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  1. #1
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    Minicamp 2021 observations and updates

    Post mini camp stuff here…
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  2. #2
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    as another hot and balmy day at Allen Park as the Detroit Lions took the field for their second of three minicamp practices. Intensity remained high, as the team focused heavily again on one-on-ones, and seven-on-sevens in the red zone with some special teams sprinkled in.

    Wednesday’s session continued the trend of high-energy output from both the coaching staff and the players, with a little fun to end the day’s session. Here are my overall thoughts on Day 2 of minicamp.

    Attendance
    Five of the Lions’ 89 players were not practicing and were not seen on the sidelines on Wednesday:

    WR Damion Ratley
    LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
    CB Jeff Okudah
    CB Jerry Jacobs
    DE Austin Bryant
    Earlier in the day, head coach Dan Campbell noted that Bryant and Reeves-Maybin were suffering from some minor injuries and it appears they are being held out for precautionary reasons.

    The reason for Jeff Okudah’s absence is not yet known, but it’s worth noting he finished Tuesday’s practice without incident. Derrick Barnes returned to action after sitting out on Tuesday.

    1-on-1s
    The defense picked up where it left off on Tuesday, which is to say they had a pretty good edge on the offense to start the day. Ifeatu Melifonwu and Will Harris picked up early pass breakups on Breshad Perriman and Kalif Raymond, respectfully. Rookie cornerback AJ Parker and Corn Elder also got their hands on passes, with Elder’s rep coming against projected starter Tyrell Williams.

    7-on-7s, midfield
    For the first time in minicamp, we saw the offense and defense face-off at midfield during seven-on-sevens, rather than red zone action (though that would come later).

    During this session, tight ends absolutely took over the show. Even though T.J. Hockenson had a drop with Alex Anzalone in tight coverage during the first set of reps, he made up for it with an easy short reception during the second set. But the real show came from the Lions’ reserves. Alize Mack caught a rope from Jared Goff right up the middle on a seam route, beating Dean Marlowe. A few reps later with David Blough at quarterback, Brock Wright nearly did the exact same thing.

    One other quick note from this set of reps, Quintez Cephus had a very physical play against Parker. First, he arguably got away with a push-off, then followed it up with an aggressive stiff-arm right next to the defensive sideline that nearly started a scrum. The sides separated after some chatter without incident.

    Kickoff duties
    For the first time in front of media, the Lions worked on some kickoffs. Of note, during the first set of kickoffs, Victor Bolden and Tom Kennedy split return duties. For the second set of special teams reps, it was Kalif Raymond and... wait for it... D’Andre Swift.

    Fun intermission
    As practice was winding down, the Lions had a quick competition break. In the middle of the field, the Lions set up two big circles with one tackling dummy on the perimeter. One circle was for an offensive player, the other was for a defensive player.

    The two players would then race, having to complete one lap around the circle—working on speed and bend—and the first to hit the dummy wins. Here were the results of the four reps I saw:

    LB Shaun Dion Hamilton defeated TE Jake Hausmann
    RB Jamaal Williams defeated S Dean Marlowe (and, of course, danced afterward)
    WR Victor Bolden defeated CB Corn Elder
    Then, to close things out, the coaches got involved. In an extremely ugly rep, defensive assistant Brian Duker edged out offensive quality control coach Steve Oliver.

    7-on-7s, goal line
    After getting stymied by the defense yesterday, Goff and the offense took command on Wednesday. Goff went three-for-three in his first set of goal line passes, but the defense didn’t make it easy. D’Andre Swift made the play of the day with a one-handed, bobbling catch with Jahlani Tavai all over him. Swift has been unguardable all offseason (he juked Alex Brown earlier in practice that had Brown limping afterward), but it was great coverage from Tavai.

    The other two touchdowns belonged to Tyrell Williams with Oruwariye in close coverage and Hockenson, who had Will Harris complaining of a push-off. In the next set of reps from the first-string offense, Hockenson left Harris three steps in the dust for an easy score.

    Fullback Jason Cabinda closed out practice with a touchdown grab over linebacker Anthony Pittman, who was visibly upset with himself for letting the offense win the day.

