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Detroit Lions stock report: Turning a corner

Some struggling players finally found their footing in practice, which gives some much needed relief during a rocky training camp.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It has come a little later than I’m used to seeing, but several of the rookies seemed to have made a push during Friday’s practice just in time for the joint practice on Family Day. With the concerns I have about the roster, you can never get enough good news and there was more good than bad this time. Most of the players that needed to start improving did so, and we’re starting to see the roster taking shape. A couple of positions that were being competed for have been locked up as tight as they can be without preseason reps so we’re going to start seeing some bottom of the roster shake out.

Stock Up: Jimmy Landes, LS

As much as we joke about "Long Snapper Watch 2016" here at POD, this is a rookie fighting against a long-term veteran, Pro Bowl special teamer. It’s a tough, uphill climb and former Baylor long snapper Jimmy Landes has been slogging along. He took a sharp right in practice, nailing every one of his snaps from different angles. Our previous concerns that he was pulling his snaps to work on accuracy seem to be confirmed as his velocity was nearing Don Muhlbach levels. The rookie can sling a football.

Stock Down: Geoff Schwartz, OG

I mentioned Schwartz yesterday because other players had stepped up. He’s mentioned today for a different reason as his snap count dramatically decreased. Schwartz didn’t take a single snap with second-team offense. Rookie fifth-round pick Joe Dahl took all snaps at RG while priority free agent Chase Farris took every LG snap. I was paying attention to the DL for third team, so I didn’t see if Schwartz took time there, but the veteran’s chances of sticking as a third interior reserve OL took a pretty big hit.

Stock Up: TJ Jones, WR

If I had to guess, Jones has locked in that fourth receiver spot. He’s looked good enough that there may be games, depending on matchup, where he demands more targets than Anquan Boldin. That’s not to denigrate Boldin, who’s great, just that Jones has shown himself capable enough to be game planned with should defensive match ups prove favorable. The old adage for training camp is that you need to make a big play every day. Jones has made two every day since I started watching, and made another two today with a leaping grab of an errant Orlovsky pass and an excellent adjustment on an outside pass that he caught with his fingertips.

Stock Down: Quinshad Davis, WR

We’ve spoken several times about how good Quinshad Davis has looked in camp, and only mentioned in passing how laborious he is running routes. Today I was able to get an up close and personal view, as the receivers ran drills only a few feet away from the barriers I was standing near. I still like Davis, he’s grown on me since camp started, but it is being generous to say he "moves like a tight end". It would be more accurate to say that he moves like a blocking tight end. His movements prior to getting the ball in his hand are clumsy and his route running ability is Kris Durham-esque. There’s plenty to love in Davis, and I have no doubts he’s going to be the first player they bring to the practice squad, but I’d be shocked if he makes the team.

Stock Up: Joe Dahl, OG

This one needs a little bit of an asterisk, I’m afraid, but I chose to keep him on here anyway. From everything I have seen, Joe Dahl looks like the rookie making the biggest push on the roster. He looks incredibly smooth on the move and more than held his own in team drills. Since posting my thoughts on him, however, I was informed by several who had seen his individual drills today and yesterday (I had not, either day) that he lost far more battles than he won. So with that asterisk, he still received all of the second-team reps at RG alongside fellow rookies Graham Glasgow and Chase Farris for an all rookie interior.

Stock Down: Josh Bynes, LB

We’ve mentioned already that it was Jon Bostic, not Josh Bynes, who received the starting job at Will linebacker with DeAndre Levy out. What hasn’t been reported much is what Bynes was doing since then. Just like 2015, it all comes down to coverage. Trailing the undrafted rookie Cole Wick, Josh Bynes lost several yards on a crossing route (wheel, most likely) allowing Wick to catch the ball despite adjusting back slightly and turn upfield with no challenge. With the staff already showing less confidence in Bynes than last season, he’s left to fend off Zaviar Gooden (who didn't’ show much) and Khaseem Greene (who did) for that final reserve spot if the Lions keep one.

Quick Hits

Stock Up

CB Johnson Bademosi: Got his hands on another pass he should have caught.
CB Adairius Barnes: Barnes has had a rough camp, but looked much better today keeping tighter in coverage than the huge cushion he allowed on other days.
LB Jon Bostic: Though still rough in coverage, Bostic did a standup job closing holes in run drills.
FB Michael Burton: I feel like he shouldn’t even be on here, I mean how high can a fullback’s stock go? Still, he’s better every day and constantly impresses.
CB Crezdon Butler: Reportedly gaining more snaps with second team, Butler stands to gain the most if Alex Carter continues to struggle.
DB Don Carey: Back on the field, this time in nickel coverage, he seems to be competing with Tavon Wilson for the same spot and looked okay.
TE Orson Charles: Charles has had a rough go so far, but pulled down a couple of nice passes on Friday.
DE Brandon Copeland: I almost gave him one of the bigger spots above, as Copeland beat several OT for pressures as well as getting his hands on a Stafford pass.
WR Damian Copeland: I don’t have high hopes of him making the team, but Copeland looked fantastic in individual drills and made one slick catch in team drills.
OT Taylor Decker: The rookie is still a bit erratic, but won some battles against Ziggy Ansah which is no small feat.
OG Chase Farris: The UDFA made it on second team at left guard but...
LB Khaseem Greene: After a quiet few days, Greene had an excellent play catching Stevan Ridley at or behind the LOS.
SS Miles Killebrew: Still rolling on third team, Killebrew switched sides and played some free safety, something I hadn’t seen done with him before or expected.
CB Keith Lewis: Another DB having a rough go, Lewis had a couple nice plays in team drills with third team.
P Sam Martin: He played hackey sack with the football and played catch with fans. He’s also still an excellent punter.
FS Glover Quin: As steady a safety as I’ve seen in Detroit, Quin continues to play solid despite less than stellar play around him.
OT Riley Reiff: Finally seeing more of the hype, Reiff put several defenders on their back and won most of his battles against Devin Taylor. Still vulnerable to inside moves, though.
WR Andre Roberts: Dan Orlovsky’s favorite target in camp, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roberts have a huge preseason. Caught a sweet, tough grab in the end zone on a deep pass.
CB Darius Slay: The 50 Million Dollar Man is amazing in man coverage. I think he’s cheating, but I can’t figure out how.
DE Quanterus Smith: His stock is rock bottom, but he beat Luke Marquardt so badly he may have cost him a roster spot.
QB Matthew Stafford: It's rare to see a starting QB here, but this is more for the praise Stafford is receiving than for his actual play, which is always good in camp.
LB Kyle Van Noy: One player who struggled less than I expected was Kyle Van Noy. It’s notable here because it was coverage drills, an area he normally has issues.
DT Tyrunn Walker: Well, you can just see here:

