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TIM AND MIKE: Minicamp Day 1 observations

The Detroit Lions kicked off their first of three minicamp practices in Allen Park on Tuesday.

Here are some things that caught the eye of Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara during Tuesday's practice: Return ability: The Lions worked on punt return Tuesday and had Golden Tate, TJ Jones, Jeremy Kerley, Andre Roberts and Jace Billingsley returning kicks.

This could end up being a tight competition in the preseason with Tate, Jones, Kerley and Roberts all having previous success in the NFL doing it.

For a player like Roberts, who is fighting for a roster spot at receiver, special teams could play a deciding factor. – Tim Twentyman

Catch of the day: Tuesday's award goes to Tate.

Matched up across from Nevin Lawson in a team drill, Tate made a terrific shoe string, fingertip catch after adjusting and cutting back in front of Lawson on a ball a bit underthrown down the left sideline. The play earned Tate a few oohs from his teammates. – Tim Twentyman

Making strides: It had to be encouraging for the coaches to see linebacker DeAndre Levy run stride-for-stride down the sideline covering tight end Eric Ebron, even though Ebron was not targeted with a pass on the play. Levy shows no signs of the hip injury that limited him to playing part of only one game last year. - Mike O'Hara

Back at it: Safety Glover Quin eased his way back into practice during OTAs while recovering from offseason ankle surgery. His regimen ratcheted up during the first practice of minicamp Tuesday as Quin took part in the entire practice, including some of the team drills he sat out during OTAs. *– Tim Twentyman


First-team 5: Speaking of Quin, he took his usual place at starting free safety with the first-team defense during team drills. Alongside of him was veteran Rafael Bush, who the team signed in March. The top three cornerback spots were locked down by Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson and Quandre Diggs (nickel). - Tim Twentyman

Shifting gears: Rookie running back Dwayne Washington gets in top speed in a hurry. He planted a foot and accelerated several times Tuesday, either on running plays or after catching a short pass. One issue that still needs work, though, is catching the ball. – Mike O'Hara

QB's friend: Rookie quarterback Jake Rudock took advantage of Washington picking up a blitz to deliver a short pass. On the way back to the huddle, Rudock tapped Washington on the head in a gesture of appreciation. - Mike O'Hara

Rookie making a play: Rookie safety Miles Killebrew has a way to go before we're talking about him competing for a starting spot on defense. At this point coaches want to see that rookies can pick up the system, improve day-to-day and make a play when given the opportunity.

That opportunity for Killebrew came in a team drill midway through practice when he found himself one-on-one with receiver Damian Copeland down the middle of the field. Killebrew, who has shown he can run and cover some ground this offseason, was able to knock the ball away at the last second on a well-thrown ball by Dan Orlovsky. – Tim Twentyman

Practice report: Sitting out practice Tuesday were: RB Ameer Abdullah, TE Brandon Pettigrew, RB Stevan Ridley, DT Stefan Charles, DT Caraun Reid, DB Charles Washington and OT Corey Robinson. – Tim Twentyman

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