The heat didn’t let up during the early portion of Wednesday’s practice, but it wasn’t long before fans were scampering toward the exit gates to their designated buses due to showers of rain and occasional cries of thunder. Overall, Wednesday’s practice was one of the more eventful days of training camp and provided us plenty to report on, so let’s jump right into what y’all came here for.
Ryan Spadola, Eric Ebron, Mike James and Cornelius Washington all sat out of practice today. Spadola was seen wearing a sleeve over his right knee.
You can add Tavon Wilson to the list of those wearing the red no contact jersey (Don Carey and Theo Riddick). This is a good sign for him, as it’s likely the jersey is just a precautionary measure, and having him out on the field is obviously progress for his recovery.
Closest to our vantage point today were the wide receivers, who were working mostly on red zone and goal line routes. Jared Abbrederis had easily the best rep where he adjusted to a poorly thrown back shoulder throw and managed to pluck it out of the air. He’s bouncing back after two bad practices to start camp.
TJ Jones is probably the most consistent guy out there, always running smooth routes and putting his natural hands on display. I’d give him the edge for the No. 4 receiver spot, but we’ve got a long way to go, and there are plenty of guys nipping at his heels.
Holy Anthony Zettel, Batman. Dude just blew up Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson in one on ones. Good day yesterday too.— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) August 2, 2017
That’s two days in a row where Anthony Zettel has shined in 1-on-1s. He’s made a few plays in team drills, as well. We’ll see if this translates into some good reps during preseason action. The Lions could sure use some pass rushers.
Oh, and please, Allen Park. Move the offensive line vs. defensive line 1-on-1s to where the fans can see them for a change. We would all appreciate it.
As for receivers and defensive backs, they switched things up on Wednesday and had the DBs lined up in press across from the WRs at around the 3 or 4-yard line and it was a ton of fun to watch.
Jamal Agnew had by far the best day among the secondary, and aside from getting called for pass interference on one rep (it looked clean to me from the stands), he won just about every rep he was out there for.
Teez Tabor also had his best day of camp and drew the crowd’s attention when he battled with Kenny Golladay for a couple of reps. Teez got the best of Golladay on a crosser in the back of the end zone where he broke up the pass and stuck to his man the entire way.
Standing out for the first time and in a big way was the undrafted rookie out of UNC, Des Lawrence, who put together some really solid reps in press coverage and won most of his matchups. He has a long way to go to make the final roster, but I like his chances to make the practice squad.
From what I saw, Not many of the wide receivers had strong performances in 1-on-1s other than Keshawn Martin, who looks as fluid and shifty as ever. He’s one tough guy to cover, just ask Josh Thornton, who couldn’t even get a hand on Martin on his release when they were pitted together. There is a chance that others stood out, however, as the entire left side of the field was blocked by the enormous media platform to our left.
The Lions moved some guys around at defensive end with Jeremiah Ledbetter and Anthony Zettel both getting some looks on the open and closed side with the first-team defense. They even gave Ledbetter some looks in the wide-nine alignment, which comes as a surprise to someone who believes he’s best suited as a 3-tech.
T.J. Lang was back working with the first-team offense in team drills and Laken Tomlinson was moved back to second-team, while the Lions continue to rotate Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson at left tackle. It’s unclear who the front-runner is right now.
I was unable to witness it myself, but Pro Football Focus’ Brett Whitefield, who I sat next to throughout most of Wednesday’s practice, pointed out that defensive tackle Jordan Hill blew by Graham Glasgow on one rep and managed to get to Stafford to blow the play dead.
The slot corner battle is one to follow throughout camp, and while most believe D.J. Hayden is the man to beat, this battle is far from over. Quandre Diggs threw his hat in the ring today by making an impressive play on Golden Tate in the end zone after breaking up the pass and tipping the ball to himself for an interception on Matthew Stafford. And, of course, don’t count out Jamal Agnew.
First-round pick Jarrad Davis also made some nice splash plays on defense today. Now that the team is in pads, we can get a better feel for how the linebackers are performing.
Jarrad Davis stacked and shed a lineman defending the run. Great sight to see.— Brett Whitefield (@BrettWhitefield) August 2, 2017
Last, but not least, Ameer Abdullah is still a freak of nature and impossible for some of these guys to get a hand on in the open field. Please stay healthy, Ameer.