Lions training camp: Recapping the first nine practices

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at the first nine practices of Detroit Lions training camp.

The Detroit Lions have completed nine practices so far in training camp this year. There has been a lot of news on injuries and position battles since camp opened, and you can check out a recap of what's happened so far below.

Injuries

The Lions have luckily avoided any major injuries so far during training camp. Quite a few guys have been banged up, though. Here's a rundown of all the players who have missed at least one practice because of an injury:

  • WR Devin Thomas - missed 8 practices on PUP list
  • C Leroy Harris - missed 3 practices on PUP list
  • DE Ronnell Lewis - missed 5 practices on NFI list
  • DE Jason Jones - missed 5 practices (missed a day, came back the next and has missed 4 straight since then)
  • DE Willie Young - missed 2 practices (has practiced every other day since last Thursday)
  • DE Israel Idonije - missed 4 practices (still out)
  • LB Carmen Messina - missed 5 practices
  • LB Travis Lewis - missed 1 practice (still out)
  • CB Ron Bartell - missed 3 practices
  • CB Jonte Green - missed 6 practices (still out)
  • CB Chris Greenwood - missed 5 practices (still out)
  • S Louis Delmas - missed 5 practices (practiced every other day, then missed three straight practices before returning this past Sunday)
  • S Amari Spievey - missed 2 practices

In addition to these injuries, guys like RB Theo Riddick, TE Joseph Fauria, DE Ziggy Ansah and CB Darius Slay have gotten banged up with minor injuries, but none of them have had to miss an entire practice just yet. Also, WR Calvin Johnson was given this past Sunday off as a day of rest.

Transactions

Last week, the Lions signed DT Xavier Proctor and S Trevor Coston and released DE Spencer Nealy and S Ricardo Silva. Silva has since been claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers.

Offense

At quarterback, there have been some mixed reviews on how Matthew Stafford has performed so far, but part of that may simply be because the secondary is better than usual this year. There haven't really been too many newsworthy reports on Shaun Hill, and it's believed that Thaddeus Lewis and Kellen Moore are pretty even in the battle for the third spot at quarterback.

At running back, Reggie Bush has been extremely impressive, and Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell have had flashes as well. Montell Owens, Steven Miller and Theo Riddick haven't produced a whole lot of news just yet.

The story at wide receiver is the same as always: Calvin Johnson is a beast who can't be stopped. He has been outstanding, as expected. Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles have both been fully able to practice throughout all of camp, which is a good sign that they are most or all of the way back from the injuries they suffered last season. The likes of Kris Durham, Patrick Edwards, Chaz Schilens and Corey Fuller have all had their moments in training camp, but nobody has really pulled away in the battle for the fourth spot at wide receiver just yet.

The offensive line has been interesting to follow. Riley Reiff has done quite well at left tackle, and Rob Sims and Dominic Raiola have seemingly performed quite well at left guard and center.

On the right side of the line, the story has been all of the rotating that's been going on. At right guard, Dylan Gandy and Jake Scott have each started four practices with the first team at right guard. Rodney Austin was the first-team right guard for one day, and Larry Warford has gotten some reps as the No. 1 right guard on four different days. At right tackle, Corey Hilliard and Jason Fox have rotated the reps, and currently Hilliard has spent five days with the first team versus four days for Fox.

Defense

The main story from the defensive line has been how impressive Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley look. It seems both players have taken major steps forward this offseason, which is good news for the Lions and bad news for opposing offenses.

Things are much less certain at defensive end. The Lions opened training camp with Willie Young and Jason Jones working as the No. 1 defensive ends; Ziggy Ansah rotated into the first-team defense as well. Because there have been so many injuries involving defensive ends, it's been tough to decipher a specific rotation. Ansah, Ronnell Lewis and Devin Taylor have all received No. 1 reps, but that's partly because Young, Jason Jones and Israel Idonije have missed time.

At linebacker, the battle for the starting spot at LOLB seems to be even between Ashlee Palmer, Travis Lewis and Tahir Whitehead. Each player has received three days with the first-team defense, and although Gunther Cunningham described Lewis as more of a middle linebacker, this competition still includes three players.

In the secondary, the Lions have typically had Chris Houston and Ron Bartell/Darius Slay (depending on who is healthy) at cornerback, Bill Bentley at nickelback and Glover Quin and Don Carey/Louis Delmas (if he's practicing) at safety. Overall, the secondary seems to be playing at a higher level this year than it has in quite some time for the Lions.

Special teams

The kicker battle has been very interesting to watch. Havard Rugland has shown off his leg in a big way, especially on a 58-yard field goal he made during one practice. In total, he's gone 16-for-19 or 17-for-19 depending on who you ask, while David Akers has gone 17-for-18. This still seems like Akers' job to lose because he's got experience on his side, but Rugland has at the very least put some pressure on Akers to perform heading into the preseason.

In the battle for the return job, RB Reggie Bush, RB Steven Miller, WR Ryan Broyles, WR Micheal Spurlock, WR Mike Thomas, WR Terrence Austin, WR Cody Wilson and WR Patrick Edwards have all been given a chance to bring back punts. More recently, it appears as though the main competitors for this job are Miller, Spurlock, Thomas and Edwards.

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