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TIM AND MIKE: Training camp Day 10 observations

Defensive surge: I thought the defensive line had their best day of camp Thursday during a scrimmage-like practice in Allen Park. Led by Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit's defensive line was disruptive all day both blowing up plays with sacks (not actually hitting the QB) and stuffing runs in the hole. There was one team period where Hutchinson beat Penei Sewell to the quarterback for two sacks in a three-play stretch.

I thought defensive lineman Alim McNeill also stood out Thursday. The quickness he's added to his game is noticeable. I also noted Josh Paschal and Charles Harris having sacks on the day. – Tim Twentyman

Exclamation point: I thought the defense was a little better than the offense on Thursday, which is a great sign for this football team being better overall in 2023, but wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown finds a way to make a big play just about every day and Thursday was no exception.

He finished off a team period with a touchdown on a contested catch with cornerback Chase Lucas draped all over him. Lucas just put his hands on his head in disbelief after seeing St. Brown caught the football. St. Brown celebrated the score by punting the ball toward the crowd in the stands, who loved the play and the celebration. – Tim Twentyman

View photos from Day 9 of Detroit Lions training camp on Wednesday August 2, 2023.

Injuries: The Lions got good news Thursday that wide receiver Trinity Benson's injury wasn't as severe as it looked to be Wednesday when he was carted off the field. The team will be hoping for similarly good news Thursday after cornerback Jarren Williams went down with a lower body injury and was also carted off the field. – Tim Twentyman

On the rise: McNeill lost about 20 pounds in the offseason. As a result, he's quicker and even stronger. Apparently, he can jump higher too. On a pass in the right flat, McNeill elevated and knocked the ball down. – Mike O'Hara

Ball production on defense: Quarterback Jared Goff doesn't throw many interceptions in practice so it's worth highlighting a player when they get one. Goff tried to fit a ball down the seam to tight end Sam LaPorta in a team drill. LaPorta tried to go up and over linebacker Derrick Barnes but Barnes was able to deflect the ball straight up into the air and right into the arms of defensive back Saivion Smith. – Tim Twentyman

Play of the day: This belongs to running back Justin Jackson for a long touchdown catch down the left sideline. He got a step on rookie linebacker Jack Campbell coming out of the backfield into the flat and was able to stay on his feet as Campbell tried to dive and clip his feet. Then Jackson put a great move on defensive back C.J. Gardner Johnson faking a cut inside at about the 10-yard line that allowed him to go untouched into the end zone. Jackson is definitely in the running to be Detroit's No. 3 running back. – Tim Twentyman

Comparisons: Jerry Jacobs, who made the Lions' roster as an undrafted free agent in 2021, sees similarities between himself and rookie cornerback Starling Thomas V. Thomas is a free agent trying to earn a roster spot at cornerback. "He reminds me of me," Jacobs said, referring to Thomas' playing style. – Mike O'Hara

Returning punts: We are just over a week away from the first preseason contest of the year, which will be the first opportunity to see some live kickoff and punt returns. Kalif Raymond is Detroit's main punt returner, but St. Brown, Maurice Alexander, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jameson Williams were also getting reps there Thursday. – Tim Twentyman

Situational football: The offense was given the ball on the defense's 37-yard line with 29 seconds on the clock and two timeouts in the pocket late in practice trailing 28-20. The first-team offense quickly moved down to the 6-yard line in just 13 seconds with two completions to St. Brown. Running back David Montgomery punched it in from there with a run up the middle. The offense failed to convert a halfback pass for the two-point conversion.

The second-team offense needed just two plays to score. A strike from quarterback Nate Sudfeld to wide receiver Denzel Mims down to the 4-yard line set up a tight end Brock Wright 4-yard TD on the next play. – Tim Twentyman

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