TC Notes and Observations, 6 Aug

2nd day of joint practice with NE, let’s start with a coule of roster moves:

Tommy Lee Lewis was activated off the PUP, and
CB Tarvarus McFadden got waived/injured, and
CB Johnathan Alston was signed to the roster to replace him. Alston is another big-bodied corner, listed at 6-foot-1, 206 pounds. He began his college career as a wide receiver before switching to defense as a senior. He went undrafted out of North Carolina State in 2018, initially signing with the Miami Dolphins. The Lions worked out Alston last September.

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Lions Participation Report, from Eric Schlitt, Lionswire:

The Detroit Lions held their eleventh day of 2019 training camp and the most notable change was Tommylee Lewis returning from the Physically Unable to Participate (PUP) list.

Changes/Additions on Tuesday

WR Tommylee Lewis (removed from PUP)
WR Brandon Powell (watchlist)
JACK Devon Kennard (returned in full)
DT Ray Smith (no participation or pads)

Lewis has been mimicking the special teams returners and gunners the last two weeks as he recovered from his injury, and today he found himself in the mix with the kick returners. He still looks very fast.

Powell appeared to tweak his knee in one of the final play of practice. He didn’t go down on the field but limped off and received treatment from a trainer. He was able to slowly jog over to team stretches and walked without an issue leaving the field. He will be on tomorrow’s watchlist.

Kennard is now back fully practicing with the team, as is Joe Dahl and Jerome Cunningham were also removed from the watchlist and fully participated.


CB Darius Slay (limited, close to full)
LB Christian Jones (drills and limited field work)
NT Darius Kilgo (drills and limited field work)
DE Jonathan Wynn
EDGE Malik Carney

Slay looks near 100-percent but the team is still giving him time off during specific 11-on-11 situations. He’s still getting plenty of work but the Lions are picking and choosing where to use him.

Christian Jones and Kilgo both got on the field in team drills, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s but also spent time with the training staff getting checked out. I would consider both questionable to play tomorrow and in the game on Thursday.

Wynn and Carney were fully dressed again but didn’t seem to be available for any activities beyond the trainers.

PUP/NFI list:
NT Damon Harrison (NFI)
EDGE Trey Flowers (PUP)
LB Steve Longa (PUP)

Other than Lewis being removed from the PUP, there were no other changes to the three remaining players in this section.

Still not participating on Tuesday

DL Da’Shawn Hand (brace on arm)
DT Mike Daniels
JACK Austin Bryant
LB Jarrad Davis
LB Garret Dooley
CB Marcus Cooper
CB Teez Tabor

After leaving practice early yesterday it’s no surprise Dooley sat out today’s practice, joining Davis as the only new player added to this section. Early guess is the players in this section won’t be playing on Thursday.

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From Jeremy Reisman, PoD:

Day 2 was expected to be the highest intensity practice of training camp to date, and it absolutely lived up to the billing. The Detroit Lions and New England Patriots went at it on a Tuesday overcast day, leaving the crowded Allen Park stands with plenty to cheer and jeer about.

Here are my observations from practice:


Not much changed from Monday’s practice. With Tommylee Lewis off the PUP list, we saw him return to action, but he was clearly still limited. Even as he walked off the field, he appeared to be walking a little gingerly, so I wouldn’t call him 100 percent yet.

Additionally, defensive tackle Ray Smith was out after suffering an injury during Monday’s practice. Despite looking beat up at the end of last practice, both Jerome Cunningham and Joe Dahl were good to go on Tuesday.

The following players did not suit up for Tuesday’s practice:

Ray Smith
Da’Shawn Hand
Austin Bryant
Mike Daniels
Jarrad Davis
Garret Dooley
Marcus Cooper
Teez Tabor
Steve Longa
Trey Flowers
Damon Harrison Sr.

Devon Kennard and Darius Slay continue to see more reps, and, at this point, it looks like Kennard may be a full participant. Slay isn’t far behind.

Towards the very end of practice, wide receiver Brandon Powell went down with a leg injury. He eventually walked off under his own power, but he was down for a bit. Matthew Stafford even came running onto the field to check on him.


Things got a little chippy on Tuesday, and it kicked off with Lions seventh-round rookie P.J. Johnson. During a full team rep, Johnson was absolutely pancaked to the ground. He quickly scrambled to his feet and gave Patriots guard/center James Ferentz a two-armed shove. From there, things escalated quite quickly, almost to the point where it looked like a full-blown fight might break out.

However, head coach Matt Patricia came zooming in on his ATV and immediately threw Johnson out of practice before the dust-up turned into punches being thrown.

After that, there were at least two other little skirmishes, one involving Devon Kennard, and another that nearly developed between Ryan Pope and Chase Winovich (more on them later).

Ragnow shines, Decker struggles vs. Patriots defensive line

On Monday, most of the line position drills were done on the other end of the field, but on Tuesday the media was treated to a front-row seat during one-one-ones.

The Lions were back to their 1B offensive line formation (Joe Dahl and Oday Aboushi at the guard spots) and Dahl stood out well in this drill, stopping Ufomba Kamalu in his tracks and winning at least one more rep.

