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Notes: Lions-Texans joint practice Day 1 recaps, highlights

A full recap of the best coverage from Day 1 of Lions-Texans practices.

NFL: AUG 06 Lions - Patriots Joint Training Camp Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions wrapped up their first day of joint practices with the Houston Texans on Wednesday afternoon. It was a sweltering day in Texas, with heat indexes that reached triple digits.

While we weren’t on hand for Wednesday’s practice, there was plenty of media members there to provide their analysis and information from the 90-minute session.

So here’s a recap of the biggest plays and most notable observations from around the media.

For full recaps, please check out these observation pieces:

WR1 vs. CB1

Let’s start with Darius Slay vs. DeAndre Hopkins: the premier matchup of this week of practices. Most noted that it was a back-and-forth competition between the two, and the tape seems to agree.

Early on, Slay got the best of Hopkins on a physical one-on-one rep:

But Hopkins would beat Slay on at least one more reps throughout the day. Take a look:

And Will Fuller got him once, too:

Lions offensive line improves

The Texans defensive front isn’t what it used to be, but with J.J. Watt and company, they’re still a force to be reckoned with. But many beat writers were impressed with how the Lions responded. Here’s a sampling

MLive’s Kyle Meinke:

“I was impressed by the offensive line’s ability to handle a really talented Houston front”

Freep’s Dave Birkett:

I saw the Lions and Texans working blocking against combo pass rushes later in practice and the Lions more than held their own in that drill.

J.J. Watt gave Rick Wagner some trouble with a speed rush, but the Lions’ first-team line won its other two snaps (against defensive line stunts). On the second-team, I thought Wiggins and Oday Aboushi traded off pass rushers well, while Andrew Donnal got too wide against Whitney Mercilus.

Of course, it was far from a perfect day for the Lions offense, as it seems like Whitney Mercilus especially gave the Lions trouble throughout the day.


Johnson had at least two big plays on Wednesday that had both the Texans and Lions beat writers turning their head.

Lions DBs bother Deshaun Watson

Watson provided a unique threat to the Lions with his two-way play, but it looks like Detroit’s defensive backs held their own against one of the most dangerous passers in the league.

Among those playmakers include Tracy Walker, who had a pick on Wednesday, Amani Oruwariye, who nabbed a rare interception during one-on-one drills, and recently-signed Johnathan Alston. Here’s more on Alston’s performance from Meinke:

“The first, against tight end Jordan Akins, actually broke a string of five straight completions by Watson to open the drill. Then he broke up another pass intended for receiver Tyron Johnson.”

Even Houston beat writers were impressed with the Lions’ secondary. Here’s’s John Harris:

I did think that the Lions defensive backs were solid in that 1-on-1 period. They were physical and aggressive through the catch point. Slay leads that group, but Rashaan Melvin has a bunch of experience against the Texans, having been with the Colts. Overall, they made an impression throughout the 1-on-1 period, in particular.

Check out the links at the top for more observations from Day 1 of joint practices.

  • Matthew Stafford “fell in love” with Detroit after spending 11 years there:

  • Lions Wire’s Erik Schlitt has a great background story on Lions defensive tackle Kevin Strong, who has impressed early and often at training camp.

  • Quandre Diggs, back in his hometown, brought a ton of Lions teammates to his Houston high school after practice to hand out some new backpacks to students:

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