I'm a little bummed that this will be my last post about training camp this year for the Detroit Lions, but I had a great time meeting new people and jotting down notes from practice. I just want to say thanks to everyone for reading before I get into Tuesday's observations.
Mano a Mano
Probably my biggest pet peeve about open practices is that you're only allowed to sit down or stand around on one half of the field. So every single time that the offensive line and defensive line did their 1-on-1 drills on the opposite side of the field, it was nearly impossible to have any clue of what was going on. On Tuesday I tried my hardest to at least get a glimpse of some of the matchups.
Taylor Boggs vs. Jermelle Cudjo was an interesting matchup, considering they both had impressive performances in Detroit's preseason opener vs. the New York Jets. Boggs got the better of Cudjo and took advantage of Cudjo's low pad level by driving him into the ground. I also saw Darryl Tapp beat Corey Robinson fairly easily around the corner. Larry Warford absolutely stuffed all of his assignments and is apparently unbeatable in 1-on-1 drills. He's a monster, end of story.
The wide receivers and cornerbacks also worked on some 1-on-1 drills with mostly Matthew Stafford and Dan Orlovsky throwing the ball. Nevin Lawson had a couple of really nice plays during this period, including forcing an incompletion intended for Eric Ebron that led to this amazing quote from Darius Slay.
Quote of the day from Slay already: "Ebron you weak."— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) August 18, 2015
Lawson also made a nice break toward the ball and cut in front of Corey Fuller for an interception later on. Ryan Broyles also did particularly well catching a perfectly placed back-shoulder throw from Stafford against Slay and beat Crezdon Butler over the top for a touchdown as well.
Slay earned the other interception during this drill and got plenty of cheers as he took a ball away from Jeremy Ross. Slay wasn't fooled at all by a poorly executed crossing route from Ross. I'll tell you what, though, the fans really love Slay. Any time he gets a finger on the ball they go crazy for him. It's nice to see the Lions have a defensive back that is constantly applauded rather than ridiculed, like we were used to seeing years ago.
With that being said, Slay is always going to have to take a backseat to Calvin Johnson. On one play, Johnson shook Slay so badly that he went in the complete opposite direction when Johnson made his break. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.
The DBs did a poor job of defending go routes in this period, specifically. Greg Salas put the burners on and had an easy time beating Chris Owens for a touchdown, while TJ Jones made a beautiful contested grab on a go route over Quandre Diggs for a TD.
- Jocquel Skinner is probably a name you either haven't heard a whole lot of yet or one that you had no idea was even on the roster (I'm guilty of the latter). I don't expect him to make the final roster at all, but he caught my eye and actually made a really nice deflection during 7-on-7 drills.
- Kellen Moore had another bad practice and I have no idea what's going on with him. In years past, Moore was the guy you'd praise for being a really smart player who had the fundamentals down. But for some reason he keeps running into problems with fumbling snaps and making poor decisions.
Kellen Moore just fell on his ass immediately after the snap. Lol.— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) August 18, 2015
And yes, I've shamelessly used my own tweets for this article.
- Among those working with the first team were Laken Tomlinson (left guard), Cornelius Lucas (right tackle) and Josh Wilson (nickel).
- Zach Zenner reportedly worked with the first-team offense during Monday's practice and received some early reps with the ones during Tuesday's practice as well. George Winn also got at least a couple snaps with the first team toward the end of practice. I've been really impressed with Zenner's ability to run the ball. I'll be interested to see the snap counts and performances between those two guys during this week's game against the Washington Redskins.
- There were no new injuries that I saw, although Tomlinson left the field to get his foot checked out for a second before getting back on the field later. Joseph Fauria was moving pretty well and didn't look like his ankle was bothering him. There was a tight end screen designed for him where he delivered a blow to Diggs at the end of the play. It's nice to see him back out there.
Alex Carter is getting even closer to returning to practice and doesn't appear to be running with any sort of limp anymore. Hopefully he'll be practicing pretty soon and get ready for at least one game of preseason action.