TIM & MIKE

TIM AND MIKE: Mock game observations

Posted Aug 5, 2017

Tim Twentyman and Mike O’Hara share their observations from Saturday's mock game at Ford Field.

Cause for concern: The Lions are still trying to figure out who will replace Taylor Decker at left tackle if he’s forced to miss any time in the regular season. Greg Robinson and Cyrus Kouandjio are the two most likely candidates, but both struggled Saturday. Both players were beat multiple times resulting in sacks. While that’s obviously disconcerting, it should be noted that we’re just one week into camp, and there’s still a month left for both players to continue to get comfortable in this scheme and improve. – Tim Twentyman

Prater power: Kicker Matt Prater was in early-season, mid-season, late-season and playoff form on long-range field goals. He made a 55-yard field goal on the last play of a drive that simulated the end of the half, then connected from 56 yards later. He had one miss – falling short on a 55-yarder. – Mike O’Hara

Making a statement: Both the punt and kickoff return jobs are up for grabs. Rookie Jamal Agnew got the first chance to return punts in the mock game. His first he secured with a fair catch. His second, well, he did much more. Agnew fielded the punt, split two defenders to the left and then put that 4.3 speed to work for a 75-yard-plus touchdown. Unfortunately, the play came back due to a flag, but Agnew sent a message to the rest of the return hopefuls and coaches that he can be explosive there. – Tim Twentyman

Shades of Minnesota: The 55-yarder Prater made revived memories of the Lions’ scintillating rally to beat the Vikings in overtime last season. They tied that game on Prater’s 58-yard field goal and won it on a TD pass to Golden Tate. In the mock game, Stafford completed a long pass, then stopped the clock with one second left after a seven-yard completion to Jace Billingsley. Prater connected with room to spare – 58 yards, at least. – Mike O’Hara

Contact wanted: Linebacker Antwione Williams got a little too anxious to make a play, and put a high and hard hit on receiver TJ Jones after he caught a pass. The mock game was meant to have little to no contact, and especially no tackling. Williams was flagged 15 yards on the play. Head coach Jim Caldwell even came over to talk to him afterward. Williams said after the game that he apologized to Jones. It was a rough day for Jones, who was knocked off his feet later when returning a kickoff by linebacker Nick Bellore.  – Tim Twentyman

Catching a break: Rookie tight end Michael Roberts made a catch and a nice move up the left sideline – then fumbled after he was hit. Roberts got a break, though. He had stepped on the sideline just as he was hit and was correctly ruled to be out of bounds, making it no fumble. – Mike O’Hara

Still working: Lions GM Bob Quinn spoke to fans briefly before the mock game and was asked about Matthew Stafford’s contract situation. Quinn said he’s confident “we’ll get something done,” but also said there was “a long way to go on that, but it’s good on both sides.” Quinn said the situation doesn’t bother him and it doesn’t bother Stafford.  – Tim Twentyman

Play of the mock game: The Lions knew what they were missing on offense last year with Ameer Abdullah out for most of the season and Theo Riddick out late in the year. If they needed reminding, Riddick provided an example on a reception in the left flat. Riddick made a double move – fake left, then right – to shake a defender and cut back up the left side line for a good gain. – Mike O’Hara

Darius Slay is one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL, but what will allow him to take the next step and consistently become a Pro Bowl player is getting his hands on more footballs. So, it was a good sign in Saturday’s mock game at Ford Field that Slay was able to end his first series with a terrific juggling interception of a Stafford pass intended deep down the middle for Marvin Jones Jr.Tim Twentyman