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Detroit Lions training camp Day 12 observations: Da’Shawn Hand gets first-team reps

After an impressive preseason debut, the Lions rookie DL got rewarded on Monday.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions returned to practice for the first time since Friday’s preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. Perhaps because of tomorrow’s impending joint practices with the New York Giants, the Lions weren’t in full pads today and spent most of the day running at 60-70 percent speed.

That being said, practice ramped up as the day went on and there were plenty of notable moments.

Participation report

The Lions are looking pretty healthy for a team just a couple days removed from their first preseason game. If you were worried about the limited amount of playing time Taylor Decker and Golden Tate got on Friday, don’t be. Both practiced in full today, along with T.J. Lang, who sat out of the preseason opener.

The only new player to miss practice was Dwayne Washington, who also did not play on Friday. The other players to miss practice were the usuals:

  • LB Chad Meredith
  • WR Andy Jones (PUP)
  • S Stefan McClure

However, it’s worth noting that Meredith and Jones were sprinting pretty fast on the sidelines today, more than I’ve seen either run in past practices. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw both return to practice soon, which would be huge for both players, since they’re far down on the depth chart.

Da’Shawn Hand gets a promotion

It wasn’t for very long, but Da’Shawn Hand got a brief look with the first-team defense as a defensive end in a standard 4-3 look. The lineup from left to right: Hand, Ricky Jean Francois, Sylvester Williams, Ezekiel Ansah.

Prior to practice, head coach Matt Patricia uncharacteristically gave Hand some pretty nice compliments based on his preseason performance against the Raiders.

“I thought he did a really good job for a young guy,” Patricia said. “Stepped in and made some plays, was in some good positions. Good situational football, too. There were a couple of plays out in the game, situationally, that there was some awareness that he had to play with, so he did a good job.”

For most of the practice, Hand was working inside with the second team, but that promotion could be a sign of things to come, especially when the Lions are in a more basic 4-3 look that doesn’t have Devon Kennard working off the edge.

Linebackers have a rough go

During the first preseason game, the Lions linebackers looked to struggle in pass coverage (see: Jalen Reeves-Maybin). So on Monday, the Lions came out with a drill between linebackers and running backs coming out of the backfield.

The one-on-one drill heavily favored the running backs, and that was made blatantly obvious with every single rep. The drill went on for about five or six minutes, and it was just snap after snap of toasted linebackers.

I heard some people say LeGarrette Blount looked slow in the preseason opener, but he blew by both Darnell Shankey and Jonathan Freeny in back-to-back reps. Ameer Abdullah also blew by Sankey a few reps later. Then Theo Riddick and Kerryon Johnson got at least three steps on Reeves-Maybin.

The only linebacker that really seemed to hold his own during the drill was special teamer Steve Longa.

And in case you were wondering, Miles Killebrew continued to rep with the linebackers for most of the day.

Drill of the day

The Lions finished practice with a two-minute drill, which isn’t all that out of the ordinary, but there was something very interesting about Monday’s two-minute drill. They set the game clock at 2:17, put the ball on the 40-yard line, and put the Lions down by six points.

That stuck out as an oddity among the press bleachers, and the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers solved the riddle. During Friday’s preseason game, the Lions had a chance to win the game, down 16-10 with 2:17 left, starting on their own 40. Matt Cassel failed to score on the drive, so on Monday it was the other two quarterbacks’ turn.

Matthew Stafford lived up to his late-game hype, leaning heavily on Kenny Golladay to get the Lions into the red zone. As it looked like the Lions may stall in scoring position yet again, Michael Roberts came down with an impressive grab over Tavon Wilson for the game winning score with over 20 seconds left.

It took Jake Rudock a little longer, but he, too, led the second-team offense to a game-winning score. There were a lot of checkdowns to Ameer Abdullah, but Rudock looked a lot more poised than he did on Friday. TJ Jones pulled down the touchdown, capping another solid practice from the Lions No. 4 receiver.

Bounce-back day for Golladay

After a disappointing start to the preseason, Golladay got the hype train back on track. In addition to his value in the two-minute drill, he also did the impossible and burned Darius Slay on a crossing route. Golladay got out by a step and a half, and turned upfield for what would’ve been a monster gain.

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