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Detroit Lions training camp Day 9 observations: Miles Killebrew gets LB looks with 1st team

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The Lions may be considering a full-time move to linebacker.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It was a light, unpadded practice on Monday morning for the Detroit Lions, as they planned to immediately head for the airport after a short session at Allen Park. Without the pads on, and typically working at about 60 percent speed, it’s hard to draw any huge conclusions from practice, but there were still plenty of interesting wrinkles from Monday.

Participation report

The big news was Ezekiel Ansah returned to practice after coming off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Monday. Ansah only participated in individual drills, so there was really no telling how good he looked moving through walkthroughs. The best news, though, is he’s physically out there, and once practice starts ramping up, we’ll see how he looks.

Considering how they’ve treated some of their other players, I wouldn’t expect Ansah to participate in team drills during joint practices this week, but he could be up to full speed by the time they return to Allen Park.

In addition to Ansah, A’Shawn Robinson also returned to practice, but he, too, was not in team drills.

Here’s who was sidelined Monday:

  • Chad Meredith
  • Cam Johnson
  • Andy Jones
  • Stefan McClure
  • Theo Riddick

Riddick is the only new name to the list, and it’s unclear exactly why he was out, but he was working pretty hard with the trainers, so I wouldn’t expect him out long.

Miles Killebrew to linebacker?

It figures that on the same day that I called Miles Killebrew one of the bigger disappointments of training camp thus far he also had his most notable practice. Killebrew went through individual drills with the linebackers at the beginning of the practice, and even got a short series of reps with the first-team defense alongside Jarrad Davis.

To be fair, the Lions appeared to be messing around with that linebacker position a lot on Monday. Jalen Reeves-Maybin also got some time with the ones, even though he’s been almost exclusively with the second stringers all camp. For the majority of reps, it was still Christian Jones alongside Davis in two-linebacker looks.

While Killebrew is still listed as a safety on the Lions official roster, it certainly looks like he could be finally undertaking that transition to linebacker that many fans have been clamoring for. That may also give him the boost he needs to make a serious run at the team’s 53-man roster. But let’s not overreact too much to one practice.


For the first time I’ve seen in all of camp, Matthew Stafford threw a pick during Monday’s session. On a comeback route, DeShawn Shead jumped in front of a pass intended for Kenny Golladay and took it to the house. To be fair to all parties involved, the rep was taken at about 75 percent speed, so it could have turned a lot differently had everyone been giving it their all. Still, it’s another notch in Shead’s belt, who is having a solid camp thus far.

Wide receivers fight back against DBs

All camp we’ve been noting how dominant the Lions’ secondary has been in camp, but Monday the receivers won the day. Although the majority of reps were taken at slower speeds, there were a handful of game-like snaps, and the receivers took advantage. From my notes:

  • Marvin Jones Jr. completely toasted Nevin Lawson on a short crossing route. He made the cut no more than five yards downfield, yet had at least a four-yard cushion.
  • Luke Willson also made a nice cut, leaving Quandre Diggs a step behind and resulting in a nice 20-yard grab.
  • And since it’s been a couple days since the Teo Redding Hype Train was fueled, on a medium/fast-paced drill, Redding beat Lawson deep on a go-route that went for an 70-yard touchdown on a perfect pass from Matt Cassel (who spent most of his day with the third-team offense).

Drill of the day

The Lions had a couple of interesting special teams drills during the middle of practice, and the most interesting one from Monday was field goal block reps. The Lions gathered some of their fastest player (Darius Slay, Jamal Agnew, Nevin Lawson) to work on dipping their shoulder and bending around the edge before completely laying out to block a kick—don’t worry, there was a nice landing mat for them. Though we’ve seen Slay do this before (illegally), it was Lawson who stuck out, as he had one perfectly-timed block.