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TIM AND MIKE: Training camp Day 4 observations

Opportunity knocks: The competition for the starting strong safety spot and the depth to follow is pretty fierce. With as many as four players jockeying for the position, making a nice play in practice could make the difference.

Second-year safety Isaiah Johnson made a nice interception in a seven-on-seven drill. Just a couple plays later, rookie safety Miles Killebrew had a chance to make an interception of his own, but the ball bounced right off his chest. *– Tim Twentyman


Trench battles: It was another good day for the defensive line in the one-on-one drill against the offensive line with the team in full pads. Defensive end Wallace Gilberry was active physically and vocally. Gilberry had a good day as an outside rusher.

Ziggy Ansah lined up at left end on one snap and got by tackle Michael Ola almost before Ola could get out of his stance. – Mike O'Hara

Close encounter: Marvin Jones is either a glutton for punishment or extremely confident in his hands. Like a lot of players after practice, Jones catches balls from the jugs machine.

For one of those series of reps, he literally stands inches from the machine as the ball fires into his hands. Jones says he does it for "muscle memory" purposes and because "it looks pretty cool, too." – Tim Twentyman

Seeing red: Running back Ameer Abdullah is wearing a red jersey, which makes him off limits to contact while he continues his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. However, accidents happen, and he was a victim of what amounted to a fender-bender on the practice field. He was hit cutting through the right side and went to the turf briefly. Abdullah bounced up immediately and continued running. *– Mike O'Hara


Hands team: The Lions have had just four training camp practices thus far, but it's already abundantly clear that receiver Anquan Boldin has one of the best pair of hands on the team. He made a terrific catch in a team drill with cornerback Quandre Diggs draped all over him. He made another lunging grab on an errant Matthew Stafford pass later on in practice. There's a reason he has over 1,000 career receptions. – Tim Twentyman

Keeping pace:There has been no sign that rookie tight end Cole Wick is hitting the wall early or that he is in over his head in his attempt to make the roster as an undrafted free agent from Incarnate Word. Wick made a good catch and run on a cut from right to left on a pass from Dan Orlovsky. – Mike O'Hara

Veteran day?: Haloti Ngata didn't take a ton of reps in Monday's practice. It could have just been a situation where the Lions wanted to limit the big fella's reps. Caldwell has often done that with veteran players over the last couple years. The players are off Tuesday and return to the field Wednesday – Tim Twentyman

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