    Quick notes:
    Goff started the day with some inaccuracies early in practice but progressively got better throughout the day, including one beautifully dropped 40-yard pass to Bolden that was perfectly placed away from Tracy Walker with still enough room for Bolden to toe-touch before landing out of bounds.
    Goff and Hockenson have a chemistry that you can literally see developing at practice. After a well-placed ball during positional drills, Goff held up a thumbs up toward Hockenson, seemingly asking, “Was that where you want that pass?” When Hockenson noticed the thumbs up, he returned it with a thumbs up and a nod. No words needed to be exchanged.
    With no Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derrick Barnes still working his way back to full reps, Shaun Dion Hamilton got some first-team reps during individual drills for the linebackers.
    Last edited by Lionsfanfromsac; 06-10-2021 at 01:52 PM.
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  3. #3
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    I like hearing Swift has been difficult to cover. Granted its against Tavai and this weak sauce defense, but still it is good to hear a primary player going forward is looking well.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsFan..LOL View Post
    I like hearing Swift has been difficult to cover. Granted its against Tavai and this weak sauce defense, but still it is good to hear a primary player going forward is looking well.
    he'll sit behind Gurley, Gore, Barry, and anyone who played for Army in the 40s

  5. #5
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    Swift will be a monster and I think this coaching staff will actually use him correctly.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahoda View Post
    Swift will be a monster and I think this coaching staff will actually use him correctly.
    I agree. I think they will develop a system around the players rather than force a player to fit a system. That to me speaks volumes. We will adjust a bit year after year but hopefully (eventually) put a consistently winning product on the field.
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  7. #7
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    https://lionswire.usatoday.com/lists...ions-minicamp/

    Dan Campbell’s first minicamp as the head coach of the Detroit Lions wrapped up this week. With a full roster of eager participants under the humid skies in Allen Park, Campbell led the Lions through the mandatory session with energy and purpose.

    It was our first real look at several of the newcomers to the team in action, as well as the return to Detroit for Tyrell Crosby and Jamie Collins after they skipped out on the voluntary OTAs. No contact drills were permitted, and the offensive and defensive lines never squared off head-to-head.

    There were a few points of interest throughout the week. Here are four takeaways I got from attending the Tuesday session and keeping up with observers the rest of the week.

    The secondary could be better than expected


    Last year the defensive backfield looked more like a minefield for the Lions. Between injuries, schematic shenanigans and just plain poor play, it was an unquestionable weak point.

    It’s obviously very early, but the secondary showed some real promise this week. Top CB Jeff Okudah looked spry and healthy in Tuesday session. He also looked confident in his ability, something that was noticeably absent in his rookie season in Detroit.

    The Lions signed a couple of free agents who figure to play a lot in cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Corn Elder. Both are athletic upgrades over their now-departed predecessors. Safeties Will Harris and Tracy Walker each had positive moments playing in the new split-safety scheme. Holdover Mike Ford had some great reps in the slot, while young journeyman Alex Brown showed speed and awareness outside.

    There is a ton of work to be done. They did not have to play run defense or tackle yet. But there is some sunshine peeking through the clouds on the dark spot that was the Lions secondary in 2020.


    Worries about Jared Goff's arm strength are overplayed


    Nobody will ever mistake Jared Goff’s arm for Matthew Stafford’s. Let’s get that out of the way right from the top. But the hyperventilating worries from some fans about Goff and his ability to throw the ball with enough velocity and tightness down the field should be blown away with his performance thus far.

    An example came on Tuesday when Goff lasered a ball over good coverage from LB Alex Anzalone on RB D’Andre Swift. The throw required both mustard and touch, and Goff delivered on both accounts. He sizzled a few balls in the red zone, too. As I said on the Detroit Lions Podcast recap show this week, Goff’s arm strength is every bit as good out to 30 yards as former Colts standout Andrew Luck–having seen them both in person in similar environs.

    There are still reasons to fret about Goff as the quarterback. Arm strength isn’t one of them.


