It was an absolute scorching day in Allen Park for Day 2 of Detroit Lions training camp. The sun was very unkind and the bleachers weren’t nearly as full as one might think they would be during the very first day of open practice for fans. Regardless, it was a pleasant atmosphere and you could tell fans were just excited to have football back.
It was not a good day for the team in terms of injuries. Tavon Wilson was seen holding his shoulder after giving up a contested grab to tight end Darren Fells. Cornelius Washington, who has a history of injuries, was escorted off the field dealing with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Despite practicing with the first-team offense on Sunday, Cyrus Kouandjio did not participate in team drills. Greg Robinson sat out during full team drills, but did practice with Jake Rudock and the rest of the second-team in offense only drills.
The status of Eric Ebron is uncertain at this point, but he did not participate today and is still dealing with the hamstring issue that forced him to leave early on Sunday.
The same six names lined up to return punts on Day 2, and it’s safe to say that it’s not going to change for a while. Jared Abbrederis, TJ Jones, Jamal Agnew, Jace Billingsley and Keshawn Martin all took reps as returners for the entirety of the individual drill segment of practice, while Golden Tate took a few reps and left early, probably to give the other guys more reps.
For Monday’s practice, I turned my attention toward the defensive backs who were running “W” drills to test their hips, footwork and fluidity and also backpedal drills. Aside from Darius Slay, who is in another league compared to the rest of his peers, I was impressed with how fluid and quick Jamal Agnew was. I also noticed that Alex Carter looked much quicker than year’s past and has added some extra muscle to his frame. The safety move could pay dividends for him this year.
Once again, there was no way for us to watch offensive line vs. defensive line 1-on-1 drills, and that will probably be the case for the remainder of camp. It’s a bummer, because it’s easily one of the most exciting things to watch during practice and it’s the easiest way to focus on the trenches.
Running back Matt Asiata had some nice reps in 1-on-1s and shook Antwione Williams out of his cleats for an easy reception on a crossing route. Williams did not do a very good time doing these drills.
Linebacker Thurston Armbrister had the unfortunate task of covering Ameer Abdullah in space, but still managed to break up the pass on a deep ball, but only because Brad Kaaya under-threw it by about 10 yards or so.
The tight end corps looks much improved this year with the additions of Michael Roberts and Darren Fells. Roberts continues to look smooth as a receiver and Fells had a heck of a day today (more on him later).
UDFA running back Tion Green is far down the depth chart, but did manage to catch every pass that was thrown his way today and did a nice job of getting open against Jalen Reeves-Maybin.
7-on-7s and team drills
With both Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson absent, UDFA tackle Storm Norton out of Toledo was given a chance to practice with the first-team offense. The rest of the O-line was unchanged, aside from T.J. Lang who had the day off and was replaced by Laken Tomlinson at right guard.
The play that drew the loudest cheers from fans today was a beautifully thrown ball from Matthew Stafford that connected with Golden Tate over two defenders, one of them being Darius Slay. Tate managed to barely stay in bounds with a nicely executed toe-tap on the sideline.
The most impressive performance of the day came from tight end Darren Fells, who was signed by the team back in early March. Many believed that Fells would come in and serve as the Lions’ full-time blocking tight, but Fells proved that he can be much more than just a blocking specialist, catching pass after pass during Monday’s practice in impressive fashion.
Johnson Bademosi has been given plenty of reps in team drills through two days of practice and it really looks like the Lions want him to get more looks at cornerback, but his movement skills are lacking big time. He was targeted and picked on constantly in 7-on-7s and team drills.
Jared Abbrederis had been one of the most hyped up, newly acquired Lions after a impressing during OTAs and minicamp, but the first two days of training camp have not been kind to him. While nearly every other receiver has made some splash plays, Abbrederis has dropped a few easy passes, including having one hit him right in the facemask, and he hasn’t exactly stood out in a positive way just yet. It’s early, but he may be on the outside looking in right now.
The NFL Network crew visited Allen Park today and once I heard that Ian Rapoport was in attendance, I immediately sought him out to politely ask him if he could unblock me from Twitter.
You can also see ESPN’s Lions beat writer, Michael Rothstein cackling on the side while I successfully convinced Ian to give me another chance.