Starting right guard T.J. Lang remains day-to-day after missing more than a week of practice and the first two preseason games with an undisclosed injury he described as "nothing serious" in the locker room Wednesday.
Lang said if this was a normal regular season work week, he'd be out practicing and doing everything with his teammates.
"I'm taking it day by day and making sure I'm doing my best I can to be 100 percent here in a couple weeks for Week 1," Lang said.
Lang did admit the injury has been frustrating, after saying early on that he felt the best he had in years coming into a training camp.
"Anytime the plans kind of change, I think there's obviously a little bit of frustration," Lang said.
Lang was a Pro Bowler for the Lions last year, but did play through quite a few injuries, missing three games. He hasn't played in the preseason due to this most recent injury, and the Lions have yet to see their projected starting five upfront play together in game action. While that's not the end of the world considering it's the preseason, it's certainly not ideal, either.
It has given head coach Matt Patricia an opportunity to see some different combinations upfront, and evaluate what they have from a depth standpoint, with mostly inconsistent results.
Lang doesn't seemed to be too worried about the missed time.
"I've played a lot of football with Rick (Wagner) and Graham (Glasgow)," he said. "We do our best to kind of simulate what we do on the field in the meetings and walkthroughs and things like that. We do a good job of communicating when I'm not out there.
"I've been doing this a long time. I think I can find ways to simulate that even if I don't play this week or next week at all. I don't think I'll have any trouble getting off to a good start Week 1."
KENNARD SETTLING IN
The Lions signed veteran outside linebacker Devon Kennard to play a very specific non-specific position in the Lions' new defense.
While that may sound a little confusing, it's really not.
Kennard was signed because of his versatility. He can play off the ball, he can drop in coverage, and he can rush the passer off the edge. For a defense that wants to be multiple, Kennard was signed for that purpose.
"I would say a specific piece, but actually that specific piece is very flexible," Patricia said of Kennard's role. "So that's kind of been the part that's been good for us is for him to really understand concept learning from a defensive standpoint of what we do and to be able to be in kind of some different spots has been great. It's been a good bonus for us."
After two preseason games, Kennard says he's settling into his role and likes how it's developing.
"In the history of how long I've been playing I've done a lot of different things," Kennard said in the locker room Wednesday. "So, you know, I feel like I fit that role. It's a good opportunity and I'm just trying to continue to learn and get better every day."
Kennard has three tackles, three quarterback hurries and a quarterback hit in 33 snaps this preseason.
He and the rest of the first-team defense are expected to see a lot of playing time Friday night in Tampa Bay. It will be an opportunity to see Kennard play extended minutes with Ziggy Ansah and Detroit's other playmakers for the first time this season.
"We haven't gotten a win yet and played as well as I think we're capable of," Kennard said. "I like the guys we have on defense – the scheme as well – and I think we're going to be ready for Week 1."
For the first time in the preseason, the Lions are playing a preseason game against a team they haven't practiced against previously.
Detroit flew out to California to take part in joint practices with the Raiders ahead of their first preseason game in Oakland. Last week, the New York Giants were in Allen Park for three practices ahead of their preseason game Week 2.
Those joint practices allow for some familiarity ahead of the game. There were probably two whole games worth of reps against one another in those joint practices of one-on-one, seven-on-seven and team work.
This week offers Patricia and his staff an opportunity to simulate the week more like the regular season. Prep is done through film, not practice.
"You really try to put more emphasis on learning what that schedule is, what that process is, and how would you prepare to get ready for a team that you have to learn without practicing against," Patricia said.
"We really have to go off film, we really have to study what they do, see if there's anything that we can pick up that will give us an advantage in the game. So, it's more of a regular season mindset at that point."
The Lions hit the practice field for the final time Wednesday ahead of their third preseason game. Not taking part in the portion of practice open to the media for a third consecutive day were: Guard T.J. Lang, wide receiver Andy Jones (PUP), defensive tackle Toby Johnson and wide receiver Jace Billingsley. Cornerback DeShawn Shead also worked off to the side with trainers.