The Detroit Lions concluded their joint practices with the Indianapolis Colts on Friday morning. Reports out of practice were a little more scarce today and not quite as favorable to the Lions. Still, let’s recap what we know from Friday’s practice to get you ready for Sunday’s preseason opener.
- Justin Rogers: Lions’ O-line depth an issue
- Kyle Meinke: Greg Robinson trending up, but not the guards
- Dave Birkett: Bombs away for WR Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions
- Tim and Mike: Lions-Colts Day 2 practice observations
As reported earlier, offensive tackle Rick Wagner returned to practice on Friday with no limitations after leaving Thursday’s session with an undisclosed injury. Wagner practiced in full and looked like “his old dominating self,” according to Meinke.
The Lions also got Eric Ebron back after missing each practice since Day 1 of training camp. However, Ebron only took part in individual drills before taking the pads off and going back to the sidelines. After practice, Jim Caldwell said he expected Ebron back next week.
T.J. Lang remained out as he continues to rehab from his offseason hip surgery.
There was also a brief panic on Lions Twitter when this happened:
Nightmare snap for Lions as both Abdullah and Stafford come up limping. They might have banged knees.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 11, 2017
Turns out they did collide at the knees, but both returned to practice with no limitations.
Greg Robinson improving?
After a very disheartening start to training camp, Greg Robinson—for the second day in a row—received some praise from the Lions beat writers. “Greg Robinson seems to be figuring himself out at left tackle,” Meinke wrote. “Robinson did largely hold his own in one-on-ones, including pancaking Jabaal Sheard on an attempted spin today, and looked much better in team drills.”
According to Rogers, Robinson took all of the first-team snaps at left tackle again on Friday, and it appears the starting job is his to lose.
The rest of the offensive and defensive line struggled
Unfortunately, the Lions reportedly didn’t look very good in the trenches on either side of the ball Friday. While most of our attention has been on the left tackle situation, the interior of the Lions’ offensive line has a lot to prove this season, and the early returns were not good.
“In individual work, the interior linemen had a brutal day,” Rogers wrote. Joe Dahl, in particular, took a beating:
With that said, don't know if a lineman has been worse than Joe Dahl today. Getting absolutely blasted. Twice, barely got a hand on his guy— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 11, 2017
Things didn’t seem much better on the defensive side of the ball. From Tim Twentyman:
During offensive and defensive line pass-rush drills, I noted the Colts offensive line winning a majority of their one-on-one battles with the Lions defensive line. Colts blockers were disciplined, had great hand placement and anchored well.
Neither of these issues are particularly surprising, given that Detroit is hurting with injuries on both sides of the line, but considering the promising reports from Thursday’s practice, it’s a bit disappointing to see the Lions’ trenches unable to put together solid back-to-back performances.
Lions flex their WR muscles
While the Lions linemen weren’t impressing on Friday, their skill positions were. On the very first play of practice, Matthew Stafford connected on an 80-yard bomb to Marvin Jones Jr., according to Dave Birkett.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. T.J. Jones continued his impressive camp with the catch of the day:
Jared Abbrederis is also decisively rebounding from a slow start to camp. Meinke believes he is the front-runner for the Lions WR5 job—Jones is his WR4—should the Lions keep five receivers.
"He caught a few more nice passes today, including one along the left sideline on one play, and then another along the right sideline on the very next play,” Meinke wrote.
Of course, you can’t talk about Lions receivers without some Kenny Golladay hype. Twentyman said Golladay had a “pretty good” day with “more good than bad.” He’s bound to get a lot of work on Sunday, and I don’t know if there’s a more highly anticipated debut than his.