Perhaps the best performer on the Lions offensive line was Frank Ragnow, who won reps against two solid Patriots interior defenders: Danny Shelton and Mike Pennel Jr.

On the other side of the coin, the Lions’ tackles had a rough day overall. Taylor Decker was beaten handily by Chase Winovich on an early rep, while Ryan Pope had one of the worst days I’ve ever seen in camp. Unlucky for him, Winovich was repping against the Lions’ third-string offensive line most of the day, and he may not have lost a single rep. Andrew Donnal also fell victim at least once.

Lions DBs vs. Patriots WRs

Continuing with one-on-ones, Lions nickel corner Justin Coleman started Tuesday’s practice with a nice bounceback session. He won at least three 1-v-1 reps against Patriots receivers, though he was beaten once, too. Unfortunately for Coleman, it didn’t last very long. Once the team moved to 11-on-11s, Braxton Berrios, the Patriots sixth-round pick in 2018, was consistently beating Coleman. Berrios torched him in back-to-back touchdowns later in the day, and once more by a good two or three steps on an earlier rep.

Darius Slay continues to do Darius Slay-like things. He’s back.

Elsewhere, Rashaan Melvin continues to play well enough to hold onto that No. 2 corner spot, while Amani Oruwariye had a mixed day. The Lions’ fifth-round pick nearly picked off Tom Brady in a one-minute drill situation, but a couple plays later, Phillip Dorsett burned him for a 32-yard touchdown.

Lions WRs vs. Patriots DBs

Today was a good day for two players that will be in the hunt for one of the final roster spots. Chris Lacy continues to make big plays in between mostly quiet days. On Tuesday, he cleanly beat a defender for a touchdown in full-team drills. Lacy has shown he’s a great point-of-catch receiver, but it was his route-running that allowed him to get open several times on Tuesday, including winning a seven-on-seven rep by at least two steps.

Jermaine Kearse continued his hot streak at camp, winning several reps in one-on-one drills and he even pulled in a 50-yard touchdown during 11-on-11s. Though the play was negated by a holding penalty, Kearse beat his guy by a step and made a nice catch on a well-thrown ball from Matthew Stafford.

Late-game scenarios

The Lions and Patriots simulated two different late-game scenarios.

Scenario 1: Down 4 points, 40 seconds left, starting on the opponents’ 43-yard line

Here’s a rundown of the Lions’ first-team offense’s crack at the scenario:

Pass to Danny Amendola for 9 yards, spike
Pass to Danny Amendola for 9 yards, spike
Pass to Andy Jones for 12 yards, spike (seven seconds left)
Pass to T.J Hockenson for a 13-yard touchdown

After practice, Hockenson mentioned how Jesse James’ route up middle freed him up, and Stafford hit him with the perfect pass. But Hockenson has proven that all you need to do is hit him in the hands and he’ll come down with it, contested or not.

Now the Patriots’ turn:

Pass broken up by Amani Oruwariye
Pass incomplete to Berrios with Coleman in tight coverage (refs ultimately decided it was a catch after officials gave conflicting signals)
32-yard touchdown pass to Dorsett with Oruwariye in coverage (as noted above)

Scenario 2: Down 2 points, 30 seconds left, starting at own 45 yard line

Lions (second team offense):

Travis Fulgham was wide open but David Fales (yes, Fales was with the twos) missed him
23-yard pass to a wide open Brandon Powell
Tom Kennedy sideline catch for 5-6 yards
Ryan Santoso’s 50-yard field goal attempt hits the right upright on the skinny posts (would’ve been good)
The Lions defense held up fairly well, holding the Patriots to a 53-yard field goal attempt, but New England converted.

Odds and ends:

Jahlani Tavai was a standout on Tuesday, getting run stops on back-to-back plays during full team drills. The second play would’ve netted a loss of at least three yards.
Miles Killebrew continues to show up in odd places. Coming off the edge, Killebrew picked up a sack during 11-on-11s.
The Lions got a punt block during special team drills. It was hard to see who got it, but Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Jonathan Duhart were in the general area.
Speaking of Reeves-Maybin, he’ll forever get to tell his friends and family that he picked off Tom Brady. Sitting in a zone during 7-on-7 drills, Maybin perfectly read Brady during a red-zone rep and came away with the pick.

Overall, I thought this was a much better practice from the Lions. They eliminated a lot of the sloppiness on both sides of the ball, and the defense looked a lot better than they did on Monday. I think Detroit still looked a little vulnerable in the trenches, as they didn’t seem to run the ball or stop the run all that well through two days, but things were significantly better Tuesday.

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From Michael Rothstein, ESPN:

Some thoughts from the second day of Lions-Patriots joint practices:

-T.J. Hockenson can play and he’s going to be a red zone threat for Detroit. Matthew Stafford threaded a ball to him today and he just snagged it in tight coverage. He does that during the year and he’s going to be a problem for opposing defenses.

-Danny Amendola also had a nice day for the Lions. He seemed to be the favorite target no matter which Detroit quarterback was making passes. In particular, he had a heck of an end zone grab.

