Now into their second week of training camp, the Detroit Lions are only a couple of days away from their first preseason matchup this Thursday against the New York Jets. Once again, I'll be doing things a little differently in this edition of training camp observations. Since I wasn't able to post last Saturday's scrimmage observations, I'll be combining it with Monday's observations while determining which players' stock is going up and vice versa.
George Winn - Earlier in camp, I mentioned that the battle for the fourth running back spot was neck-and-neck between Winn and Zach Zenner. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Winn has put together a couple of nice performances in practice and is the obvious frontrunner as a special teams contributor as well.
Michael Burton - Burton is the real deal, guys. The projected starting fullback is having a great camp so far, especially over the past few practices. On Monday, I was able to watch the linebackers and running backs go up against each other in 1-on-1 drills, and I have to say that Burton was easily the most impressive of the group. On his first two reps he absolutely stonewalled DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch, before finally letting Levy get by (we'll let it slide) on the last rep. On top of that, Burton also made a beautiful diving grab in 11-on-11s on Monday.
Andrew Peacock - The most impressive performance during last Saturday's scrimmage may have belonged to Peacock. He was working with Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore for most of his reps, which means he caught a ton of passes away from his body (and looked good doing it). Monday's practice wasn't as great for him. He had two drops while working on comeback routes without the defense. Peacock is a guy who I think has a real shot at making the roster as a slot receiver, so make sure you keep an eye out for him during the preseason.
TJ Jones - There really isn't a whole lot you can say negatively about Jones so far. He hasn't had any great days or any terrible days, but he's been consistently good. I'm really looking forward to seeing if he can continue to look solid in some actual preseason games.
Eric Ebron - Ebron has made it a point to avoid the media and focus on football, and I can't say that I blame him. It really seems to be paying off for him as well, because he's been causing a ton of mismatches throughout camp and looks poised for a breakout season. Keep your fingers crossed, Lions fans.
Laken Tomlinson - It's never easy for a rookie O-lineman to win a starting job, no matter what the situation. Manny Ramirez has been given most of the reps as the starting left guard, but Tomlinson has looked great when given the chance. During Monday's practice, both Tomlinson and Ramirez started with the first-team offense, with Ramirez playing center. It's only a matter of time before Tomlinson wins the starting LG job.
Caraun Reid - Reid has made a huge leap since his rookie year. Not only is he impressing on the field, but he even looks stronger and healthier. Tyrunn Walker is expected to be the starter alongside Haloti Ngata, but Reid has a real shot at taking snaps away from Walker if he continues to impress.
Devin Taylor - The lack of depth at the defensive end position has brought a lot of cause for concern throughout the offseason, especially with Jason Jones on the PUP list. Some of the bright spots during camp have been Taylor, Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt. Taylor, coming off of a disappointing sophomore year, had a great first week of camp and has been abusing almost every O-lineman they put in front of him.
Kyle Van Noy - There were high expectations for KVN last year before dealing with the injury bug. Now that he's fully healed, KVN is becoming noticeably better each and every day. The biggest area of improvement he's had is his ability to drop back and play coverage. Just from the past two practices alone I've seen three separate plays where KVN stuck with his assignment and broke up the pass.
KVN is going to have a tough time beating Tahir Whitehead for the starting SAM job, but at the very least we know that the Lions are four-deep at LB. I can't remember the last time they had this much depth at a position.
Darius Slay - What a stud.
Zach Zenner - Zenner hasn't been bad by any stretch, but he's going to have to do more if he wants to make the final cut. Between Zenner and Winn, they seem to be on the same level from a rushing standpoint, but Winn has him beat at blocking and special teams. During Monday's practice, Zenner had a couple of reps during 1-on-1s where he looked bad and a couple where he held his own. Unfortunately for him, the bad ones looked REALLY bad.
Ryan Broyles - Broyles sat out Monday's practice due to an undisclosed injury, although Jim Caldwell believes it to be minor. Minor or not, this doesn't sound good for Broyles, who needs all the reps he can get if he wants to remain a Lion.
Corey Robinson - Penalties plagued Robinson during Saturday's scrimmage; he's had a rough couple of practices lately. Both Taylor and Larry Webster have been giving Robinson headaches during 1-on-1 drills. It appears that Michael Williams is well ahead of Robinson at this point.
Larry Webster - Webster has done an okay job during 1-on-1 drills, but has been nearly invisible in team drills. If he wants to see some regular-season action, he's going to have to start making a name for himself relatively soon.
Alex Carter - Carter suffered an ankle injury prior to training camp, but all signs were pointing to a quick return. That is until he was spotted with a noticeable limp on the sidelines during Monday's practice. The rookie cornerback will likely sit out this week's game vs. the Jets.
Play of the Day
The most memorable moment of Monday came during 1-on-1 drills between the LBs and RBs. Tahir Whitehead was blatantly held by a RB whose name is escaping me right now, but after being held for a good 5 seconds, he let out a loud yell and pounced on the bag they were supposed to hit. This gave the crowd something to laugh and cheer about after a quiet start to practice.
That's about all I have for Monday, but I'll be back at it on Tuesday. Follow me on Twitter at @alex_reno for live updates, and feel free to ask any questions or tell me who you'd like me to focus on during Tuesday's practice.