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Wednesday open thread: What has been the biggest Lions training camp surprise so far?

We already have several storylines to follow in the first week of training camp.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s just the first week of training camp, but it might as well be September. We’re already knee-deep in Detroit Lions football, with several storylines to follow already. Injuries, free agent signings, and more have been rolling from day one. What has been the biggest surprise so far?

Question of the day: What has been the biggest surprise from Detroit Lions training camp so far?

I think there are a few candidates for this question. The first that comes to mind is C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s knee injury (knock on wood) not being season-ending. That’s typically the default for a guy who gets carted off the field with a light-contact injury. The fact that we’re even talking about Gardner-Johnson still playing this year is a stroke of luck beyond any that has hit this franchise in decades.

Another that comes to mind is free agent signings or lack thereof. Backup quarterback is the most overhyped position when your quarterback is healthy, but the most important when your quarterback isn’t. Teddy Bridgewater has been flirting with the Lions, and our very own Ryan Mathews eloquently laid out why signing Bridgewater should be as much of a priority as anything else if this team wants to contend. I wholeheartedly agree. Bridgewater is one of the few backups in this league who can step in and save a franchise from being completely doomed should their starting quarterback go down.

You didn’t think you were leaving here without special teams content, did you? Another big surprise was the Lions’ decision to cut incumbent kicker Michael Badgley. I was of the assumption that, because Badgley and Riley Patterson are similar players, the Lions would stick with Badgley for the sake of continuity. While head coach Dan Campbell had a similar assessment of the players, he took that as a reason to opt for change, wanting a closer look at Patterson through training camp.

These are important storylines to follow and follow we shall. However, I think the most surprising part of training camp thus far has been the presence of a healthy Levi Onwuzurike. Onwuzurike has simply not been able to stay on the field since the Lions drafted him in the second round two years ago. As Chris, Morgan, and I discussed on the new Deep Dish Dives podcast, any presence from Onwuzurike on this team is just the cherry on top of whatever the Lions already have on the defensive line.

It truly was a shocker to hear that he was heading into training camp healthy. I won’t hold my breath for anything into the season; I’ll believe things are different this time when I see it. I would have been less surprised to see Onwuzurike never play a down of football again than I was to see him ready for training camp.

It’s a positive development for a guy who really could use some good luck, and a step in the right direction for a team that is still holding out hope for their expensive former draft pick.

What do you think has been the biggest surprise of training camp so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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