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Detroit Lions training camp observations: Kerryon Johnson sits first padded practice

The Lions’ commitment to run the ball was obvious on Saturday, even without Kerryon.

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions opened up practice a little bit on Saturday. Instead of a heavy focus on red zone drills, the Lions utilized the entire field on offense and defense. Perhaps more notably, the team donned full pads for the first time in training camp.

That being said, it wasn’t quite as wild of a day as Friday, and it was their shortest practice of the week.

Here are my Day 3 camp observations:

No Kerryon Johnson

The only two players who were completely unaccounted for were A’Shawn Robinson—who was excused because of a personal matter—and Kerryon Johnson. Johnson spoke with the media after practice on Friday and didn’t appear to leave with any sort of injury, so his absence remains a mystery at this point.

As for the injured players, here’s a list of guys who sat out Saturday’s practice: Jonathan Wynn, Darius Kilgo, Darius Slay, Damon Harrison Sr., Christian Jones, Malik Carney, Devon Kennard, Marcus Cooper, and Romeo Okwara. Okwara is the only new name on the list, as the rest of the players either left Friday’s practice early or have missed time prior to Saturday.

Despite the Lions making the signing official, Mike Daniels was not suited up.

Run-heavy day

It’s a little ironic that the Lions went heavy on the running game on Saturday with their lead back sidelined, but we could get a better sense of how the running backs and offensive line performed with the pads on.

The Lions ran a goal-line drill with four straight runs. From where we were standing, it looked like the Lions scored on all four reps, with the first two runs going right behind Graham Glasgow at right guard. Glasgow had a very solid day from front to back.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the first-team offensive line was going against the likes of John Atkins, Mitchell Loewen and P.J. Johnson. With Robinson, Harrison, Okwara and Mike Daniels not in the lineup, the imbalance in talent was obvious.

Offensive line back to “normal”

After shaking things up on Friday, the Lions were backed to what seems like their most likely starting front: Taylor Decker, Kenny Wiggins, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner.

Team 2 was as follows (from left to right): Tyrell Crosby, Joe Dahl, Luke Bowanko, Oday Aboushi, and Andrew Donnal

Third team: Ryan Pope, Micah St. Andrew, Leo Koloamatangi, Beau Benzschawel and Matt Nelson

One small note on Tyrell Crosby: For the first time all camp I saw him take a first-team rep as the right tackle. This was only during very early drills and didn’t last long, but worth noting.

Teez Tabor’s weaknesses emerge

For the first time all camp, the Lions did some one-on-one wide receiver vs. cornerback drills. The very first rep was Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Teez Tabor. We have seen Tabor thrive in red zone drills, but on the first play, Jones beat Tabor cleanly deep for an easy 40-yard bomb.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that his very next rep was another deep route against Andy Jones in which Tabor stayed with him stride-for-stride and the ball fell harmlessly incomplete.

Tabor would only get those two reps, so it’s hard to ding him too hard for one bad play, but it does caution a bit of the hype surrounding him over the past couple months.

Drill of the day

A new drill to camp was a tackling and fumble recovery drill. Players would tackle an inflatable dummy all the way to the ground, then scramble from their knees to locate a ball bounced around. The goal was clear: When you make a tackle, always be looking for the ball.

One interesting note on the drill is that nearly the entire team was working on it at once. The only players not involved were the quarterbacks, the offensive line, the special teamers and Detroit’s top three receivers, who were catching passes from the quarterbacks.

Odds and ends

  • Pretty cool moment during a hand-placement drill. The whistle blew to transition to the next drill, but Tavon Wilson grabbed rookie safety C.J. Moore to do one more rep with him and teach him the correct form. After the extra rep, Wilson gave Moore a little tap on the helmet. You always love to see veteran players pass down wisdom to the youngsters.
  • The Lions offensive line handled the defense all day, but during a pass rushing/blitzing/stunt drill, rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai stood out. On one rep, he slid smoothly inside and had a nice bend to create pressure up the middle. On the very next rep, he displayed his power, blowing Crosby (at left tackle) several yards back for another pressure.
  • Players I credited with at least one pass breakup: Andrew Adams (vs. Marvin Jones), Rashaan Melvin (vs. Jermaine Kearse), Mike Ford.
  • Players I credited with at least one drop: Andy Jones, Chris Lacy.
  • Best defensive play of the day came from Jamal Agnew, who had a perfect interception. Not certain, but I believe it was on Danny Amendola, who has embarrassed a lot of DBs this camp.
  • With so many defensive linemen out, Mitchell Loewen stood out as a positive along the defensive line. He would’ve had an easy sack on a play-action rollout play, and probably would have had another on an 11-on-11 play in which the quarterback couldn’t find anyone open.

Training camp continues on Sunday with another open practice at 9:30 a.m. ET. I would urge as many Lions fans to come out as possible, because—if I’m being honest—attendance has been pretty pathetic through three days. Come, say hi to the POD staff, eat a Wahlburger and overreact to every single rep with us.

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