After a couple of days of sifting through photo galleries, brief highlights and vague player comments, the Detroit Lions finally opened their OTAs to the media on Thursday. For the members of the press, it was their first look at the 2016 team in its entirety doing actual football drills. Here's a recap of everything that happened in the morning session.
For the most part, there weren't any surprises regarding who was, and who wasn't, at practice. As expected, Stephen Tulloch was not at camp, as he is still expected to be released from the team in some capacity this offseason.
As for injuries, Ameer Abdullah (shoulder), Caraun Reid (ankle) and Brandon Pettigrew (ACL) were all sidelined with known injuries. However, in addition to those three Tim Wright, Eric Ebron, Glover Quin, Michael Ola, Corey Robinson and Adam Fuehne all sat out from team drills for undisclosed reasons [UPDATE: Tim Wright has been waived from the team]. Regarding Ebron specifically, we know he is healing from some sort of injury. "He’s healing. He’s coming along," Jim Caldwell said of Ebron in his post-practice press conference.
Golden Tate was not at practice on Thursday, but Caldwell confirmed it was not an injury-related absence.
Rookie Dwayne Washington was also absent from practice, as he is not allowed to join the team until the University of Washington finishes their final exams, according to Dave Birkett.
One small surprise in camp was DeAndre Levy, who participated fully. Although in a post-practice interview, Levy admitted he was still rehabbing from the hip injury that sidelined him for nearly all of the 2015 season. But he believes he's fully on pace to participate in training camp and will be ready Week 1.
As expected, the Lions officially listed Brandon Copeland as a defensive end on their roster. However, rookie Anthonly Zettel was not given a specific designation, only "DL". Joe Dahl, as we reported from Day 1's photos, appears to be playing left tackle with the backup lines.
While the Lions did not release an official depth chart, the grouping of players gives a little indication as to where the players currently stand on the roster.
- As reported earlier, the biggest note is Taylor Decker getting the first-string snaps at left tackle, with Riley Reiff moving over to the right.
- Rafael Bush appears to currently hold the starting strong safety position. When Glover Quin sat out team drills, Isaiah Johnson stepped into his role.
- Kyle Van Noy was surprisingly pushed into the first-team defense, playing the strong-side linebacker position alongside Tahir Whitehead and Levy.
- While it's unclear who was the starting cornerback opposite Darius Slay, Alex Carter got reps both as an outside corner and a slot corner.
- Graham Glasgow is still solidly behind Travis Swanson at the center position. Glasgow saw the field exclusively with the second and third teams.
As seen in this picture from MLive.com, Raiola was at practice on Thursday. Apparently, he wasn't just stopping by to chat:
Former Lions center Dominic Raiola was at OTAs today. He's assisting the strength and conditioning coaches this offseason.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) May 26, 2016
Even though some are put off from Raiola's strong personality, it's nice to see someone who devoted his entire career to the team stick with the organization despite all of the losing.