-Really good day in individual drills for the Lions’ offensive line against the New England defensive line. As a group they dominated in one-on-one settings, including Rick Wagner, Joe Dahl and Frank Ragnow winning the two reps each of them took handily. Ragnow, in particular, looked like someone who could handle the middle of the line on his own.

-He’s going to have his ups-and-downs, but rookie CB Amani Oruwariye is showing flashes of being a good player down the road. He had a heck of a pass breakup on a deep ball from Tom Brady – but then got beat badly for a touchdown three plays later. Such is life against one of the best all-time as a rookie.

-A concerning thing for Detroit? The inconsistent play of Justin Coleman. He had some really good pass breakups Tuesday, but he also got beat too many times for the Lions to feel really good about that right now.

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From Dave Birkett, DetFreeP:

A fight!

OK, so maybe it wasn’t a fight, but the Detroit Lions came as close to having a training camp fight in practice Tuesday as they have in recent years.

The skirmish happened midway through a 30-minute team period on Day 2 of the Lions’ joint practices with the New England Patriots when rookie defensive tackle P.J. Johnson took exception to a block by Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz and some shoving ensued.

Players from both teams rushed in to separate the two, and sheriff Matt Patricia rode his ATV over to the scrum and quickly ordered Johnson off the field.

Practice continued as Johnson made the walk of shame back to the Lions locker room, and there were a few other small altercations the rest of the way, including one involving Devon Kennard and a Patriots tight end.

“It’s two really competitive teams,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said after practice. “We love to compete, go out there and accept any challenge and I know the Patriots are the same way. In the same breath, we know how to practice. It never gets too far out of hand ever and a little bit here and there today, but nothing that you ever felt was really going to escalate, It was just good hard competition.”

Johnson caught Patricia’s wrath for losing his cool on the field, but overall the chippiness seemed to benefit the Lions.

After a ho-hum practice Monday, cornerback Justin Coleman said players were determined to bring more purpose to the field Tuesday and it showed.

Beyond the shoving, there seemed to be more energy when Lions players did something well, either scoring a touchdown or making a big play on defense, and I thought practice was more competitive overall.

“We came out what we consider pretty flat (on Monday) and we just want to (bring) the energy every day," Coleman said. “And throughout the season that’s how we want to play, with lots of energy and intensity so we keep our team going.”

Johnson probably did go too far by shoving Ferentz. He seemed to take exception to being blocked to the ground.

But if Patricia was angry about that, he had to be pleased to see rookie offensive lineman Micah St. Andrew defuse a situation in one-on-ones. Patriots defensive end Ufomba Kamalu wasn’t happy with a St. Andrew block, and when he gave the lineman an extra push after the whistle St. Andrew responded with a “my bad” tap of apology.

Two different ways to handle what clearly was an intense practice.

The Lions and Patriots have one more workout on tap before Thursday’s preseason opener. It’s not clear if they’ll be in pads, but Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told Lions receiver Danny Amendola that some situational football was on Wednesday’s schedule.

• No practice for the usual suspects for the Lions: Da’Shawn Hand, Austin Bryant, Mike Daniels and Teez Tabor, among others. Wide receiver Brandon Powell also left late in practice with what appeared to be a left knee injury. Powell was hurt taking a handoff out of the backfield in the final period of the day. He stepped awkwardly and came away limping noticeably after making minimal if any contact with defenders.

• Two young players who continue to stand out for the Lions: Wide receiver Chris Lacy and safety Miles Killebrew.

Lacy is a big-time red-zone threat because of his size (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and he made a couple really nice catches Tuesday. He hauled in a touchdown grab from David Fales in traffic on the goal line during a team drill late in practice, and out-muscled safety Duke Dawson for another catch. If Lacy does well on special teams in preseason games, there’s no reason he shouldn’t make this team come September.

As for Killebrew, he was one of the Lions’ most valuable special-teams players last year and he continues to get some No. 1 reps on defense this summer. On Tuesday, he had a would-be sack of Tom Brady with a nice edge rush and broke up a Brady pass over the middle. It took a while, and opponents might try to expose his size against the run as a linebacker, but coaches seem to have finally figured out a way to use his speed on the field.

• A few observations from one-on-one pass-rush drills: The Lions’ first-team offensive line (with Joe Dahl at left guard and Oday Aboushi at right guard) mostly held its own against New England’s pass rush. Former Michigan standout Chase Winovich beat Taylor Decker with a lightning quick inside move, but Frank Ragnow is a boulder at center and Rick Wagner played well at right tackle.

Among the backups, Derek Rivers proved far too quick for Andrew Donnal, while Tyrell Crosby had a couple nice reps, including one when he showed good balance to re-anchor after getting knocked back by Shilique Calhoun.

• I didn’t catch the number, but the Lions did block a Patriots punt during Tuesday’s second special-teams period. Undrafted rookies Jonathan Duhart and C.J. Moore were among the Lions in the backfield on that play.

• The Lions have more depth at safety this year than they have in recent seasons and I don’t know what that means for Charles Washington’s chances of making the roster, but Washington is still one of this team’s better coverage specialists. Washington downed a punt by catching it at the 5-yard line in practice Tuesday.

