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Detroit Lions training camp Day 9 roundup: Defensive battles heat up

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Recapping Wednesday’s practice with recaps, highlights and photos.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions had an early morning practice on Wednesday to help the team prepare for their trip to Indianapolis. Thursday, the Lions and Colts will begin the first of two joint practices in preparation for Sunday’s preseason opener.

Wednesday’s practice was closed to the public, and, unfortunately, no Pride of Detroit staff was on hand to take in the festivities. So, instead of providing our own observations, here’s a recap of the most important notes as provided by other Lions beat writers:

Sources:

Injury updates

The Lions got back the services of a few key guys on Wednesday. Defensive end Cornelius Washington, who had sat out for the past week due to an early injury at camp, was back on the field for work. Additionally, T.J. Lang was back in the mix, after being in and out of the lineup for the first week of practice.

However, take that news with a grain of salt, as the Lions practiced without pads Wednesday. Without full contact, the Lions may simply be easing these players back, even though they may not be ready for Sunday’s game.

Here’s a list of players who sat out Wednesday’s practice, as provided by Birkett:

Still no Eric Ebron, Cornelius Lucas, Jordan Hill, Mike James or Nick Bellore at practice, and Riddick joined them on the sideline Wednesday.

With several of these players still dealing with injuries stemming from the beginning of training camp, all of their statuses for Sunday’s preseason game should be considered in jeopardy, including Theo Riddick, who has yet to shed his red no-contact jersey.

Alex Barrett has entered the DE game

Late last week, it was Jeremiah Valoaga who turned heads as a potential undrafted rookie who could contend for a defensive end spot on the roster. Wednesday, it was Barrett’s turn.

With Ezekiel Ansah still sidelined and Washington still easing his way back into the lineup, Barrett has been getting a good workload of reps. In fact, according to Tim Twentyman, Barrett was even getting some work with the starters on Wednesday.

Barrett still has a long ways to go—he was listed with the third team on the Lions’ unofficial depth chart. But if he can take advantage of the reps while Ansah, Washington, and Armonty Bryant recover from injury, he could certainly be in the mix come cut day.

Look out for Charles Washington

His name may be unfamiliar to some, but Charles Washington has suddenly entered the fray at safety. “After spending last season on the practice squad, Washington has been working his way up the depth chart, including earning semi-regular first-team reps,” Meinke wrote on Wednesday.

Washington was presumably buried under the likes of Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew. While Don Carey and Alex Carter have been getting more attention through Week 1 of training camp, it was Washington who was listed above both on the unofficial depth chart.

And now Washington has his first interception under his belt:

Via Birkett:

Washington had the play of practice Wednesday, intercepting a Jake Rudock pass intended for Kenny Golladay that Johnson Bademosi made a nice play on when he deflected it along the sideline.

Washington survived with the Lions in 2016 by making the team’s practice squad, and although he’s eligible for the squad again this year, he could make a run for the fourth or fifth safety spot with consistent play throughout the preseason.

No rest for Tim Wright

Wright was officially signed by the Lions Wednesday morning and minutes later he was out there on the practice field. Wright missed all of 2016 with a torn ACL, but he looks no worse for the wear according to Rothstein:

And it looked as if Wright had never left. He got a lot of work in his first day on the field, from playing on special teams on the field-goal unit to getting some first-team looks with Matthew Stafford and the rest of the offense.

Wright’s addition immediately catapults him into the tight end race, specifically for the No. 4 job should Detroit decide to keep four tight ends. Considering Wright is already getting some first-team reps, he has to be considered a realistic option to win a spot on the roster.

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