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NOTEBOOK: TJ Jones leaves game with hamstring injury

The Detroit Lions nearly escaped their second preseason game injury free.


Fourth-year receiver TJ Jones left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell didn't elaborate on the severity of the injury after the game, but Jones looked to be in some significant discomfort on the sideline before going back to the locker room.

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' preseason Week 2 game vs. New York Jets.

"Not real sure," Caldwell said. "I don't think it'll be ... I'll just tell you that I'm not real sure. We'll see."

Jones has been a good story so far in training camp. He bulked up this offseason, and its shown in his performance through the first three weeks of camp. He's been playing the majority of the time with the first-team offense in three-receiver sets.

He had an 11-yard catch against the Jets Saturday, and first crack at the punt-return duties. He had three returns for 18 yards, and had one very nice 18-yard return wiped out because of a penalty.

It appears to be Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay competing for the third receiver role behind starters Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. based on reps in camp and the preseason. Hopefully this hamstring injury isn't too serious, and those two can battle it out the rest of the way to see who comes out on top.

"It's really frustrating for anyone to get (injured) in the preseason," Tate said of Jones' injury after the game. "When I was younger, I remember being injured. I had a sprained meniscus and a high ankle sprain in the third preseason game, and it's disappointing when you are battling and trying to find your spot on this team.

"I feel for those guys. I think that a guy like TJ has put a lot on film. Hopefully it's minor, whatever it is, but he's put a lot on film so I am confident in him."


Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg didn't even know what hit him. It turned out to be 6-foot-4, 280-pound Lions defensive end Cornelius Washington with a free rush and bad intentions on the third play of the game. He hit Hackenberg so hard, the ball flew out of his hands for a fumble.

"(My eyes) got big as grapefruits," Washington told The Detroit News of his sack. "That thing looked like the highway of love to the QB, shoot."

The Lions signed Washington this offseason because of his power and speed combo, and they're hoping they see more of what they saw Saturday night from him moving forward.

"I think he's a heavy-handed sort of physical guy that can not only defend the run, because I think he'll do a good job there in terms of setting the edge for us, but I think also he's going to be able to add some pass rush through power," Caldwell said of Washington after the game.

"He's not one of those finesse guys. He's going to take you on and get after you pretty good and he can collapse the pocket. I just think he's going to fit in well with what we do."

Washington finished with two tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble in three series of work. It was his first preseason action after missing a couple weeks of training camp with an ankle injury.


The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are up next on the preseason schedule, and their offense, led by arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Tom Brady, will present a much tougher challenge for a Detroit defense that's only allowed one touchdown through their first two preseason games.

"Next week is going to give us another opportunity to see where we are," Caldwell said. "Perennially, they've been maybe the best team in the league year in and year out. That'll be a great test for us. We're looking forward to that.

"It'll be (a great test) because they'll give you a lot of different looks to deal with. They are very, very smart in what they do. They don't make many mistakes. Our guys are going to have to measure up to play well against them."

The third preseason game is usually the dress rehearsal for the regular season. Starters typically play a whole half, and sometimes even a series or two into the third quarter. Next week will be a very good measuring-stick contest for the Lions to see just exactly where this football team is at just a few weeks from the start of the regular season.

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