Full pads: After four days of acclimation period to begin camp and a day off Thursday, the Lions put the pads on during a hot and humid morning practice in Allen Park Friday. Pads meant the physicality ramped up and it finally felt like football was back in the D. – Tim Twentyman
Welcome sight: Watching defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson work out on his own during practice was one of the best signs of the first week of practice. It looked like he might have sustained a serious injury earlier in camp, but that was not the case. Gardner-Johnson ran sprints at close to full speed. – Mike O'Hara
O-line vs. d-line: One-on-one pass-rush drills between the offensive and defensive linemen are always one of my favorite periods to watch. It's hard to be good on either side of the ball if you're not good upfront. Here's a few highlights from those sessions:
- I had a win for all five starting offensive linemen – Penei Sewell, Graham Glasgow, Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson and Taylor Decker – on their first reps giving the o-line a 5-0 head start.
- The defensive line mixed in some wins after the first wave went to the o-line. Aidan Hutchinson put a nice move on Sewell on their second rep for the win. Hutchinson looks much more comfortable and settled in to start his second camp.
- Alim McNeill has lost 22 pounds and trimmed his body fat. He has done so without losing any strength, according to both Ragnow and Jackson. A slimmer McNeill looks like a quicker McNeill as he had Ragnow reaching for air on one rep.
- Rookie defensive tackle Brodric Martin is STRONG. He's got long arms and that bull rush is real. – Tim Twentyman
Jack on the spot: During a team period Friday, rookie linebacker Jack Campbell did a nice job punching the ball out of the hands of running back Craig Reynolds after Reynolds made a short catch over the middle. Campbell was aware enough to jump on the fumble he forced for the recovery too. – Tim Twentyman
Not afraid to mix it up: When the pads come on we also get a chance to see some of the smaller guys mix it up a bit. One player who didn't shy away from contact Friday was cornerback Cam Sutton. The Lions worked a lot on the run Friday, and Sutton was in the hole a few times to give a good pop on the running back. Sutton had 43 tackles last season. – Tim Twentyman
One-on-one: Campbell and third-year tight end Brock Wright had a spirited battle in a one-on-one drill. There was no real winner in a drill that benefitted both players. – Mike O'Hara
Practice foe: Who is becoming that vocal practice competitor for defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn now that Duce Staley is no longer with the coaching staff? Glenn and Staley would go at it during practice when the offense was against the defense the previous two seasons. Glenn said walking off the field Friday that assistant head coach and running backs coach Scottie Montgomery is emerging as that guy for the offense. – Tim Twentyman
View photos of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (Top 100 players of 2023 No. 66) during the 2022 NFL season.
Quarterback contact – sort of: Quarterbacks are off limits to contact in practice, but they get hit accidentally sometimes. Safety Brady Breeze was hit from behind and tumbled into rookie quarterback Adrian Martinez, who lost his balance but didn't go down. No harm. No penalty. – Mike O'Hara
Practice report: Still no Marvin Jones Jr., Gardner-Johnson or Jameson Williams at practice. All three continue to work off to the side of practice. Gardner-Johnson was sprinting and moving around Friday much better than he was Wednesday. That was a really good sign. Also, rookie defensive back Brian Branch (foot) and veteran guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday. – Tim Twentyman