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TIM AND MIKE: Training camp Day 8 observations

Practice how you play: Those were the words veteran defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson kept repeating as he walked off the field and past reporters in Allen Park Monday after a spirited and physical practice. Gardner-Johnson set the tone early with a big hit and a clean hit on rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the flat that got the crowd going. Gardner-Johnson made a ton of plays Monday showing exactly why Lions GM Brad Holmes was so excited this offseason when he was able to sign him. – Tim Twentyman

Tempers flare: With a player's day off scheduled for Tuesday, Monday was a padded practice. It was scheduled to go a little longer than normal. There were a number of tackling and competitive periods mixed it. That combined for a chippy practice between the players at times. There were multiple small skirmishes during the receivers and defensive backs one-on-one period. Wide receiver Jameson Williams was in the center of things a couple times and even took a swing at cornerback Starling Thomas V.

"Good physicality. Good things going on," Williams said after practice. "It's just practice. Things get rowdy. Things happen. We talked it out and it's good." – Tim Twentyman

Fan faves: Crowds have been big and enthusiastic at training camp, and they've made their feelings known. When one of the tight ends dropped a pass, one fan yelled out: "Put in LaPorta." Rookie Sam LaPorta is a second-round draft pick from Iowa who has played well in the offseason and in training camp. LaPorta did not finish practice Monday. – Mike O'Hara

Unfamiliar sight: We get so used to third-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown catching everything in sight and making every play that when he does drop the ball everyone seems to look around and make sure what they saw really happened. St. Brown had some terrific plays Monday at practice, especially in red zone one-on-ones against the DBs, but he also had a couple uncharacteristic drops. He was visibly upset at one during a team period. Even St. Brown is human sometimes. – Tim Twentyman

WR/DB drills: There was a lot of good one-on-one work Monday between the receivers and defensive backs. On the receiver side, I thought St. Brown, Williams and Kalif Raymond stood out with multiple wins. Defensively, Gardner-Johnson was good and so was cornerback Jerry Jacobs. – Tim Twentyman

Scary moment: Late in practice tight end Shane Zylstra went down with a right leg injury after taking a low hit to his plant leg in space by cornerback Khalil Dorsey. Zylstra was helped off the field and walked slowly to the locker room. Dorsey was visibly upset after the hit, but so were some offensive players taking exception to a hit below the waist to a teammate in practice. Definitely a learning moment for Dorsey. – Tim Twentyman

Hit zone: Media covering camp are generally at a safe distance from contact on the playing field, but there was a close call Monday. Running back Craig Reynolds was pushed out of bounds at full speed. He missed making contact with a media member, who showed speed, agility – and fear – in backpedaling out of range. – Mike O'Hara

View photos from Day 7 of Detroit Lions training camp on Sunday July 30, 2023.

Kicking competition: Here's the daily kicking recap as Riley Patterson and Parker Romo continue to compete for the kicker job. Both players got five live kicks in practice from 33, 42, 45, 48 and 51 yards. Romo missed from 51 yards and finished 4-for-5 on the day. Patterson missed from 45 and was also 4-for-5. – Tim Twentyman

Situational football: The offense was put in a tough situation late in a team period with the ball at the 41-yard line down 26-20 with 31 seconds on the clock and a couple timeouts in their pocket. Quarterback Jared Goff and the first-team offense got themselves down to the 14-yard line with three seconds left, but Goff's last pass into the end zone was high with no chance for anyone to catch it. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld and the second-team offense lasted just four plays as Sudfeld was sacked by defensive linemen Alim McNeill and Josh Paschal on a 4th and 5 play from the 36-yard line. – Tim Twentyman

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