Camp observations: Intensity increases in rush drills
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Lions’ training camp practice on Monday:
¦The big story of the day was obviously the skirmish between Laken Tomlinson and Stefan Charles, which took away from a highly competitive and entertaining series of matchups between the offensive and defensive lines in the pass-rush drill.
Riley Reiff continued his strong camp staying in front of Ezekiel Ansah on a rush from the right tackle side. Rookie Taylor Decker managed to do the same on his first rep against Devin Taylor, but the rangy defensive end turned on the jets to get the corner on a second showdown between the two.
It was a mixed bag for center Travis Swanson, who got badly beaten by Gabe Wright on one snap, but Swanson followed it up by stonewalling rookie A’Shawn Robinson.
Brandon Copeland and undrafted rookie Deonte Gibson showed off some nice pass-rush moves against tackle Cornelius Lucas. Copeland busted out a high-velocity spin move to gain inside leverage and maintained his balance just long enough to knock the tackling dummy off the chain. Gibson utilized a brutal chop, knocking aside Lucas’ arms and getting around the edge.
¦The wide receivers dominated the one-on-ones on Sunday and the defensive backs got a measure of revenge Monday, winning their fair share of battles in a drill that heavily favors the offensive player.
Cornerback Darius Slay, a day after being repeatedly beaten by Marvin Jones, stuck in the receiver’s back pocket to disrupt a short hitch. Slay also knocked away an out route intended for Jeremy Kerley.
The passing-game weapons did net their fair share of victories in the drill though, with Golden Tate, Quinshad Davis and Jay Lee corralling deep touchdown throws. Tate’s was particularly impressive as he lost his footing on his release, recovered his balance and got a half-step on cornerback Johnson Bademosi. Tate then bobbled the grab, but was able to secure it into his chest before crossing the plane.
Tight end Eric Ebron also came up with an impressive catch. Fighting through a violent and unexpected jam from rookie cornerback Ian Wells, which probably would have drawn a penalty because of how far downfield it occurred, Ebron maintain his balance and was able to tip a high pass down the seam to himself for a 20-plus yard reception.
¦Still in the red no-contact jersey, Ameer Abdullah wasn’t able to avoid all the hits, getting knocked hard to the ground during a full-team scrimmage snap.
¦Running back Theo Riddick was out again and walking with a noticeable limp. Asked about the severity of the injury, coach Jim Caldwell simply said, “Theo is coming,” whatever that means.