Tempo picked up a little on Friday morning as the Detroit Lions entered their second practice of training camp. Though the team was still without pads, you could sense the players getting comfortable and confident in their play, as the competition grew harder and the players got louder.
Here are my observations for Day 2 of Detroit Lions training camp.
The Lions got a little banged up during Friday’s practice. Devon Kennard only went through warmups before leaving the field. He would eventually come back out from the facility, but did not practice. At the end of practice, he told a group of reporters that he was “alright.”
Additionally, linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback Marcus Cooper both left, but it was not clear why.
Here’s a list of the other players that did not practice at all: Darius Slay (NFI), Damon Harrison Sr. (NFI), Darius Kilgo (NFI), Tommylee Lewis (PUP), Steve Longa (PUP), Trey Flowers (PUP), A’Shawn Robinson (personal reasons) and Malik Carney.
One small note on Flowers: He got some early work on the Lions’ new infamous hill that helps players with conditioning.
Darrell Bevell’s offense is much different... and working
Over the first two days, it’s been very clear that the offense is ahead of the defense, which may come as a surprise considering it’s a brand-new offense. And while team rules prevent me from going into specifics, I think people are going to like a lot of the changes offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is making to the offense.
Pre-snap motion? It’s back, baby.
Roll-outs and play-action. Yep.
Rub concepts. As far as the eye can see.
On one play, Tom Kennedy broke wide open after a route combination left defensive backs tripping over each other and it was an easy 30-yard score.
During training camp, I really try to hold back my expectations, especially before the pads even come out, but T.J. Hockenson is making it really hard for me to hold back my excitement. For the second straight day, Hockenson was a red zone machine that the defense had no answer for. Hockenson even pulled down a big 30-40 yard touchdown catch down the seam.
He’s got strong hands, he’s getting open and he’s made just about every single contested catch I’ve seen over two days. The hype is real.
While we’re on the topic of tight ends, Logan Thomas had a big bounce-back day after having a few drops on Day 1. He hauled in two touchdowns, including one with Quandre Diggs all over his back.
Offensive line changes
Much like what we saw during OTAs and minicamp, the Lions appear to be messing around with their starting offensive line personnel.
Day 1, it looked like this: Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow, Rick Wagner
Day 2, it was this: Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl, Frank Ragnow, Oday Aboushi, Rick Wagner
At times, Graham Glasgow rotated in with the first team, playing left guard, center, and right guard throughout the day. Andrew Donnal also had a few reps at right tackle with the ones.
One interesting point about Oday Aboushi: he’s only been repping at the right guard position. So if there is only one position up for grabs on the offensive line, and if it’s at left guard, Aboushi may be on the outside looking in.
Jarrad Davis and the linebackers
It wasn’t a great day for the linebackers in coverage. Jarrad Davis continues to struggle reading plays, especially when the Lions are in zone coverage. Jahlani Tavai fared a little better, causing one breakup during a red zone drill. Jalen Reeves-Maybin continues to be the only linebacker that consistently shows he’s capable in coverage.
Overall, however, the Lions offense was able to exploit the middle of the field for most of the day.
Up and down day from Amani Oruwariye
Early on, it looked like Lions fifth-round pick Amani Oruwariye picked up where he left off on Day 1, which is to say not well. But he rebounded quite nicely as the day went on. I counted two pass breakups on the day, including a beautiful knockdown on a deep ball to Andy Jones in which he stayed stride-for-stride with the wide receiver.
Oruwariye has been consistently repping with the second-team defense, ahead of guys like Mike Ford and Andre Chachere, but behind the likes of Teez Tabor and Rashaan Melvin.
Speaking of Melvin, he had a nice interception today during 7-on-7 drills in which he was all over Kenny Golladay. It was a very promising day from Melvin, who continues to be the favorite for the CB2 job.
Justin Coleman finally makes an impression
It’s been a quiet couple of months for Justin Coleman, who was one of the biggest signings the Lions made this offseason. The nickel corner finally saw a lot of reps on Friday, both as the team’s starting nickel corner and as a second-team outside corner. His use on the outside may have had more to do with Marcus Cooper leaving practice early, but it still speaks to Coleman’s versatility.
Overall, I thought Coleman played pretty well. Occasionally, Danny Amendola would get the better of him, but overall the two battled pretty evenly.
Drill of the Day
New special teams coach John Bonamego ran one of the weirdest drills I have ever seen during practice. In what appeared to be a punt coverage drill, two groups of three players would run in separate little circles until the whistle was blown. Almost like a game of musical chairs, once the whistle was blown, the players would break the circle and sprint to their coverage lane.
If I had to guess this was a drill to make sure players stayed disciplined to their lane, even if they got turned around by blockers.
Odds and ends
- Another positive day from Andrew Adams, who looks more and more likely to not only make the team, but earn some serious playing time as the potential No. 3 safety on the roster.
- C.J. Moore had the defensive play of the game, knocking away a goal-line pass that was tipped directly to fellow safety Charles Washington for the interception.
- Nick Bawden got in on the touchdown action during 7-on-7 red zone drills, catching a nice pass with Christian Jones and Garrett Dooley draped all over him.
- Mandatory Teez Tabor update: Quiet day from Teez, but my one note on him was a play in which he was in tight, solid coverage on Golladay.
- Fourth-round rookie Austin Bryant was repping with the second-team defense as the JACK linebacker as Kennard was sitting out team drills.