OG Larry Warford: The big guy had a few great plays against A’Shawn Robinson and Ziggy Ansah.
LB Tahir Whitehead: The Lions starting MLB was the only linebacker I saw get a hand on the football, batting a pass down that he should have intercepted.
TE Cole Wick: He continues to impress, filling in for Eric Ebron he caught almost everything thrown to him, and every catchable pass.
DE Anthony Zettel: I was finally able to catch the Lions sixth-round pick. He wasn’t perfect by any measure, but he did beat Michael Ola with a bull rush in team drills.

Stock Down

DE Ezekiel Ansah: I’m sure he’s fine, but he did get beat several times by Taylor Decker and at least once by Larry Warford, so this is the spot for him.
WR Jace Billingsley: Had a very poorly thrown pass by Rudock hit his hands, but couldn’t catch it. Pass was bad, but if you get your hands on it, gotta corral it.
WR Anquan Boldin: Dropped a pass.

SS Rafael Bush: The first time we got to see him truly challenged in coverage, he draws Golden Tate and makes a fool of himself.
CB Alex Carter: The second year Stanford product finds himself on this list again after another poor showing.
TE Eric Ebron: He’s been a standout in camp, but was sidelined with a mystery injury. He didn’t look injured and it sounds like nothing, still here.
OG Chase Farris: ...Remember how I said he was getting second team snaps? He was completely overmatched with them.
TE Adam Fuehne: With Matthew Mulligan getting the extra 1st team reps behind Wick, Fuehne had an opportunity to stand out and failed to do so.
DE Deonte Gibson: The first significant injury of camp:

Gibson would be sidelined the rest of camp with an ice pack on his knee.
DE Wallace Gilberry: I’ve heard others say he looked good as a nickel rusher, but I haven’t seen it. Every time I’ve seen him, it’s been hitting a wall.
LB Zaviar Gooden: More of a poor showing for Gooden, who’s probably the last LB on the roster right now.
DE Kerry Hyder: Hyder was stonewalled routinely on the outside by Michael Ola.
OC Gabe Ikard: He’s stood out a ton the past few days, but went from first team to third team in a hurry.
SS Isaiah Johnson: With Don Carey back on defense, Johnson wasn’t even seeing time with third team. Had hoped to see him coming along by now.
WR Jeremy Kerley: Another day with Kerley showing next to nothing. His routes looked very crisp in individual drills, but he disappeared during team drills.
WR Jay Lee: I like Lee and he’s fighting the good fight for a roster spot, but he had one of the worst reps of camp at receiver running a bad route that directly led to a pick.
OT Luke Marquardt: Didn’t have a rep that was good. Beaten by several different DL.
TE Ben McCord: I had forgotten he was even on the team, and clearly the Lions have as well during team drills.
LS Don Muhlbach: With Landes on the rise, there has to be a corresponding move.
OT Michael Ola: A solid stand in at right tackle last season, Ola was getting beat by players you’d expect him to roast.
QB Dan Orlovsky: The No. 2 quarterback in Detroit didn’t have a great day, getting pressured and throwing some pretty awful passes when that happened.
DT Caraun Reid: Played some second team, but most of those reps went to Robinson and Thornton.
RB Stevan Ridley: My partner in crime liked what he saw in rushing drills, but I didn’t watch most of those drills. I watched passing drills where Ridley was the only back to drop any passes.
DT A’Shawn Robinson: Rarely locked up one-on-one, I didn’t get a chance to see him beat anyone manned up. He beat no double teams, a concern that carried over from Alabama.
QB Jake Rudock: He didn’t throw to nowhere again, but Rudock struggled once again in camp and had probably his worst day yet.
OC Travis Swanson: See Tyrunn Walker, above. RIP Swanson.
DE Devin Taylor: Individually liked what I saw, but lost most of his matchups against Riley Reiff.
DB Charles Washington: I was reminded he was on the team when he was taking third-team reps across from Miles Killebrew. Not a standout rookie.
RB George Winn: No longer receiving first-team reps, he’s lost all of his second-team reps to Stevan Ridley and Zach Zenner.
RB Zach Zenner: Though he’s looked significantly better in receiving drills than Ridley, he’s been losing ground on reps for rushing.
LB Raphael Kirby: Cut with an injury designation, he was replaced by a player with a much better seeding in the next Names Bracket, Chi Chi Ariguzo.

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