple things

Most of the special teams work today was on kick returns and coverage. With nearly everyone on the roster getting a shot it was hard to gather much. The fact that they were running it in stunted segments, made things even harder to evaluate.


With a day off tomorrow, most of the players moved towards the family section or into the locker room, likely headed for some much-needed rest. After roughly 45 minutes of players completing interviews or wrapping up time with their loved ones, virtually every player had left the field.

Every player, except one: Travis Fulgham.

In OTAs, I saw Fulgham go through this same routine. Ahead of a day off when most were heading towards their break, the rookie stayed behind to work on his routes and pass-catching. These are the types of little things that make the difference between a player who makes the 53-man roster and a player who falls just short.


Seems like every time someone mentions Reeves-Maybin, he’s messing something up.