NOTEBOOK: Broyles getting his explosiveness back

Posted Aug 11, 2014

Tim Twentyman covers all the news from Monday's training camp practice including Ryan Broyles' recovery, Jason Jones' versatility and more.

The last thing that usually returns after a major leg injury is a player's explosion.

Detroit Lions receiver Ryan Broyles is all too familiar with that process. Broyles has battled his way back from ACL tears twice – one in each knee – and a torn Achilles tendon suffered in Week 8 last year.

Saturday’s, 13-12, preseason victory of Cleveland was the first game action Broyles has seen since his most recent setback, and the third-year receiver out of Oklahoma was going to try his best to leave his mark on the game, which he did.

Broyles caught all three footballs thrown his way for 27 yards. Two of those catches resulted in first downs as Broyles broke a couple tackles and showed some nifty run-after-the-catch ability.

Some of those plays he made after the catch shows the explosion is back in those legs.

“You lose the strength initially and then your neurological system – how the muscles fire and connect with your brain – that’s always the last step,” Broyles said.

“I noticed that with my knees, and my Achilles as well, but I’m feel pretty good where I’m at right now.

“I think (my run after the catch ability is) what got me drafted in the second round. I think I’m stronger for my size than people think, so I’m able to bounce off some guys. It was fun being out there.”

Broyles has had to work his way back up the depth chart during training camp and is one of a number of players fighting for a couple roster spots behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

“I have not seen him where he’s inhibited at all,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Broyles. “He’s been able to run, jump and explode.

“You’ve seen him here at practice even. He can get up and he’s feeling comfortable with it. He’s doing a lot of good things.”


Jason JonesJason Jones (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Jason Jones played 11 snaps in the Lions’ preseason opener and a few of those came from an interior defensive tackle spot.

Like Broyles, it was Jones' first time in a game situation since rupturing his patellar tendon last year Week 3 in Washington.

“I got a little look at how they’re going to use me on third down and passing downs,” Jones said. “It was fun. My explosion is getting there. The doctors told me it would gradually come back.”

Jones is going to be an important piece cog in that defensive line rotation and he finished with two tackles and made his presence felt both on the outside and inside Saturday night.

“I think you saw him run from the opposite side of the field and make some plays inline,” Caldwell said. “He’s got enough bulk to be a factor outside against the run and inside as a pass rusher.

“We’ve utilized him at both that kind of versatility is helpful to us for a number of different reasons. There is a dual threat with him and the great thing about him is he can do both.


The Lions released receiver Quintin Payton and claimed receiver Conner Vernon off waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals, according to the NFL transaction report.

The team doesn’t officially announce waiver claims until a player passes a physical.

Payton played in 19 snaps in Saturday’s preseason opener and caught one pass for three yards.

Vernon, who played collegiately at Duke, had at least 70 catches in each of his last three seasons at Duke and finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards (3,749).

He was undrafted in 2013 and has had brief stints with Oakland, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

He caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in Cincinatti's preseason opener last week.


The Lions practiced Monday without guard Larry Warford (illness) and safety Don Carey (undisclosed).

Running back Theo Riddick, who left Saturday’s game with an abdominal injury, was on the field and did participate in practice.

So did linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who left the game with an apparent neck injury.

Ziggy Ansah and TJ Jones remain on the PUP list.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley took a number of reps with the second-team defense, but Caldwell cautioned not to look too much into it.

“We haven’t put out a depth chart yet,” he said. “So what you see more so than anything else is we decide how we rep guys. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re one, they’re two, they’re three or whatever it might be, it just depends on the situation.

“Don’t read a whole lot into it, alright. He’s just like everybody else, he could be better. He’s a big man, he’s got some strength and ability he can probably carry more weight than most people at his size because of his strength. I think he’s working to get into a comfortable weight and I think he’s on his way there.”


The Lions were forced inside for practice on Monday due to the rain and it gave Caldwell an opportunity to pump music into practice to get players better acclimated with the noise.

“We do it from time to time, its kind of a different way,” Caldwell said. “Everybody used to get bored with the crowd noise – that was a bunch of yelling and screaming and all that kind of stuff, and you really couldn’t make hide nor hair of it.

“But it did obviously create some distraction for you. We’re trying to do the same thing basically with the music. One day in here we had a Motown session. We use different music to accomplish the same thing. What we are trying to do is assimilate crowd noise so they can’t hear, and they have to communicate a lot louder with one another. If it just so happens it’s something they like they seem to catch the rhythm of it.”

The playlist included: “Higher Ground” by TNGHT and “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force