    The running backs are going to catch a lot of passes

    Consider this a hybrid point of the receiving skills of the running backs and the relative lack of skills of the actual wide receivers. D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams both look fantastic in the passing game. Swift is smooth and polished as a route runner and has natural hands. Williams is a big target with sticky mitts and suave footwork to get open. They’re good as receivers and they know it–and Goff does too.

    As for the wideouts, well…

    Tyrell Williams had some moments. He’s got speed and the ability to extend his catch radius vertically, playing above the rim so to speak. There’s not a lot of nuance to his routes, at least not visible during practices yet, but he’s capable of making things happen down the field and in the red zone.

    Rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown looks comfortable in the slot and flashed some sticky hands of his own. He’s all business and shows attention to detail that the coaches love. It was also pretty apparent from the two practices I’ve caught that he’s just not a dynamic athlete and that puts a ceiling on how much he can offer.

    There is some clear potential in the UDFA ranks with Jonathan Adams, Sage Surratt and Javon McKinley all having some legit moments. But they’re UDFAs that have a lot to prove once the pads come on and hitting/blocking starts.

    Veteran journeyman Breshad Perriman did little to dispel my previous experience in covering him; he’ll make a really nice play or two but it’s interspersed with at least double that many reps where he appears ineffective or indifferent. Kalif Raymond has speed and wiggle in space out of the slot that intrigues, but at this point, it’s difficult to project him to be more than the return specialist and occasional target in the offense.

    It all adds up to the potential for Swift and Williams to each catch a lot of passes in Anthony Lynn’s offense. It’s premature for bold proclamations, but it wouldn’t surprise me if each caught more passes in the regular season than any wideout currently in Detroit does.


    The players love the ex-players as coaches


    One constant from the rookie minicamp through OTAs and again this week in minicamp was the energy and attitude of the new coaching staff.

    RB coach Duce Staley doesn’t just tell his charges what to do. He willingly demonstrates the proper footwork or release from coverage. The same is true with WR coach Antwan Randle El, who absolutely looks like he can still play. OL coach Hank Fraley, the most prominent holdover coach, has no problem taking reps in the rotation to show what he wants from Penei Sewell or Frank Ragnow–and the players quickly respond.

    It’s a different coaching approach and culture in Detroit that starts at the top with Campbell. The players, especially the ones who have been in Detroit longer than a year, seem to genuinely appreciate and enthusiastically embrace the more energetic, hands-on, “been there myself” examples from the plethora of NFL vets who are now coaching in Detroit. It’s infectious to the players and shows in their effort in reps and respect to the staff
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuySir View Post
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionsfanfromsac View Post
    I like how the players are responding to the coaches who use to play in the league. I know this team isn't going anywhere this year but the future looks bright.



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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vader817 View Post
    I like how the players are responding to the coaches who use to play in the league. I know this team isn't going anywhere this year but the future looks bright.
    I agree. I’m prepared for there will be rookie coaching mistakes, but I also feel there will be a few surprise wins that we get because of the rah rah-ram your head into a locker door- psych-up -adrenaline rush- attack your manhood- motivation.

    Which could probably translate to the occasional aggressive play penalties.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuySir View Post
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  10. #10
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    Tracy Walker, Amani Oruwariye, and Jeff Okudah are talented enough to make up a quality secondary (not sold on Will Harris). With Aaron Glenn and the work he did in N.O. with Marcus Williams, Lattimore, and CGJ etc there really isn't an excuse anymore. 100% can buy that Patricia held players back because of his inept defense and coaching, but we need to see improvement from these 3. They are cornerstones to this defense. With Walker at least we saw he was on the ascent before last year's train fire.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LionsFan..LOL View Post
    Tracy Walker, Amani Oruwariye, and Jeff Okudah are talented enough to make up a quality secondary (not sold on Will Harris). With Aaron Glenn and the work he did in N.O. with Marcus Williams, Lattimore, and CGJ etc there really isn't an excuse anymore. 100% can buy that Patricia held players back because of his inept defense and coaching, but we need to see improvement from these 3. They are cornerstones to this defense. With Walker at least we saw he was on the ascent before last year's train fire.
    I agree.



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