Didn’t find this until today, thought it was worth reading for those of us thirsting for tidbits of information. However:
The Detroit Lions published a video of the third day of their organized training activities and rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai’s beautiful interception led the highlights.
With Thursday’s OTAs closed to the media, we are left to over-dissect the short video highlights and photos published by the team in an effort to feed the fans with content. Sure, the Lions likely practiced for two hours and only gave us 73-seconds to look at in their video, but there’s still some information to be gained.
Let the over-dissection begin:
The video starts off with a bunch of close-up shots of both vets and newcomers getting in drill work and with Danny Amendola lined up in the slot right with what looks like the starters – no real surprises.
The first bit of fun happens at the 29-second mark when Kerryon Johnson reminds fans how his hands are an underrated part of his game when he highpoints the ball, adjusting to it with a spin in mid-air. He got a nice atta-boy hand clap from new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell who had a front-row seat for it, and you can hear someone say “there ya go” in the background.
The very next scene shows Tavai breaking the huddle, which is something the MIKE linebacker typically does and matches earlier reports of him operating out of this slot with the second team.
Then this happened:
Tavai makes a nice play on the ball (thrown by Tom Savage) breaking from what appears to be a shallow zone spot in the middle of the field, securing the interception and taking it the other way. But there’s more information to gather from the video if we look at what’s happening around Tavai.
Notice to Tavai’s left, we can see undrafted rookie EDGE rusher Malik Carney (No. 53) operating out of the JACK linebacker spot. He was a defensive end at North Carolina but showed promise when he dropped into coverage and this video illustrates what we at Lions Wire have speculated since the draft, that the JACK linebacker spot is a natural fit for him.
The pass was intended for first-round pick tight end T.J. Hockenson (No. 88) and he was covered by third-round pick safety Will Harris (No. 43). This also matches up with Harris’ presumed role as the Lions’ Joker safety, where he will be matching up with tight ends and running backs as a third-safety operating out of the linebacker level. Harris versus Tavon Wilson competing for this role will be a fun one to watch in training camp.
In the next scene, we see new slot receiver Tommy Lee Lewis catch a touchdown and then show off his hops in a celebration. This also gives us a cool look at the video screen the Lions have been using at practice to allow them to watch replays of practice as it happens and make adjustments on the fly.
At the 50-second mark, we get a glimpse of how smooth Hockenson really is. A simple head fake and quick hips allow him to easily gain separation from rookie linebacker Tre Lamar.
The video concludes with Jarrad Davis fielding a Sam Martin punt and the defensive players roaring with excitement. Next week the Lions will hold another three days of voluntary OTAs and we are sure to get more videos.