The Detroit Lions held the second day of their 2022 training camp Thursday as the team continues to pile up the days. Jeremy Raisman and I were in to watch the workouts today, as usual, and we’ll have plenty of coverage for fans to consume.
If you missed the first day notes, you can find them here.
When the application was launched, there were no changes from yesterday, with Jason Cabinda, Romeo Okwara, Josh Paschal and Jerry Jacobs remaining on the PPP list, while Jameson Williams, Natriz Patrick, CJ Moore and Dan Skipper remain on the NFP list.
We received a clarification regarding Pascal’s sports hernia, when Jeremy Campbell asked if the injury required surgery, and we’ve updated our article from yesterday with more detail. Pascal underwent surgery during OTAs and with an estimated 12-week recovery period, he’ll be out for a major boot camp, if not all.
On the field, one notable injury was that of UDFA rookie running back Greg Bell. Bale fell 7 on 7 and the coaches tended to him. He was able to stand with assistance but had difficulty walking. The cart was brought in to transport him, but he seemed to find it difficult to rest and chose to walk instead with the help of the coach. I don’t want to speculate too much about the injury but as Reisman pointed out on Twitter, it was ‘difficult scene’.
Jared Goff’s crime
The Lions’ Crime continues to spin through the early stages of their playbook, and while I can’t reveal many details, we did see more action and creativity before the snap. They still have to shoot a lot of depth shots, but without platforms and limited live action training, that’s probably by design.
When he’s in positional or group drills, Goff keeps getting priority weapons to throw, even changing the pass picking order to align the start with #16. Placing top goals with Goff might not seem like a big deal, but it helps build chemistry and keeps things consistent. . Goff has held throwing sessions with several of the novices during the holiday season, and the carry-over from that extra work is paying off.
Goff has always had a strong relationship with Josh Reynolds – he made another appearance on Thursday – and Amon Ra Saint Brown, but it’s easy to see his relationship grow with others, like DJ Chark.
“(I) got used to the way he throws the ball,” Shark told the media after training. “It’s very compatible with the way he’s throwing. At this point, I kind of know where to expect the ball to be, the type of passes, as in philosophy and things like that. So I think getting a head start on that during those OTAs was pretty big.”
While the physical work is evident, Chark also noted that Goff is readily available to help with the mental side of the offense as well, having co-developed the offensive playbook with offensive coordinator Ben Johnson this season.
Sharek continued, “JG (Goff) has more control over what’s going on, and he has more input.” “I can ask the same question I would ask Ben (Johnson) or coach (Antoine Randle) L, I can go and ask him. It helps a lot when I can go straight to the source, the guy who’s throwing the ball, just on little ways, trying to figure out what he’s thinking In him, so when I line up, I sort of think the same way. We still have a lot of ways, but just today, I saw some plays what he was thinking before he was cast. I asked him if that was what he was thinking, and he said, “Yes.” Just stuff like that really comes in handy when you have a veteran QB like him.”
After Chark finished his interview with the media, instead of heading indoors, as he usually does, he took his helmet and gloves and headed back to the Jugs Machine to join St.
QB Rotation Backup continues
Among the reserve midfielders, it was David Blow’s turn to work with the second team as the reserve rotation continues. The success is slow, but you can see the progress as the players become familiar with each other.
Reynolds takes over the RB3
The order of retreating backwards began to take shape. When the team split into two groups, Craig Reynolds stayed with D’Andre Swift and Jamal Williams. Then in team practice, Reynolds finished third during the shift. Even in special teams, Reynolds found himself in a position of priority. At this point, it appears to have dominated the RB3 spot.
Tight end fights see some disconnect
The TJ Hockenson is still a reliable weapon, but it hasn’t stood out as much as in previous years. Some of that is because the pads haven’t come out yet, and we didn’t see any red zone working for the first couple of days, but he sold a screen that would have had huge results today.
Brock Wright continues to hold TE2’s position and has seen some expansion of his role in camp thus far, expanding to include some H-back responsibilities. The role for TE3 is still available, but it looks like Shane Zilstra and Garrett Griffin are ahead of the rest in the competition. With that said, it should come as no surprise that these three tight parties spend extra time together after a workout to prevent workouts.
The offensive line repeats the rotation of the first day
Not a ton to report on the offensive line today. There have been no changes to the depth chart since yesterday, while Jonah Jackson continues to have reps centered late in practice, with UDFA rookie Kevin Jarvis filling in the left guard.
“Just a depth,” Jackson said of his reps at the center. “That’s what we preach in our room. It’s depth and the ability to get the next player ready to play, whatever it is. They need me on the left tackle, the right tackle, the middle, the middle. Just get ready.”