• I didn’t think Stafford looked especially sharp Monday, but he made a couple perfect throws Tuesday. In one-on-one drills, he put back-to-back balls where only his big tight ends could catch them – T.J. Hockenson snagged a pass with Duron Harmon draped on him, while Jesse James couldn’t hold onto his ball – and in team drills, he threaded a couple fearless passes between defenders on the goal line.

• The Lions and Patriots closed their long team period Tuesday with more two-minute work, this time out of a first-and-10 situation at the plus-43-yard line, down four points. Stafford led a six-play touchdown drive (including two clock-killing spikes) against New England’s top defense. The touchdown came from about 13 yards out on a skinny post to Hockenson out of the slot.

Brady led the Patriots on a scoring drive, too, with Phillip Dorsett streaking past Amani Oruwariye for an easy touchdown. But the Patriots’ drive may have stalled out in a real game as officials seemed to rule a Braxton Berrios diving catch on second-and-10 incomplete only to re-spot the ball for the benefit of the drill.

• One final note on the greatness of Brady: Twice during practice Tuesday, I saw Brady working with a Patriots assistant on what appeared to be the mechanics of throwing the football. Brady had the assistant hold the back of his right shoulder with one hand and the side of his left hip with another as he set to release the ball. He was throwing passes to Brian Hoyer 40 yards downfield at the time, and at a little shorter distance the second time. In both instances, during an otherwise down minute in practice, it looked like Brady was striving for mechanical perfection with his body.

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From Twentyman and O’Hara,

Pass rush drills: I watched Lions offensive line vs. Patriots defensive line pass-rush drills and made a few notes. Joe Dahl (vs. Byron Cowart), Rick Wagner (Danny Shelton), Graham Glasgow (Lawrence Guy) and Frank Ragnow (Mike Pennel Jr.) all had very good reps. Oday Aboushi was beaten by Deatrich Wise Jr. Former Michigan star Chase Winovich put a really good inside move on Taylor Decker to beat him. The former Wolverine got the better of the former Buckeye in Allen Park Tuesday. – Tim Twentyman

On the bounce: Danny Amendola runs out everything. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a punt return or a reception, he looks to get an edge. The ball hit the turf and bounced on a punt return, and when nobody on the Patriots’ coverage team reacted, Amendola grabbed the ball and ran. It might have been blown dead, but he didn’t wait to find out. – Mike O’Hara

Got the GOAT: Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin had a really good red zone 7-on-7 period against Tom Brady and the Pats’ first-team offense. Reeves-Maybin knocked a ball away from wide receiver N’Keal Harry in the corner of the end zone, and then two plays later stepped in front of a Brady pass for an interception. Reeves-Maybin has gotten more reps with Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones dealing with injuries. He seems to be making the most them. – Tim Twentyman

Not too sharp: Outside of a terrific two-minute period where Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford led a touchdown drive capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson, I didn’t think the offense was all that sharp Tuesday. Stafford missed a few throws either a little behind or too far ahead of receivers that resulted in balls being knocked away by defenders or falling incomplete. I thought it was a bit of an off day for Stafford and the offense. – Tim Twentyman

Early exit: There was one casualty in the first dustup of the joint practices, but it wasn’t an injury. After the players were separated – and it didn’t take long – head coach Matt Patricia sent rookie defensive lineman P.J. Johnson to the locker room. – Mike O’Hara

Third and long – Jermaine Kearse caught what looked like a 50-yard touchdown pass from Stafford in a team period on a 3rd and long play. Kearse has consistently been a playmaker throughout camp, and seems to have really put a stamp on the No. 4 receiving job through the first couple weeks of camp. – Tim Twentyman

Two-minute drill: The situation Tuesday was ball on the Lions’ 43-yard line with 40 seconds left down four points. Stafford completed a 9-yard pass on the first play and then hooked up with Amendola down to the Patriots’ 25-yard line. Wide receiver Andy Jones got Detroit closer to the end zone catching a pass down to the 13-yard line. Stafford finished off the period with the 13-yard touchdown pass to Hockenson with two seconds to spare.

Tom Brady and the Patriots got the same scenario against Detroit’s defense. Brady’s first pass was down the left sideline. It should have been picked off by Lions cornerback Amani Oruwariye, but he couldn’t hang on to it. Brady got the benefit on a questionable completion to wide receiver Braxton Berrios at the Lions’ 32-yard line on his next throw. The next play was a 32-yard touchdown down the left sideline on a perfect pass from Brady to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett with Oruwariye in coverage. – Tim Twentyman

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From Kyle Meinke, MLive:

ALLEN PARK – Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was up and down on his first day of work against the New England Patriots, as you might expect. This was his first opportunity to work against a defense that wasn’t his own, after all, and it came against one of the best secondaries in the league at that.

But on Day 2, Stafford struck back.

And like so much of camp, he seemed to be at his best when targeting his tight ends – and T.J. Hockenson in particular.

In their first one-on-one rep, Hockenson separated from Devin McCourty on an out route and Stafford rifled a strike to him just as he was emerging from his break. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that route and throw seem like an indefensible play to me, at least in man coverage.

Duron Harmon’s solution was to rough up Hockenson on his next rep, and even drew a flag for it – yet Hockenson ran a perfect flag route anyway, separated from the coverage and caught a dart from Stafford for a huge gain.

