The Detroit Lions opted to take the pads off on Thursday, after four straight practices fully suited up. As the Lions prepare for their scrimmage at Ford Field Friday night, it was another bright, shiny day at Allen Park for training camp.
Here are my observations from Day 7 of camp.
There were no changes in the participation report from Wednesday. The following players remain non-participants during positional and team drills:
- Christian Jones
- Malik Carney
- Jonathan Wynn
- Da’Shawn Hand
- Austin Bryant
- Mike Daniels
- Marcus Cooper
- Devon Kennard
- Tommylee Lewis (PUP)
- Steve Longa (PUP)
- Trey Flowers (PUP)
- Darius Slay (NFI)
- Darius Kilgo (NFI)
- Damon Harrison Sr. (NFI)
That all being said, it was very clear that both Devon Kennard and Malik Carney were moving around pretty well with the trainers and should be back soon. Kennard had his helmet and went through warmups and stretches, but didn’t do much once the practice was in full swing.
After sitting out the final few team drills on Wednesday, Jarrad Davis was a full go on Thursday, so no concern there.
Arise, Amani Oruwariye
The 2019 Detroit Lions Name Bracket Champion—and Lions fifth-round pick—Amani Oruwariye split reps with Teez Tabor on the first-team defense.
It was a very up-and-down day for the rookie. He really struggled in one-on-ones against Kenny Golladay, and Marvin Jones torched him for a 50+ yard touchdown on a two-minute drill. This was an end-of-game scenario the Lions ran, and the one thing you can’t do at the end of games is get beat deep. Either Oruwariye tried to jump a double move or just fell, but he wasn’t within 15 yards of Jones when he came down with the catch.
However, Oruwariye finished strong, wrestling a ball away from Golladay in the end zone for a big red-zone interception. It wasn’t a great ball from Matthew Stafford, but wrestling the ball away from Golladay is no easy task.
It wasn’t a particularly strong day from Tabor either, so it looks like the Lions are still searching for their CB3. At this point, it’s safe to say that Rashaan Melvin is ahead of both on the depth chart... for now.
Jermaine Kearse starts to make noise
Kearse had an extremely quiet first week in camp, leading some to believe he’s sliding down onto the roster bubble. However, Wednesday’s practice was a big step in the right direction for Kearse. He made one of the best catches I’ve seen at camp this year, diving to pull the ball in and making sure his toes tapped inbounds before the rest of his body fell to the sidelines. He also had a clean beat and nice catch over Tabor in one-on-ones.
As guys like Chris Lacy, Andy Jones and rookie Travis Fulgham continue to have hot and cold days, Detroit’s search for a fourth receiver remains uncertain. I would still have Kearse in, and a day like today certainly helps.
Mike Ford impresses
While the rest of the Lions cornerbacks struggled—after an amazing day on Wednesday—Ford was the lone standout among the cornerbacks. He made a couple of good plays on Day 7, including punching the ball out from Lacy for an incomplete pass or fumble. Later, he had a really solid pass breakup on Kearse.
Ford is still repping with the twos and threes, so there’s a long road before I’d consider him a threat for a roster spot, but it was a big step in the right direction after what I thought was a rough start to camp.
Offensive line update
The Lions were back to their 1B offensive line formation, meaning it was—from left to right—Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl, Frank Ragnow, Oday Aboushi and Rick Wagner as your starters. Without pads, it’s hard to really judge the play of this line, but it appears the team is still messing with the combinations. As head coach Matt Patricia said last week, Detroit is simply trying to find the best five, while also cross training their players.
With the second team, we saw the Lions mix Luke Bowanko in and out of the center and right guard positions with Graham Glasgow. This is the second straight day Bowanko has been moved around, although most of his reps on Thursday were at center. He even got one first-team rep during 11-on-11s after Frank Ragnow was running a lap due to a pre-snap penalty.
Odds and ends
- It hasn’t been a particularly good stretch of practices for Justin Coleman. Danny Amendola beat him handily twice today—once in one-on-ones, once in team drills. And Brandon Powell joined the party today, too. It didn’t get any better when lined up outside. Marvin Jones Jr. cleanly beat him during full team drills.
- Nick Bawden is improving at long-snapping, ever so slightly. He had two passable snaps early in practice, and one even had a good amount of speed to it.
- I saw another good rep from defensive tackle Kevin Strong, who continue to turn heads at camp. He likely would’ve caused a game-ending sack during Detroit’s simulated two-minute drill with the second team defense.
- Miles Killebrew stood out among the linebackers in one-on-one coverage drills against the running backs.
- While he was quiet during full 11-on-11s, it was another great day from T.J. Hockenson, who is having some seriously competitive battles with Tracy Walker. Walker is almost always blanketing him in coverage, and Hockenson is almost always coming down with it anyways.
- Rookie Will Harris struggled in coverage against tight ends. He’s going to need some more time before the Lions trust him on defense.