It was a big day for the Detroit Lions, who started Day 1 of training camp on Sunday. It was also a big day for the Pride Of Detroit team, because we finally had the opportunity to report to Lions camp as credentialed media, and I was lucky enough to represent the site for Sunday’s action.
It was nice to see Theo Riddick back in action, but the team did have him wearing a red, no-contact jersey for the entirety of the practice. Riddick may still be recovering from double wrist surgery, but it looks like this is just a precautionary measure taken by the Lions.
Tight end Eric Ebron also left practice early. When asked about the injury, Caldwell joked that his daughter had suggested he wear a shirt that says “Check the report” on it, and had guessed that it was a hamstring pull, but wasn’t 100 percent sure on the injury.
As for new injuries, seven-year veteran linebacker Nick Bellore was sighted leaving practice early with a trainer, but the extent of his injury is unknown for now.
To start things off, per usual, the position groups were on the field going through individual drills as the media stood tall above season-ticket holders on an elevated platform placed in the middle of the end zone. It was difficult to see the entire practice field, but we were granted permission during a designated period to walk along the outside of the field at ground level to take some photos and videos of the drills.
The wide receivers were running in circles around what looked to be hula hoops to test their flexibility (at least that’s what I gathered from it) before hitting some pads at the end of their reps.
Lining up to return punts were the likes of Jared Abbrederis, TJ Jones, Jamal Agnew, Jace Billingsley, Golden Tate and Keshawn Martin. It’s tough to tell who has the edge on the return specialist job after one day of practice, but I did notice that Billingsley was the only player to bobble the football on one of his reps.
WR vs. DB drills
Unfortunately, we were unable to watch the offensive line vs. defensive line 1-on-1 drills—I’m actually not even sure if they ran these drills today—but we did have a good line of sight on the wide receiver vs. defensive back drills, which are always exciting for fans to watch.
Kenny Golladay wasn’t particularly pleased with his performance when he spoke to media, but I thought he had a fantastic showing for a rookie receiver, and there was a particular play where he had undrafted free agent cornerback Des Lawrence on skates following a crisp double-move that ended in a wide open touchdown.
In 7-on-7 drills, one receiver in particular stole the show and could become the new “camp darling” if he continues to impress. UDFA WR Noel Thomas made back-to-back snags in impressive fashion and had himself a very nice showing on Day 1 of camp.
Teez Tabor’s speed was tested today, and he did not rise up to the challenge. Both Michael Rector and Ryan Spadola were able to get behind the rookie corner, although neither came up with the ball. Maybe Teez is just really good at convincing receivers to drop the football.
Michael Roberts looked pretty smooth running routes during drills and had a play where he was wide open after creating a ton of separation on an out-route covered by Paul Worrilow. He wasn’t targeted a whole lot, but that was encouraging to see out of the rookie tight end.
Starting at left tackle today was Cyrus Kouandjio. Greg Robinson did not participate in team drills at all and was found standing next to Taylor Decker on the sideline. Following practice, Jim Caldwell would not elaborate on the status of Robinson, and simply said “he’s fine.” It seems to me that this is something precautionary, and we should see Robinson out there soon.
The entire first-team O-line was Kouandjio, Graham Glasgow, Travis Swanson, T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner from left-to-right. On the defensive side of the ball, Cornelius Washington was in to replace Ezekiel Ansah as the starting right defensive end, while A’Shawn Robinson, Haloti Ngata and Kerry Hyder Jr. manned the rest of the D-line.
The play wouldn’t have counted in a real game, but Alex Carter—making his transition from cornerback to safety—did a really nice job tracking the football on an underthrown ball from Jake Rudock, who drew Anthony Zettel offsides and tossed the ball up for grabs.
The first interception of camp belongs to Steve Longa, who intercepted the ball off of a Brad Kaaya throw that was tipped into the air.
UDFA defensive end Alex Barrett had a couple of nice reps with the third-team defense. He blew right past UDFA offensive tackle Storm Norton on one rep. Norton did not have himself a very good first day of camp.
First and foremost, news broke about Glover Quin’s two-year extension just minutes before camp started and reporters were scrambling to get their stories out just before practice began. This was a huge deal for the Lions, as they only had Miles Killebrew under contract following the end of this season at the safety position.
Lions owner Martha Ford was spotted at camp and received a nice round of applause, including a couple shouts from fans, one of which yelled “we love you, Martha.”
Sunday’s practice was limited to all season ticket holders, but the very first open practice begins Monday.