The Detroit Lions finished their sixth of 10 organized team activities on Thursday. It was just their second session available to the media in the two weeks of practices. Here are the biggest observations from Thursday's practice.
Taylor Decker remains at left tackle
Taylor Decker getting first team reps in one practice doesn't say much. But now Decker has been slotted on the blind side in at least four of six practices (two available to the public, and two confirmed by the team's photo galleries of practices). This means one of two things: either the Lions are trying extremely hard to see if Decker is capable of taking the left tackle position this year, or Detroit fully plans on having him on the left side and wants to get him as many reps as possible. Either way, Decker's chances at being the team's starting left tackle only continue to rise. And according to Jim Caldwell, Riley Reiff is taking the move to right tackle pretty well.
Graham Glasgow has a higher hill to climb
Travis Swanson sat out of Thursday's practice, meaning the starting center job was up for grabs. One would think third-round pick Graham Glasgow would step up, but the Lions instead chose Gabe Ikard to play with the first-team unit. Many believe Glasgow will eventually take over the starting job from Swanson, but at this point, he has to leapfrog two players to get there.
The Lions are running low on wide receivers
Attendance at Thursday's OTAs was lacking, as the team has a handful of players still looking to heal up. While the Lions are already hurting at tight end and running back, the wide receivers were bit by the injury bug this week. TJ Jones, Jeremy Kerley, Corey Fuller and Jace Billingsley all sat out of practice. This left the door open for players like UDFA Jay Lee and former Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell to make their case for a spot on the roster.
Here's a look at all of who missed Thursday's practice:
Ebron, Abdullah, Swanson, Kerley, TJ Jones, Fuller, Ridley, Quin, Tulloch among those sitting out OTAs today.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) June 2, 2016
Also out: D Washington, Billingsley, Pettigrew, Ola, C Robinson, Reid, Ian Wells, Charles Washington— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) June 2, 2016
The Lions coaches are high on Kyle Van Noy
After practice was over, Van Noy seemed to be the name on every coach's mouth. "He's really trusting his eyes and he's in really good shape right now," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said as he met with the media.
Van Noy has struggled to make any sort of impact on defense, mostly getting time at special teams during his first two seasons. One of the biggest flaws in Van Noy's game has been his coverage and instincts. Head coach Jim Caldwell believes he's improved in that aspect of his game. "You can see a difference out there he’s moving along extremely well. He’s playing the position a lot better he’s making good progress," Caldwell said.
Last week, we saw Van Noy taking reps with the first-team defense at strong-side linebacker. Perhaps that was more than just a test.