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Detroit Lions training camp Day 8 observations: Offense struggles in 1st scrimmage

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The Lions offense had a day that would scare you.

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

It was very hot day at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park on Saturday. But that’s about all that was hot. The Lions had a rough day in a few different places. Here’s what stuck out the most.

Participation report

The Lions were missing a few big names today.

  • A’Shawn Robinson
  • T.J. Lang
  • Ezekiel Ansah
  • Andy Jones
  • Chad Meredith

Offense has a bad day

Man, it was a rough one. The Lions played a full scrimmage in practice Saturday, and if you like field goals and safeties, this was your kind of game. Whether it was Matthew Stafford, Jake Rudock or Matt Cassel, every quarterback was off today. Cassel even found himself throwing a pick six to Darnell Sankey when Teez Tabor deflected a pass into Sankey’s hand.

The final score wound up being 24-22. So points were scored. Rookie Teo Redding even grabbed himself a nice fade throw in the end zone. But there wasn’t much to get anyone excited. Especially with the first team. To be fair, Matthew Stafford was only out for a couple series, so don’t get too worried.

But still, have some concern. The Lions defense, especially the front seven, is what many would consider a weak spot. But the first team more than hold their own on Saturday.

Run game has its moments, but I’m still not sure about it

The Lions definitely tried to run the ball with everyone on Saturday. The results were just okay. What was encouraging was the many times when the backs took advantage of some holes created by the offensive line. Kerryon Johnson and Dwayne Washington both had a few nice runs. Ameer Abdullah actually showed some really nice flashes at times. He even shook Darius Slay on a long gainer. The Lions even converted on a fourth-and-1 at one point. 1-yard gains used to be the kryptonite around here.

But there were also plenty of moments that reminded you of the same things that often plague the Lions run game. Whether it be field vision issues or blocking issues, the Lions running backs found themselves running into a wall or worse, taking tackles for losses on a few occasions.

Granted this is just a scrimmage and we’ll get no true answers to our questions here. But right now, I find myself still a little hesitant to get excited about the Lions run game. Even if there were a few moments worth getting excited for.

This secondary is really good

The Lions do have the aforementioned issues on the front seven. We’ve acknowledged that and are somewhat prepared to cope with it. But if there’s one place the Lions don’t have to worry about, it’s that secondary.

Darius Slay was Darius Slaying as usual. But the guy that really sold me Saturday was DeShawn Shead. He was all over Kenny Golladay in the early going. He grabbed a couple pass breakups and Kenny couldn’t seem to shake him. It’s not easy to cover a guy of that size, but Shead made it look easy.

Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor also put in fine days of work as well. They both got multiple pass breakups and as I mentioned before, one of Tabor’s led to a pick six for his squad. The Lions could certainly clean things up opposite Glover Quin a little bit, but their safeties had a nice day.

Michael Roberts is having some problems

In case you forgot, the Lions don’t have Eric Ebron anymore. This has led to a ton of questions about the Lions tight end corps. If your hope was that Michael Roberts would swoop in to save the day, you might want to quell those hopes. Roberts had another bad day in this scrimmage. He dropped two passes. The second was absolutely groan worthy. In fact, it did elicit a groan form Lions fans in the stands.

What’s disheartening about Roberts is that his hands are so big that you would think if you catapulted a boulder to him, he’d catch it with one hand and palm it. Aside from blocking, you should be concerned about the Lions tight ends.

Lions sign Mike Payton to a four year deal

Bob Quinn offered me a fully guaranteed four-year deal after I grabbed a Matt Prater kick on the media tower. Not only did I catch it, I also had to throw my water bottle and get in position while the whole crowd watched. Nobody will remember this part, but the rest of the media guys carried me around the field on their shoulders as a marching band played Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This. It was a beautiful time.