Lions' first padded practice should carry a different intensity level

Posted Jul 28, 2013

The Lions practice in pads for the first time Sunday morning, bringing a more physical feel to the field

John Wendling and Mike WilliamsS John Wendling covering TE Mike Williams.

Practicing in full pads with contact for the first time in training camp Sunday will be a hit for Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff.

"It brings out the competitiveness, just getting back to getting down in the dirt and playing," Reiff said. "It's a fun deal, the first time in pads. We're competitors. We look forward to it."

Under NFL rules governing training camp, teams are not allowed to practice in pads until after four unpadded practices. That includes regular practice and walk-throughs. The Lions had two of each on Friday and Saturday.

There will be a noticeable upswing in tempo Sunday, but common-sense restrictions will be in place. Quarterbacks are still off-limits to contact, and there won't be any blind-side kill shots.

As safety Don Carey said: "We all have Lions logos on our helmet. That is your teammate, at the end of the day."

Nothing matches the pace and violence of games, but practicing in pads adds a physical dimension that's missing in practices without pads.

"You get a real look at things," Carey said. "A lot of times, you see a guy run up and kind of swipe past a guy. You think the angle is good. But with the pads on, you have to thud that guy up. So it forces you take good angles. The coaches and everybody else can see if you have a good angle.

"It kind of revs it up a little bit. A lot of guys are going to be amped, especially the younger guys. It's always fun."

Ashlee Palmer, who's competing to start at outside linebacker, doesn't anticipate the tempo changing much. He doesn't anticipate players going overboard to the point of injuring a teammate.

"To be honest, our tempo here should never change, just because you put on pads," he said. "We have a pretty smart team and want to take care of each other.

"We need it more for the inside runs. We do the run drills and run fits so we can get off blocks and stuff."