TIM AND MIKE: Lions-Steelers Day 2 practice observations

Posted Aug 10, 2016

Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara share their observations from the Lions-Steelers joint practice.

Fade, 2016 version: Calvin Johnson was Matthew Stafford’s favorite target for the fade pattern in the end zone, but Johnson’s retirement will force Stafford to go to other receivers. Golden Tate, with 189 catches in two seasons with the Lions, is a candidate.

Stafford connected with him on a perfectly thrown ball in the left corner of the end zone. The cornerback had decent coverage, but Stafford dropped the ball over Tate’s shoulder where he could make the catch. - Mike O’Hara

Tying the shoe trick: Good try, Marvin Jones. After a subtle false start in a team drill on Wednesday, Jones pretended he was moving to tie his shoe. The official didn’t buy it, and the Lions offense moved back five yards. – Tim Twentyman

Rough stuff: There was some chippiness, but none of the fights that some predicted would break out. Lions tight end Adam Fuehne took exception to a high hit from a Steelers defensive back after making a catch as he crossed the goal line. Fuehne had words immediately. And Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who played at Michigan, didn’t like the extra hits he took on one play. Toussaint did not retaliate. –Mike O’Hara

Gunner love: One of the more fun drills to watch over the last two days has been the gunners going up against two blockers. Some real battles happen there, and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it a point to come down to the drill both days.

The best rep put up by a Lions player in the drill came from Adairius Barnes, who was matched up against Levi Norwood and Cobi Hamilton of the Steelers. Barnes made an outside move and then quickly darted back inside, causing Norwood and Hamilton to run into each other and fall to the ground. It would have been easy sailing from there to the returner for Barnes had it been a game. – Tim Twentyman

Steelers GM observation: The Steelers GM, and a former member of the Lions' front office, is noted for having a keen eye for talent. He likes what he sees in Matthew Stafford.

“He’s a top guy,” Kevin Colbert said. “He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback. He has the potential to win a Super Bowl – absolutely.” – Mike O’Hara

Holding on: Lions starting strong safety Rafael Bush intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during Wednesday’s practice. Bush read a route perfectly over the middle and stepped right in front of a pass Roethlisberger tried to fit into a tight window. Afterward, Bush said the hardest passes to intercept for him are the ones right to him. He said sometimes defensive backs have too much time to think about them. – Tim Twentyman

The Cole, hard facts: The rookie tight end has caught the attention of most people because of his receiving ability, but blocking is an important phase of playing tight end. For what it’s worth, Wick was in with the No. 1 unit in the run drill. - Mike O’Hara

Back-to-Back: Andre Roberts and Marvin Jones made nice back-to-back grabs in one-on-one drills.

Roberts made a one-handed catch over Donald Washington. Jones kept his concentration on a deep ball along the right sideline that was tipped by Montell Garner but still brought in by Jones. – Tim Twentyman

Injury report: Linebacker Jon Bostic left Wednesday’s practice with an undisclosed injury. Head coach Jim Caldwell said afterward that Bostic still had to be evaluated, but it appeared the injury was more serious than just a day-to-day injury. The Lions are already without linebacker DeAndre Levy, who remains on the NFI list. – Tim Twentyman