Defensive line men settle into depth roles
The Lions’ rotation on their home defense line continues to feature Michael Brookers, Alem McNeill and Levi Onuzurik, with Jason Cornell being the fourth choice on the field. But today we saw newcomer Isaiah Buggs get some second-team reps in the nose treatment.
On the edge, we’re starting to see two types of edge lunge presenting themselves.
The first is the defensive end with the power to kick inward. Players such as Aidan Hutchinson, Austin Bryant, and John Cominsky appeared in these roles and produced. Hutchinson also manages to create pressure both outside and inside, and they are placed in places with different purposes. Bryant is also seeing some positive results, and for the second day in a row he made a play that was likely to lead to Kiss.
The passing sprint role on the other side of the line saw some crossover with the Passing Line Hybrid linebacker group. Charles Harris is the obvious starting point but Julian Okwara has seen plenty of time working behind the two defensive end points. After Okwara, the Lions seem to prefer relying on lighter players like Anthony Bateman and James Houston to supplement time. All four players in this group saw the time rush and the drop in coverage today.
Linebacker rotation continues at the top
The Lions continue to spin Alex Anzalone, Chris Burd and Derek Barnes through their starting points at the linebacker. Anzalone is in MIKE when in the field, the board, usually in WILL, and Barnes flexes depending on the pairing. When they were reduced to a single quarterback in sub-packs, the board was often the preferred choice, as would be expected with his speed and skill set. Barnes is still a work in progress but the skills are clear. His ability to close is exceptional, but as we’ve seen today, he’s still learning how to finish.
When the Lions drew on the fourth linebacker, we often saw Anthony Bateman, who was also taking reps over the edge. Slowly but surely he appears to be climbing the depth chart, and his resilience in defense, combined with the contributions of his own teams, has put him at a very favorable place.
The rest of the linebacker depth chart was Jared Davis and Shawn Dion Hamilton with the triples, and Josh Woods and Malcolm Rodriguez with the fourth streak. Rodriguez is still learning, but he quickly detonated a swinging pass to the back which showed his potential. He will likely have to stack more plays like this before he climbs the list.
High school roles are still up for grabs
Jeff Okuda and Will Harris continue to spin across the starting point and each found themselves on the positive side of several plays on Thursday. Both players had intermittent passes through 11v11, while Okudah also forced a dribble, throwing the ball off Josh Reynolds. To be fair, if it was a lined exercise, Tracy Walker might have gotten there first, reading and closing with bad intentions.
Yesterday, Saivion Smith saw most of the cast on the second-versus-player squad on the Okudah/Harris tournament, but today it’s Bobby Price’s turn to work with Unit Two. This spot could easily be a forward-moving spinning position as coaches look for players to separate themselves. Mike Hughes also got some looks on the outside today – he also saw a bit of the inside in nickel early on – and continues to show his spot value.
At Nickel, AJ Parker continues to blast off, as rookie Chase Lucas rounds out the group. Although Lucas works with all three, he’s very outspoken, and seems so sticky in coverage, that he’s even hanging out there with skillful Kalil Pimpleton. If Lucas keeps blinking, and Lions can’t land on an outside CB4, it’s entirely possible that Hughes will see more time outside.
In the safety zone, Tracy Walker and DeShon Elliott continue to start, and the reserves are settling into their positions. Behind Walker is Jojo Hughes in the second team and Brady Breeze in the third team. Behind Elliott, Ifeatu Melifonwu plays for both teams, and rookie Kirby Joseph plays for the third.
Like most rookies, Joseph will have to earn his time playing it, but as we’ve seen in camp so far, most of the newcomers in the Lions have shown the ability to work for it. On a patchy pass that saw the ball bouncing across the field, most defenders began to trot back into the group, but when defensive linebacker coach Aubrey Pleasant “launched” the ball, Joseph was the first to react and track the soccer ball into a simulated fumble.
The kickers got some action first into the camp with Austin Seibert and Riley Patterson both getting a chance to hit field goals from 29, 35, 38 and 43 yards. Seibert was perfect on the four, while Patterson missed his attempt from 29 yards to the right. It’s been a long time since kickers started rehearsing, so he might have sped it up or simply had a break in concentration, but after the foul, his kicks were right in the middle.
Both chairs also rotated kick-off duties, with most of the day’s special teams training centered. For the most part, there was a lot of blocking and throwing drills today, but we saw a few of them re-kicks as well.
The Lions used four players as kick returners, including Godwin Igwebuike, Trinity Benson, Kalil Pimpleton and Josh Johnson, but it’s worth noting that they rotated Igwebuike and Benson as starting options.
A final note, Kalif Raymond and Craig Reynolds were the mainstays (the two players directly ahead of the payoff) in kick-backs, and they are important roles for players not taking new positions.