Hockenson nearly caught a touchdown during seven-on-sevens in the red zone, when he fought through another penalty to climb the ladder for the catch. But officials ruled he landed on the back line of the end zone.

Detroit and New England wrapped up practice with 2-minute drills, this time giving the offenses the ball at the 43-yard line with 40 seconds left and down by four points. It mirrored a drill from Monday where the Lions needed a sack to be waved off for them to even get off a field goal. A day later, though, the whole operation looked much tighter.

Stafford began the series by nailing Danny Amendola for about 9 yards, then clocking the ball. On third down, he hit Amendola again to move the chains. After a really nice throw-and-catch with Andy Jones along the left sideline, Detroit had two shots at the end zone from the 13-yard line with 7 seconds left.

They would need only one of them.

Hockenson – who else? – ran a skinny post on the play, and Stafford put the ball where only his big rookie could get it for a 13-yard go-ahead score with 2 seconds left.

That was a surgical drive, and it came against one of the better defenses and best secondaries in the league.

“I think (Hockenson) is a talented player,” Stafford said. “We got a lot of talented players on offense, it’s tough for young guys to step in and make plays early on, we’ve had some guys show up and do that, that’s fun for a QB to have a lot of weapons.”

Here are some more observations from practice:

– Stafford did find other players not named Hockenson too. The best play might have been the dime he dropped on Jermaine Kearse from 50 yards out during team work. There was also a flag thrown for holding against a Lions offensive lineman on the play (didn’t catch who was guilty for it), so it’s not like it was all gravy. But after a camp filled with misfires downfield, it was encouraging to see Stafford connect a few times today. Kearse has been much better in the last week, and tightened his grip on the fourth receiver job.

Stafford also hit Amendola for a nice touchdown catch along the boundary in the end zone. Every day, I have been impressed with Amendola’s fitness. This guy is “old” by NFL receiver standards, by man is he flying around all over the place. He said earlier in the offseason he believes he’s the fastest he’s ever been in his career, and I don’t doubt it anymore.

– For the second straight day, fullback Nick Bawden’s pass-catching stood out. Or maybe it’s his route-running, to be more specific. During one-on-ones, he swatted away a jam attempt by Brandon King and caught an easy touchdown pass. He beat Yodny Cajuste on his next rep, then did it again on his third. Bawden just seems to do a really good job of setting up his man, then coming out of his break hard to create separation. And I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from him on curl routes around the end zone. As long as Bawden can carve out a niche on special teams, I think he should have very little trouble making this roster.

– I haven’t been able to see much of the one-on-one drills between linemen this week because of when and where those have gone down (media must remain in a particular bleacher on the south side of the field), but got a close look at Detroit’s offensive line working against New England’s defensive line on Tuesday. Frank Ragnow was especially impressive, disposing of Danny Shelton and Mike Pennel Jr. with ease. He looks right at home at center, and it’s easy to see why Detroit was so interested in moving him back to his college position.

It was a mixed bag for Taylor Decker, who beat Derek Rivers on his first rep but allowed former Michigan star Chase Winovich to blow by him on his second rep. There were some cheers in the stands in Allen Park, too, with plenty of Wolverines fans on hand to get a closer look at Winovich, and possibly that Tom Brady guy too.

By the way: I know the Lions paid Ryan Pope a lot of money to join them as an undrafted rookie, but Pope is really struggling right now. If he’s won any reps against New England this week, I didn’t see it. After losing a couple more reps today, he put his hands on his helmet and began shaking it. Clearly, he’s frustrated.

– Jamal Agnew worked as the first-team kick returner, followed by Ty Johnson, who continues to show some interesting versatility in camp. The sixth-round pick brought the ball out to about the 35- or 40-yard line, the best return I saw today. Brandon Powell also got a rep.

– The Lions like to get in extra work for their young players at the end of practice, and it seems the Patriots do too, because both clubs let the young fellas get in an extra round of team work at the end of practice. But it took a bad turn for Detroit today, with Powell going down with an injury during that final period. Trainers appeared to be looking at his knee. Powell did walk off the field on his own power, which is an encouraging sign, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be available to play in the preseason opener in two days. Exhibitions don’t matter for so many players, but they absolutely do for a young guy like Powell, who is squarely on the bubble in that deep receiver room.

After a really solid week of practice, Jermaine Kearse has surged in that competition for the fourth receiver job. Sixth-round pick Travis Fulgham is in the mix, along with Andy Jones, a terrific blocker and special teams player. Powell certainly has a chance too, because of his ability to return punts and kicks, and Detroit has been toying with him in different looks on offense, seeing what he might be capable of doing in the post-Theo Riddick world. But it’s going to be a tight squeeze onto the roster, so any kind of setback – especially one that costs him 25% of the preseason – could hurt Powell’s chances.

– I haven’t written “44” into my notebook often in camp, but Jalen Reeves-Maybin did get the best of Tom Brady a couple times today. That includes breaking up a pass into the end zone during seven-on-sevens, then intercepting the next one. He also was in the vicinity of a blocked punt, although it was unclear to me whether he got a hand on the ball, or if it was rookie receiver Jonathan Duhart. Either way, it was a nice day for Reeves-Maybin.

