LIONS INSIDER

Camp Notebook: Ronnell Lewis back, injury breakdown and other camp observations

Posted Aug 1, 2013

Tim Twentyman takes a look at Ronnell Lewis' return, the Lions' landscape of injuries as well as other training camp observations

Jim Schwartz, just a couple days ago, told members of the media that it was important for second-year defensive end Ronnell Lewis to get back on the field as soon as possible.

"We only have eight full padded practices in training camp, and this was the second one," Schwartz said Tuesday. "We always talk about our defensive linemen and judging them on pads. We had a half-line drill today, we had short yardage, and we had a live pass rush drill. It was a good, hard day; a hard, physical day. All those defensive linemen needed.

"Anything you miss is stuff that you can't get back. He's working hard to get back, but the fact is we can't circle back in training camp and make up time for guys that have missed. There's urgency to get back for everybody."

Lewis took heed and got himself off the physical unable to perform list and back on the practice field for the team's sixth practice -- their third in full pads.

Lewis didn't disclose what was ailing him that kept him on PUP, but said he's ready to work now.

"I'm back out there and that's all that really matters to me right now," he said. "I worked to get back out there, so that's what I'm going to continue to do, and stay healthy.

"I felt good, felt fresh. I just have to stay that way, keep my body in a good place to stay healthy."

Now that the former fourth-round pick is back on the field, he can begin the uphill climb to make the team's final roster.

It's a long way from determining the final 53-man squad, but the team kept five defensive ends last year and Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, Jason Jones, Willie Young, Israel Idonije and Devin Taylor are currently ahead of Lewis on the depth chart.

"You know, I can't let that get to me," said Lewis, who played in eight games last year, but only one snap on defense. "I feel like a lot of people might let that get to them but you just have to continue working. Go out there every day, meetings, mental reps, whatever you have to do to stay in the game. That's all I can do right now and stay focused."

PRACTICE REPORT

The Lions are feeling the pinch at a few positions because of injury, especially in the secondary and on the defensive line.

Jones, Idonije and Young all sat out with leg injuries, which meant a heavier-than-normal workload for Ansah, Taylor and Lewis.

Cornerbacks Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood have been out for days with hamstring injuries, and cornerback Darius Slay didn't take part in team drills today after rolling an ankle in one-on-one drills with the receivers. After practice, Schwartz said Slay would be fine.

Safety Louis Delmas had a scheduled off day, but was joined on the sideline by safety Amari Spievey, who seemed to tweak a hamstring.

"In training camp, injuries tend to run in bunches because there's a little bit of a chain reaction," Schwartz said. "We've lost some corners and some defensive linemen. We'll get all those guys back pretty quick.

"Problem is, when one guy goes down, all of a sudden another one goes then you're three down. It makes it very difficult to get through training camp practices without some guy having to shoulder more of a load. That's what we have seen in a couple of those positions, a chain reaction of injuries."

The good news for the secondary was that cornerback Ron Bartell returned after missing three days with a shoulder injury.

Still out were linebacker Carmen Messina (hamstring) and receiver Devin Thomas (PUP).

KICKIN' IT

David Akers and Havard (Kickalicious) Rugland have been getting equal reps so far in training camp and that continued in Thursday's session. Both kickers were given four attempts: two from 40 yards, one from 47 yards and the final from 50 yards out.

Akers went first and hit three of four attempts. His only miss was from 47 yards.

Rugland followed up and hit only two. He missed wide right from 50 yards and one of his 40-yard attempts appeared to be blocked.

CAMP OBSERVATIONS

  • Receiver Patrick Edwards continues to impress in camp. He's getting a lot of reps with the first-team offense in three-receiver sets and seems to make a play daily. He made a fine diving catch along the right sideline on DeQuan Menzie in one-on-one drills that got the crowd going.
  • I'd be remiss not to mention, though, that Edwards was impressive in camp last year, too, but disappeared to the tune of four catches for 47 yards in four preseason games.
  • The Lions did some live-action goal line plays Thursday and their ability to be very versatile upfront on defense was on display. Even without Jason Jones and Israel Idonije, the defensive line was stout with Nick Fairley, Ndamukong Suh, C.J. Mosley, Andre Fluellen and Ziggy Ansah.
  • Running back Joique Bell ran into that wall once, but was able to keep his feet and bounce it wide for a score. He jumped the rope and celebrated with the crowd.
  • Receiver Ryan Broyles had a good day catching the football, especially in a two-minute seven-on-seven drill. Working in the slot with the second-team, Broyles made a couple first-down catches, including a diving catch over the middle.
  • "I thought today was a really good day for Ryan," Schwartz said. "I think we forget where he is or sometimes we tend to lose sight of where he is with the ACL and the rehab. He's much farther ahead than where he was last year and he really came on last year. There are going to be some days where you're out here and you're trying to push through. Our trainers do a good job at managing him and he does a very good job of rehabbing.
  • "Yesterday we had a day off and I think there's no coincidence that Ryan was able to come out here and make some plays."

GAUGING THE RUSH

It's sometimes difficult in training camp practices to gauge how well a pass rusher is doing because they aren't allowed to hit the quarterback.

Schwartz had a good analogy on that front.

"It's very difficult to rush the passer and avoid the quarterback," he said. "You're telling guys to run as fast as they can and try to beat the offensive line, but stay away from the quarterback.

"It's like telling someone to run the hundred meter dash and stop at the finish line. It's really hard to do."

Point being, we'll see how truly good this rush can be starting next week vs. the New York Jets.