While the Detroit Lions returned to practice on Monday for the first time since Wednesday, they were easing their way back into game week. The Lions were just in shells (no shoulder pads) and the overall tempo of practice was pretty slow.
In other words, my shortened observations from practice will feature more on the skill position players and the secondary, as the lack of contact made it difficult to make any meaningful observations from the play of the offensive and defensive lines.
But there was still plenty to see from a rainy Monday practice.
New injuries are bolded
Unable to practice
- QB Tim Boyle (ankle)
- WR Chad Hansen (undisclosed)
- TE Charlie Taumoepeau — Allegedly suffered broken ribs in a car accident, was waived/injured on Monday
- TE T.J. Hockenson (injured last week, not considered serious)
- G Evan Boehm (placed on IR Monday)
- OL Tyrell Crosby (Grade-1 hamstring)
- DT Nick Williams (COVID-19 list) was added last week
- DT John Penisini (undisclosed)
- DT Miles Brown (undisclosed)
- DT Da’Shawn Hand (undisclosed, not considered serious)
- LB Shaun Dion Hamilton (undisclosed)
- CB Corn Elder (Injured on Day 9 of camp)
The mysteries as to why Taumoepeau and Boehm weren’t at practice were revealed shortly after the team left the field. Taumoepeau was involved in an accident that left him with broken ribs, while Boehm is now on IR.
No surprise to see Boyle out of practice after being hit hard several times during Friday’s preseason game. He was seen with a wrap around his left ankle at practice on Monday but did not suit up.
It’s unclear what Hamilton and Brown are dealing with. Brown was at practice with a jersey on, but not participating. Hamilton was not spotted.
Limited during practice
- RB D’Andre Swift (groin) — Participated in walkthrough and stretches. No positional or team drills.
- WR Damion Ratley (undisclosed)
Swift participated in walkthroughs, warm-ups and was running on the sidelines during practice. Dan Campbell said he expects him to be limited during Tuesday’s practice, which suggests even more participation.
“Hopefully Swift is feeling better tomorrow and we can progress him in practice,” Campbell said.
Ratley was suited up and went through all the individual and positional drills, but I did not see him run in any team drills.
Returned to practice
- RB Jermar Jefferson (ankle)
- DT Levi Onwuzurike (undisclosed)
- WR Quintez Cephus (head)
- WR Breshad Perriman (hip)
All four of these players participated in at least some team drills. That’s a big move for Onwuzurike, specifically, seeing as he’s missed almost all of camp. Given that it wasn’t a fully padded practice, though, it doesn’t mean he’s necessarily he’s fully ready to go.
Return of the WR corps
The Lions’ passing attack looked a little more revitalized with some of their players back. Cephus caught a bobbling pass on a post route after beating Amani Oruwariye during 7-on-7s. A few plays later, Jared Goff scrambled after no one was particularly open and eventually found Breshad Perriman, who had slipped by Jeff Okudah.
Though both players were a welcome return to the offense, it’s worth noting that both may have to work their way back up the depth chart. Many of Perriman’s reps were with the second team on Monday, with Kalif Raymond taking the majority of WR2 snaps opposite Tyrell Williams.
Meanwhile, Tom Kennedy continues to just make plays. During the same 7-on-7s, he delivered a quick post route that created just enough space for Goff to slip it in there for a short touchdown pass.
Most of Monday’s practice was spent on the four-minute drill. First, the objective was to bleed out the clock, leading by three points. The first-team offense—going up against the second-team defense—was successful, mostly running the ball. Obviously, with no pads, it’s hard to determine how truly successful they were, but they ended up punting the ball away with only seconds left on the clock. After receiving the punt the second-string took over and had one opportunity to go the distance but their hook-and-latter was nowhere close to succeeding.
The second-team offense got their own 4-minute drill vs. the first-team defense, attempting to run out the clock, but they were nowhere near successful. They ended up having to punt the ball away with more than two minutes left.
Then the Lions attempted to run a four-minute drill trailing by four points. It was the first-team offense against the first-team secondary, but second-team front seven. The offense was able to drive deep into the defense’s territory thanks to several catches from Amon-Ra St. Brown (including a close fourth-down conversion) and Kalif Raymond.
But in the red zone, the defense stiffened up. Both Jerry Jacobs and Mike Ford picked up pass breakups
Kicker battle update
Early in practice, newbie Zane Gonzalez missed from around 45 yards, but the rest of the practice was actually quite clean. In the last special teams session of the day, Randy Bullock hit from (approximate) 33, 48, and 53. Gonzalez hit from 48 and 53. He did have to attempt the 53-yarder twice because the first attempt was blocked. It was hard to tell who blocked it, but Mike Ford certainly acted like Mike Ford blocked it.