– Another number I haven’t scribbled much is “1,” as in the rookie Duhart, but he flashed a couple times today, including on that punt block as well as hauling in a touchdown catch during seven-on-sevens.

– You know what number I have jotted down a time or two? That’d be “35,” as in Miles Killebrew. The dude didn’t play a lick of defense last year, but has done enough in camp to earn a crack with the ones against New England. He even had a sack and pass breakup against Tom Brady. I don’t think he’s pushing for regular playing time or anything, but it’s good to see a guy overcome some adversity and put himself in play for subpackage work and a reserve role.

– Jarrad Davis didn’t miss a practice all last season. But he’s missed the last two days against New England with an injury that seems to be minor. Davis probably won’t play in the preseason opener, but concern for him is at a minimum.

“As far as J.D., something that just came up in practice the other day and we’re just trying to make sure that we do a good job with it," Patricia said. "As soon as he can get back out there, he’ll be out there.”

Detroit’s defense continued to short handed without the likes of Trey Flowers and Snacks Harrison, who have missed the entire first two weeks of training camp. Da’Shawn Hand missed another practice, and added a new layer of protection to that injured arm as he watched from the sidelines. Teez Tabor and Austin Bryant were out too, while new injuries included linebacker Garret Dooley and rookie defensive tackle Ray Smith.

– I’ve gotten a few questions about Justin Coleman, the high-priced cornerback signed by Detroit this offseason. So allow me to say this: Haven’t written about him much, because he hasn’t done much. He did have a pass breakup today, but also appeared to be beat by Braxton Berrios for a touchdown shortly after that. It’s important to remember he missed the offseason program with an injury, and could still be shaking off rust.

– OK, but seriously, who put on Creed at practice today?

From Eric Schlitt, Lionswire:

On the eleventh day of the Detroit Lions 2019 training camp, the offense continues to show elements of basic football that were absent during the Jim Bob Cooter era. Simple rub routes and pre-snap motion have been afterthoughts in the past two seasons, but new offensive coordinator Carrell Bevells is illustrating he understands how to use his skill players.

Amendola and Hockenson can be a deadly duo

In an 11-on-11 drill designed to force the offense to score a touchdown, the Lions offense starts with the ball at the opponents 45-yard line with 40 seconds left on the clock and down four points.

Matthew Stafford found Amendola on a 7-yard crosser, then spiked the ball. On the next play, the pair connected once again for roughly 15-yards, and again another spike. A quick out to Andy Jones got them in the red zone, down to roughly the 13-yard line.

The Lions set up trips right with Amendola closest to the offensive line, Hockenson to his right and Jermaine Kearse on the outside. Amendola once again ran a crossing route but Hockenson used some route deception find himself in the open area that was vacated by defenders paying attention to Amendola. It was an easy pitch and catch from Stafford to Hockenson for the touchdown.

Lining up the shifty Amendola and a massive athlete like Hockenson could give defenses fits in trying to decipher routes.

More 11-on-11 and 7-on-7

Once again, the Lions offense started hot at the beginning of practice. In the first 7-on-7 drill of the day, Amendola, Jesse James and Chris Lacy all caught touchdowns. Then in the first 11-on-11, Jermaine Kearse caught a 50-yard bomb from Stafford for a touchdown — his strong Week 3 continues.

Flipping over to the defense for the first 11-on-11, the Lions stuffed the run on first down, followed by a Jahlani Tavai tackle for loss on second, and a Justin Coleman pass breakup (PBU) on third down to get off the field. It was a very excited group of players.

Justin Coleman continues to be up and down

It was a very up and down day for Coleman — his entire camp has been that way — I had him down the PBU above, as well as another one later in the day, but he was also getting burned far too often. The potential is there, but the consistency isn’t right now.

One of the biggest problems this defense will have is covering shifty slot receivers. This secondary matches up very well with bigger receivers, but when players like Amendola show up, I’m not sure they have an answer.

Play of the day

Mike Ford drew the short stick being asked to cover Patriots first-round pick N’Keal Harry, but on this particular play, Ford stayed sticky in coverage. The ball was thrown high to Harry and the 6-4 receiver easily high-pointed the ball, but on the way down, Ford got his hand in, dislodging the ball from Harry’s hands and knocking it straight up in the air. Unfortunately for Ford, his momentum carried him a yard downfield and the ball came straight down to Harry, who despite being flat on his back, made the catch.

Running backs drills

I spent some time focusing on the running backs drills today and I came away with three impressions.

First, Kerryon Johnson is incredibly difficult to cover and routinely got open. He is also solidifying his anchor in pass blocking drills, which should help keep him on the field in every situation.

Second, Ty Johnson’s speed makes him a weapon but his pass blocking needs improvement. This most likely translates to him being limited in certain situations until he can gain consistency, but he will still be involved in the passing game because he has very solid hands and is electric in the open field.

Third, Nick Bawden is going to be a weapon as a pass-catching option, especially in the red zone because he is very difficult to cover in small spaces. He can use his power to separate, his athleticism to get off blocks with technique, and I haven’t seen him drop a ball this week.

