Detroit Lions camp got off to a rough start. Just as practice was about to get underway, a huge storm passed through, forcing the team inside their indoors facility. That meant that all of the hundreds of people who showed up and waited in line for a chance to see the team for the first time were told to head back to their cars. This included our own Ryan Mathews and Alex Reno, who were all prepared to give you their training camp observations and even provide a live report from Allen Park via Facebook Live.
Unfortunately, with the fans absent from practice, only the Lions media was allowed to observe Detroit’s first training camp practice. Team rules did not permit them to live-tweet the event, so fans were served to hours of silence before news started to flow in. Even now, we haven’t been treated to much information on what happened this afternoon. Here’s what we do know.
Taylor Decker remains at left tackle
As expected, Lions first-round pick Taylor Decker remained at the left tackle position. Decker took all of his reps at left tackle during OTAs and minicamp, and it looks like that will continue throughout training camp as well. At this point, Decker has to be the assumed starting left tackle.
Ameer Abdullah isn’t ready for full participation
Abdullah was there at practice and participated, but he was wearing the red “no-contact” jersey. Head coach Jim Caldwell acknowledged the situation, but didn’t have much to say. “You see Ameer’s out there, but Ameer has the shirt on that nobody touches him in with the red shirt, but yeah, we can still get some good work from him as well.”
Abdullah is coming off shoulder surgery in January, and this is likely a precaution. He is expected to be the team’s clear No. 1 running back this year and Caldwell doesn’t want to rush him out there quite yet. “The most important thing is him getting healthy,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, he’s been cleared, but it’s just kind of a progression that he’s going through.”
The Lions’ defensive depth chart had some surprises
With DeAndre Levy once again sidelined due to a mysterious non-football injury, the Lions had to shift their starting lineup on defense. According to a Pro Football Focus periscope session, it was Jon Bostic who took over for Levy at weakside linebacker, not Josh Bynes. This may be an instance where the Lions are just trying to see what they have in Bostic, as they are well aware of what they have in Bynes.
Additionally, from the same periscope, PFF observed that rookie linebacker Antwione Williams has already jumped to the second-team defense. Coming out of Georgia Southern as a fifth-round draft pick, Williams has a big hill to climb to contribute significantly in his rookie year, but this is a good sign for him.
Again, we don’t want to jump to conclusions here. Williams is obviously a very new guy to the Lions’ coaches, and they may want to simply see what they have in the 23-year-old.
On a less surprising note, Kyle Van Noy and Rafael Bush were also in the starting defensive lineup at strongside linebacker and strong safety, respectively. Rookie Miles Killebrew, who is also in contention for the strong safety spot, worked with the second-team group.
Early return on Anquan Boldin is very positive
Anquan Boldin was in the spotlight as the Lions’ newest acquisition (along with Dominique Tovell), and he seemed to make a good impression on most observers.
Anquan Boldin worked with the starters out of the slot today, had really good early chemistry with Stafford. TJ Jones on outside with 2s— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) July 29, 2016
Lions wasted no time giving Anquan Bolden reps with No 1 offense. Played a lot of slot today. TJ Jones a backup on the outside.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) July 29, 2016
Boldin himself talked about his comfort level with the team already, specifically his chemistry with Matthew Stafford. Just one practice in, Boldin already loves what he sees in his new quarterback. “He’s a guy that makes it easy,” Boldin said. “He puts the ball in a very catchable place.”
The Lions continue practice on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. The practice is open to specific suiteholders and club level season ticket holders, so fans will have their first look at the team then.