It was another hot and balmy day at Allen Park as the Detroit Lions took the field for their second of three minicamp practices. Intensity remained high, as the team focused heavily again on one-on-ones, and seven-on-sevens in the red zone with some special teams sprinkled in.
Wednesday’s session continued the trend of high-energy output from both the coaching staff and the players, with a little fun to end the day’s session. Here are my overall thoughts on Day 2 of minicamp.
Five of the Lions’ 89 players were not practicing and were not seen on the sidelines on Wednesday:
- WR Damion Ratley
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
- CB Jeff Okudah
- CB Jerry Jacobs
- DE Austin Bryant
Earlier in the day, head coach Dan Campbell noted that Bryant and Reeves-Maybin were suffering from some minor injuries and it appears they are being held out for precautionary reasons.
The reason for Jeff Okudah’s absence is not yet known, but it’s worth noting he finished Tuesday’s practice without incident. Derrick Barnes returned to action after sitting out on Tuesday.
The defense picked up where it left off on Tuesday, which is to say they had a pretty good edge on the offense to start the day. Ifeatu Melifonwu and Will Harris picked up early pass breakups on Breshad Perriman and Kalif Raymond, respectfully. Rookie cornerback AJ Parker and Corn Elder also got their hands on passes, with Elder’s rep coming against projected starter Tyrell Williams.
For the first time in minicamp, we saw the offense and defense face-off at midfield during seven-on-sevens, rather than red zone action (though that would come later).
During this session, tight ends absolutely took over the show. Even though T.J. Hockenson had a drop with Alex Anzalone in tight coverage during the first set of reps, he made up for it with an easy short reception during the second set. But the real show came from the Lions’ reserves. Alize Mack caught a rope from Jared Goff right up the middle on a seam route, beating Dean Marlowe. A few reps later with David Blough at quarterback, Brock Wright nearly did the exact same thing.
One other quick note from this set of reps, Quintez Cephus had a very physical play against Parker. First, he arguably got away with a push-off, then followed it up with an aggressive stiff-arm right next to the defensive sideline that nearly started a scrum. The sides separated after some chatter without incident.
For the first time in front of media, the Lions worked on some kickoffs. Of note, during the first set of kickoffs, Victor Bolden and Tom Kennedy split return duties. For the second set of special teams reps, it was Kalif Raymond and... wait for it... D’Andre Swift.
As practice was winding down, the Lions had a quick competition break. In the middle of the field, the Lions set up two big circles with one tackling dummy on the perimeter. One circle was for an offensive player, the other was for a defensive player.
The two players would then race, having to complete one lap around the circle—working on speed and bend—and the first to hit the dummy wins. Here were the results of the four reps I saw:
- LB Shaun Dion Hamilton defeated TE Jake Hausmann
- RB Jamaal Williams defeated S Dean Marlowe (and, of course, danced afterward)
- WR Victor Bolden defeated CB Corn Elder
Then, to close things out, the coaches got involved. In an extremely ugly rep, defensive assistant Brian Duker edged out offensive quality control coach Steve Oliver.
7-on-7s, goal line
After getting stymied by the defense yesterday, Goff and the offense took command on Wednesday. Goff went three-for-three in his first set of goal line passes, but the defense didn’t make it easy. D’Andre Swift made the play of the day with a one-handed, bobbling catch with Jahlani Tavai all over him. Swift has been unguardable all offseason (he juked Alex Brown earlier in practice that had Brown limping afterward), but it was great coverage from Tavai.
The other two touchdowns belonged to Tyrell Williams with Oruwariye in close coverage and Hockenson, who had Will Harris complaining of a push-off. In the next set of reps from the first-string offense, Hockenson left Harris three steps in the dust for an easy score.
Fullback Jason Cabinda closed out practice with a touchdown grab over linebacker Anthony Pittman, who was visibly upset with himself for letting the offense win the day.
- Goff started the day with some inaccuracies early in practice but progressively got better throughout the day, including one beautifully dropped 40-yard pass to Bolden that was perfectly placed away from Tracy Walker with still enough room for Bolden to toe-touch before landing out of bounds.
- Goff and Hockenson have a chemistry that you can literally see developing at practice. After a well-placed ball during positional drills, Goff held up a thumbs up toward Hockenson, seemingly asking, “Was that where you want that pass?” When Hockenson noticed the thumbs up, he returned it with a thumbs up and a nod. No words needed to be exchanged.
- With no Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derrick Barnes still working his way back to full reps, Shaun Dion Hamilton got some first-team reps during individual drills for the linebackers.