Linebackers shifting

Christian Jones returned to the field for drills and 7-on-7s today, and with Jarrad Davis out, he settled in at WILL, shifting Jahlani Tavai to the MIKE and Jalen Reeves-Maybin to the second team MIKE. When the team went to 11-on-11s, Jones went back to work with trainers, Tavai shifted back to WILL and Reeves-Maybin was once again promoted to the MIKE.

Reeves-Maybin made the most of his reps today drawing mostly positive marks in my notebook, including an interception of Tom Brady that drew a huge ovation from the Lions sideline and the onlooking crowd.

Offensive line observations

Every time it looks like the Lions have settled on a starting five offensive linemen, they switch up the guards. Joe Dahl and Oday Aboushi returned with the starters today. The only other notable change was Graham Glasgow taking situational reps at center, shifting Luke Bowanko to right guard.

In drills versus the Patriots defensive linemen, both Aboushi and Kenny Wiggins split reps, while Glasgow and Dahl both won both their opportunities.

Among the surefire starters, Frank Ragnow dominated both his reps, Rick Wagner also won both his, while Taylor Decker’s only loss came at the hands of former Michigan Wolverine Chase Winovich.

Speaking of Winovich, he spent most of his day matched up with Ryan Pope. After clearly being on the roster bubble heading into joint practices, Pope’s matchups versus Winovich have been brutal. I’m not sure Pope has won a single rep this entire week.

Lions rookie gets ejected from camp

You may have heard, things got a bit chippier in camp today.

In the first drill of the day, Ragnow and Patriots starting nose tackle Mike Pennel gave each other some extra shoves and exchanged few words after Ragnow convincingly won two reps against him.

Later, in 11-on-11s when the Lions defense was defending the red zone, rookie Will Harris and Devon Kennard each got into some extra circulars on back-to-back plays. Fortunately, tempers calmed.

In 11-on-11s, Lions seventh-round rookie nose tackle PJ Johnson lost leverage and got put on the ground by Pats second-team guard James Ferentz (Iowa’s head coach Kirk’s son). Johnson didn’t like something about the play and got up and shoved Ferentz around the head and neck area, and a scrum ensued. It was broken up relatively quickly, but the end result was Coach Matt Patricia removing Johnson from the practice field.

Special teams

We saw full contact kickoff drills for the first time in training camp. When the Lions were covering kicks, the most notable standout was Nick Bawden who was flying down the field and in the proper position for a tackle.

When the Lions returned kickoffs, Jamal Agnew was first in line to receive, followed by Ty Johnson, back to Agnew, and then Tommylee Lewis, who was removed from the PUP list today, wrapped up drill. Johnson looked incredibly fast and broke one for what would’ve been 40-50 yards.

Brandon Powell didn’t receive any kicks in this drill but saw the field on both sides of the drill. He was in good positions as a cover man, but as a blocker, he got blown up trying to slow down a speedy Patriot. The Lions continue to put him in multiple spots in multiple settings, giving him a lot of opportunities to make the roster.

In punt coverage/return drills, Agnew once again led the group, followed by Amendola and Powell rounded out the group. The top gunner pairings today were Chris Lacy and Andy Jones, Charles Washington and Dee Virgin, as well as Mike Ford and Andre Chachere.

New special teams coach John Bonamego appears to be making some positive impacts on the Lions special teams players. In addition to Sam Martin’s improvement, which I talked about in yesterday’s Day 10 observations, he also has the players staying focused through the entire play.

After the Patriots attempted to down a punt short of the end zone by knocking the ball back into the field of play, Amendola made a savvy play by fielding the deflection, turning and running up the field. Last week, Agnew made a similar play, indicating this is being taught to them.

From Justin Rogers, DetNews:

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Tuesday’s joint practice between the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions.

  • Things got a little chippy during the second day of practice between the two teams, when Lions rookie defensive tackle P.J. Johnson and Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz getting into a post-play scrap that quickly drew a crowd of players from both squads.

Before things could escalate further, Lions coach Matt Patricia rumbled into the mass of humanity on the ATV he’s been using to get around the practice field and sent Johnson to the showers early.

“I don’t think it was a big deal,” Lions linebacker and captain Devon Kennard said after practice. “When you put guys against each other who don’t know each other, there can be a little bit of that. I think we kept it in control, for the most part.”

This incident came one day after Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien kicked rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson out of a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers for being overly physical during non-contact portions of the session.

Kennard said it’s important to remind players, especially young players, to keep their cool.

“You’ve got to keep it between the lines,” Kennard said. “If someone does something you don’t like, you have to let it go. It’s usually the second guy responding that sets it off.”

-That was true early in practice, when Detroit rookie offensive lineman Micah St. Andrews angered New England defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu during a one-on-one rep, leading to the defender giving St. Andrews a stiff shove.

Instead of retaliating, St. Andrews quickly and maturely defused the situation with some words and a pat on Kamalu’s back.

“A lot of those things are just about pride,” St. Andrews said. “I have pride in myself, know my abilities and I’m not insecure about the things I can do. I tried to defuse that situation because it would only lead to bad things for both parties. It only gets worse from there.”

