Thunderstorms forced the Detroit Lions Monday’s practice indoors, which was a bittersweet situation. On one hand, the fans—and some media—are not allowed indoors, so there was a quiet, less intense feel to practice.
On the other hand, we get an extremely nice elevated view of practice and can hear most of the coaches’ interaction with players. It was admittedly a little nice to get a different vantage point of practice. So here’s what I saw from Monday.
There were more players in attendance after the Lions took it cautiously on Saturday, but Detroit’s injury list remains quite lengthy.
Here’s a list of the players not participating with the new additions listed in bold:
- WR Breshad Perriman (hip) — Was at practice jogging on the sidelines
- WR Quintez Cephus (head)
- WR Damion Ratley (undisclosed) — Was at practice jogging on the sidelines
- OL Tyrell Crosby (Grade-1 hamstring) — Was at practice and went through warmups, but spent team drills on an exercise bike
- OG Tommy Kraemer (undisclosed)
- DT Nick Williams (COVID-19 list) was added Saturday morning
- DT Michael Brockers (vet rest) did more on the sideline, but still is not participating in team drills
- CB Quinton Dunbar (personal issue)
- CB Corn Elder (leg) was injured on Friday
- RB D’Andre Swift (lingering groin injury)
- DT Levi Onwuzurike (undisclosed)
Back in action:
- WR Tyrell Williams
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin — Removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list this morning
- LB Derrick Barnes
- CB Alex Brown
Injured in practice
- RB Jermar Jefferson — Got rolled over during a special teams drill and came up limping. Did not return.
The offense strikes back
For most of the camp, the defense has been far ahead of the offense—and they’ve let them know it at every turn. But during team drills on Monday, it was the offense giving it to the defense pretty consistently.
In the first set of 11-on-11s, Jared Goff was able to find a crossing Tyrell Williams, who had a good two or three steps on Jeff Okudah for a 20-yard gain (afterward, Okudah had a long chat with Aaron Glenn). During the next set of 11s, Goff finally unloaded downfield and found Williams again, this time for a 50+ yard play—albeit between Alijah Holder and D’Angelo Amos (who was released after practice), two third-stringers.
In red-zone drills, it was even more dominance. Though Tracy Walker broke up the first pass of the session, Goff completed the next four passes, including a touchdown to T.J. Hockenson between Jamie Collins and Walker, and another score to Darren Fells, who out-physicaled Walker on the play.
It’s nice to see the pendulum swing in the other direction, even without players like Breshad Perriman, Quintez Cephus, and D’Andre Swift in team drills.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin making the most out of his return
The Lions took Reeves-Maybin along slowly on Monday, placing him with the third or maybe even fourth-team defense. But he still managed to make an impact, timing a delayed blitz perfectly to “sack” David Blough untouched.
On special teams, Reeves-Maybin was placed onto the first team right away, suggesting this coaching staff knows just how valuable he is there. During the one live punting rep, Reeves-Maybin was one of the first players down the field in position to make a tackle on the returner.
Trouble at running back
With Swift still being held out of team reps, it was another day for the reserves to shine. Unfortunately, Jefferson left early, leaving most of the reps to Detroit’s deep depth. Unfortunately, those players did not rise to the occasion.
Early in practice, Dedrick Mills got chewed out by a coach the likes of which I haven’t seen yet in camp. Meanwhile, Godwin Igwebuike fumbled the ball at least twice during the day. Positive spin: it was Jahlani Tavai who forced both of them.
The good news for Igwebuike is that he knows he messed up, and he put in some extra work after practice:
Converted safety Godwin Igwebuike put a couple on the turf today, so he’s out here in the heat, by himself, working on ball security. pic.twitter.com/5tlqZfuNva— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) August 9, 2021
If Jefferson’s injury is serious enough to hold him out of Friday’s preseason game, Igwebuike, Mills, and Michael Warren—who had a really solid pass block rep on Monday—will all get an opportunity to shine.
Jack Fox love
No one is worried about Jack Fox after his Pro Bowl season last year, but sometimes you just have to appreciate what you’ve got. By moving the practice inside, you really got a bigger appreciation for just how big of a leg Fox has. He was consistently booting punts into the ceiling during warmups. Punting from the sidelines, he somehow managed to get a ball stuck in the rafters.... on the opposite side of the field. Here’s a look at just how far that was.
For reference, a football field is about 53.5 yards wide. So that means he booted it at least 60 yards in the air, with it still being a good 20+ feet high in the air when it hit the other side of the building and dot stuck behind the championship banner. Yeesh.
That strength bled over into special teams drills when he kicked a punt that traveled around 80 yards in the air (probably around 65 when you take away the snap). The punt forced Victor Bolden about 15 yards from his spot, but the returner made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch.