After a quick weather-related change to the schedule, the Detroit Lions began their 2017 mandatory minicamp four hours earlier than expected on Tuesday morning. Practice was open to the Detroit media, as it will be for the remaining two practices on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here’s a quick recap of the photos, videos and observations as provided by the following sources:
- Dave Birkett’s observations from Detroit Lions minicamp
- Michael Rothstein’s standouts from minicamp
- Kyle Meinke’s minicamp observations
- Tim Twentyman’s and Mike O’Hara’s Day 1 observations
Tuesday marked the first time that head coach Jim Caldwell acknowledged the injury to Tahir Whitehead, which, as Dave Birkett first reported, is a knee injury.
“He’s still injured,” Caldwell said. “I mean, he’s still rehabbing.”
Caldwell noted that Whitehead is “making great progress” and that seem to be corroborated by Whitehead’s appearance at practice. Though he didn’t go through individual or team drills, he did some serious work on the sidelines:
Video of Tahir Whitehead working out on the side during Lions practice Tuesday. https://t.co/o9gnW6LmUT pic.twitter.com/DTf95QoQQo— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) June 13, 2017
In his place, Paul Worrilow continued to get first-team reps.
Theo Riddick remained out on Tuesday while he continues to rehab from double wrist surgery. “It’s doctor’s order,” Caldwell said. Riddick continues to have a brace on his right wrist.
Taylor Decker was also at practice with a big sling on his right arm:
Lions LT Taylor Decker was at Lions practice Tuesday with his right arm in a sling. With... https://t.co/RpEphMHYv6 pic.twitter.com/fjJcqOFY04— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) June 13, 2017
Alongside him is injured right guard T.J. Lang, who appears to be making serious progress in his own rehabilitation. Lang was seen running at a slow pace on the sidelines:
WATCH: #Lions complete first day of a three-day mini-camp with video of Decker, Lang & much more pic.twitter.com/X3GI2XjWy3— FOX 2 Sports (@FOX2Sports) June 13, 2017
Michael Rothstein has the rest of the injury report from Tuesday:
In all, eight Lions players did not participate Tuesday: running back Theo Riddick, offensive linemen Lang, Corey Robinson and Taylor Decker, defensive ends Armonty Bryant and Jeremiah Valoaga, safety Don Carey and Whitehead
Left tackle update
With Decker sidelined for the next few months, it was Joe Dahl who got first crack at left tackle with the ones. However, it appears Cornelius Lucas got a fair share of playing time with the first-team offense, as well. Newly added left tackle Tony Hills got reps with the second team, while Dahl kicked to the inside with the twos and Lucas played on the right side.
Though Dahl appears to have the upper hand on the job as of right now, don’t read too much into it this early. As Meinke says, “I expect that to be an ongoing competition for weeks, with nobody settling into the No. 1 job until at least the preseason.”
Kenny Golladay impresses again
Golladay got mentions in the recaps of Rothstein, Meinke and Twentyman for another fantastic day of practice. Meinke broke down a specific touchdown catch he made on Tuesday that is bound to make the hairs on your neck stand up:
He used his big body to shield rookie corner Jamal Agnew on a deep bomb, then fully extended those long arms for a clean look at the ball. And that's the thing about Golladay -- not only is he long, at 6-foot-4, but he seems to know how to use that length to his advantage.
TJ Jones continues to get first-team reps as the third receiver in the Lions offense, but if Golladay keeps making plays like this, expect him to rise in the ranks quickly.
Jamal Agnew nabs an interception
Not much has been said about Lions fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew, but on Tuesday he made a big play that had the beat writers typing his name. Agnew grabbed a tipped ball and took it the other way for what may have been a pick-six in a game-like situation.
Agnew is still firmly behind Quandre Diggs and DJ Hayden on the depth chart at nickel cornerback, but he is also continuing to get special teams reps as a punt and kick returner.
No. 4 receiver competition update
While on the subject of punt and kick returns, here’s who was taking reps during Tuesday’s practice, per Birkett:
Along with Agnew, the Lions worked Keshawn Martin, Jace Billingsley and Dwayne Washington at kick return Tuesday. Billingsley, who's competing for the No. 4 receiver job, muffed a kick that he recovered.
Despite muffing a kick, Billingsley had an impressive day, according to Meinke. Billingsley hauled in a big touchdown on Tuesday.
One of his biggest competitors at the position—and someone who has received a large amount of praise this offseason—is Jared Abbrederis. While Abbrederis didn’t take reps as a returner, Twentyman thought he stuck out again in practice for his above-average performance. “Abbrederis seems to be more and more of a reliable target for Stafford in both 7-on-7 and team drills,” Twentyman noted in his recap.
There was an odd and scary moment at practice today when a disturbed person strolled by practice and started yelling obscenities at people in attendance. He was escorted off the premises without incident. Meinke, who was right near the individual, has the complete story on that.