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Lions minicamp Day 2 recap: Jake Rudock looks ‘pretty far ahead’ of Brad Kaaya

The backup quarterback battle is just kicking off.

NFL: Preseason-Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions finished Day 2 of mandatory minicamp Wednesday afternoon, this time without any interruptions from strangers who found their way onto the field.

Once again, the practice was open to the Detroit media, and they presented their observations from Wednesday’s practice later in the afternoon. Here’s a recap of Day 2.

Observation links round-up:

Injury updates

There was nothing new to report with the players who have been sitting out of practice. Tahir Whitehead is still sidelined, but still working with trainers.

However, there were three new additions to the list, according to Tim Twentyman: Mike James, Jared Abbrederis and Antwione Williams. Neither the Lions nor the writers had an update as to why those three sat out of practice on Wednesday. Abbrederis specifically has been having an excellent offseason thus far, while Williams is expected to compete for a starting job either at the SAM or WILL position. James seems like a longshot to make the team as a running back.

Here’s a complete list of those that sat out of practice, as provided by ESPN’s Michael Rothstein:

By my count, 11 Lions players didn’t participate Wednesday: Running backs Mike James and Theo Riddick, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, offensive linemen T.J. Lang, Decker and Corey Robinson, defensive linemen Armonty Bryant and Jeremiah Valoaga, linebackers Tahir Whitehead and Antwoine Williams and safety Don Carey.

Backup quarterback

All has been quiet on everyone’s favorite annual position battle: backup quarterback. However, several beat writers took notice of Brad Kaaya’s struggles on Wednesday. The Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett said Kaaya was “off target on several throws.” Rothstein said he was “all over the place,” missing his targets and “taking too long to make decisions.”

As for his competition, Jake Rudock, Birkett noted that he had a “solid” day of practice.

He made maybe the best throw of practice, when he ran a bootleg to his left and threw a strike across his body to Billingsley with Kerry Hyder in close pursuit.

It’s still very early in the competition—and Kaaya is still in the very early process of adjusting to an NFL offense—but both Rothstein and Meinke made it clear that Rudock was well ahead in this competition. “Kaaya is decidedly behind Jake Rudock in the backup QB battle,” Meinke said.

“Rudock, at this point, looks to be pretty far ahead of him heading into training camp,” Rothstein wrote of Kaaya.

Good day for Eric Ebron

Ebron is expected to take a big step in 2017, especially if the team doesn’t pick up Anquan Boldin in free agency. Thus far, there has been some more troubling reports about drops during OTAs, but Wednesday appeared to be a good day for Ebron. DetroitLions.com’s Tim Twentyman made note of two back-to-back plays from Ebron:

He got a step on safety Tavon Wilson down the left sideline, and Stafford put it right in his hands for a big play. On the very next rep, Ebron reached out and snagged a ball over the middle that was away from his body.

Meinke said that he didn’t see any drops from Ebron on Wednesday, but mentioned the same play against Wilson as “a reminder of what makes Ebron so dangerous in this offense.”

Quandre Diggs still fighting for a job

Diggs was put into a precarious position when the Lions added DJ Hayden in free agency and picked up both Teez Tabor and Jamal Agnew in the draft. However, Diggs isn’t giving up his position as the starting nickel cornerback without a fight.

Diggs has been getting reps with the first team defense all offseason, and Wednesday, he made the most of it. He snatched an interception from Matthew Stafford in the corner of the endzone, toe-tapping to keep his feet inbounds—although it was debated among beat writers whether he succeeded or not (official highlights seem to say he was easily inbounds).

Photo galleries:

Highlights