  • Linebacker Jarrad Davis was sidelined for the second straight day. New injuries included Garrett Dooley, who left Monday’s practice early, and rookie defensive tackle Ray Smith.

On Davis, coach Matt Patricia didn’t have much to add.

“As far as J.D., something that just came up in practice the other day and we’re just trying to make sure that we do a good job with it, and as soon as he can get back out there, he’ll be out there,” Patricia said.

Regarding lingering injuries, Teez Tabor, Austin Bryant and Da’Shawn Hand remain out. Hand, who has been wearing a range of motion brace on his elbow, had a new, added layer of protection under the brace this morning.

  • It was largely a good day for the Lions’ offensive line in the one-on-one drills. The projected starting five won eight of their 10 reps. On the losses, rookie defensive end Chase Winovich blew past left tackle Taylor Decker and guard Kenny Wiggins got brushed aside by defensive tackle Keionta Davis.

Among the backups, Tyrell Crosby had a good showing, fighting back against a pair of bull rushes, anchoring outside the pocket against Shalique Calhoun on both reps. Joe Dahl also delivered a strong pair of reps, stymieing Byron Cowart and Kamalu.

  • On punt return, Jamal Agnew continues to look like Detroit’s best option. His speed and quickness appear to be back to where they were his rookie season, when he earned All-Pro honors.

On punt coverage, Charles Washington continues to excel as a gunner. It’s an underrated role and arguably his best path to a roster spot as part of a crowded safety group.

  • Working seven-on-seven in the red zone, Detroit’s first-team offense couldn’t carry over its momentum from the day before. Quarterback Matthew Stafford connected on three of his seven throws, sending one directly into the chest of a defender.

  • I wish I could tell you who got the hand on the ball, but the Lions did manage to block one of the Patriots’ punts. Jalen Reeves-Maybin and wide receiver Jonathan Duhart were both in the area.

Reeves-Maybin also picked off Brady during the practice, undercutting a route during seven-on-seven work.

Cornerback Mike Ford did a nice job battling with first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry on a deep pass down the sideline, managing to get a hand on the ball, but Harry came up with the unlikely catch, hauling in the deflection while on his backside.

Stafford’s deep ball consistency continues to be a lingering issue, but he dropped a dime to Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown from about 50 yards out during full-team work. Sure, the play took too long to develop, and Frank Ragnow was flagged for a hold, but it’s good to see an accurate downfield shot.

  • Both teams worked some different two-minute scenarios, with the first being 40 seconds remaining, 47 yards to go, no timeouts, needing a touchdown.

The Lions offense went first and quickly ate up 33 seconds on two Stafford passes to Danny Amendola in the middle of the field. A strike from Stafford to Andy Jones put the Lions at the 12-yard line with seven ticks remaining and the quarterback was able to salvage the ugly drive by finding tight end T.J. Hockenson on a post pattern for the “winning” touchdown.

On the Patriots’ turn, Tom Brady was nearly picked off on the first snap by Amani Oruwariye, along the left sideline, but the rookie corner couldn’t hang on while going to the ground. Two plays later, Brady made Oruwariye pay for the mistake, connecting with Phillip Dorsett on a 32-yard touchdown.

?It was another rough day for nickelback Justin Coleman. After a promising start, with an early pass breakup, Coleman routinely struggled to hang with Patriots receiver Braxton Berrios.

?Wide receiver Brandon Powell came up hurting late in practice. With no trainer seeming to notice him limping, Stafford jogged over from the sideline to offer a hand.

“A lot of guys on our team put a ton of work in,” Stafford said. "I know it’s important to him and I just wanted to chick on him. It seemed like no trainer was checking on him, so I was like, ‘Screw it, I’m going.’ I just wanted to make sure he was OK.’


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Hockenson is the real deal.

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Yes, he is. And a few other guys are doing very well too, like Tracy Walker, Danny Amendola, Graham Glasgow, Andrew Adams, and Sam Martin. Plus, Ragnow is doing pretty well at Center too, so I think our OL got better just by switching those 2 guys. Bawden and Dahl seems to be doing well, and Golladay and Marvin Jones are doing well too. Logan Thomas and Isaac Nauta and Jesse James are miles better than our TEs were last year, and JRM seems to be having a good camp too.

I dunno that Tavai is doing as good as some say, if the guy can’t cover our FB then that concerns me. And Tabor does too, the guy has some good plays but then gets toasted deep, and now he’s hurt. Justin Coleman isn’t earning the big bucks he got yet, but maybe that’ll change. It’s still early.

PS: forgot about Ty Johnson, how did he last into the 6th with those wheels?

I said in the postseason run to the draft the that lions were going to remake the running back room by getting rid of Theo and Blount. I wanted Mark Ingram,we got CJ. I wanted speed, was hoping for Henderson or Justice Hill or even Mecole Hardman. Ty Johnson hits the same points.

This was the most obvious thing I noticed @ Monday’s practice. He’s terrible at covering the RB in the flat.



It really is hard for me to understand why you don’t at least try to confuse the defense with motion, shifting, anything you can do to disrupt or force a last second chance that could lead to a mistake on their part that leaves somebody uncovered.