The Lions are a week into training camp, and the intensity is up with padded practices now in the mix.
"It's real football now," rookie offensive lineman Frank Ragnow said earlier this week. "You can say what you want, but this isn't real football until you're putting on the pads and banging around."
Even for players like Matthew Stafford, who wears the red no-contact quarterback jersey, there's something to be gained from padded practices.
"Windows to throw the ball into, seeing between linemen, how a pocket is really going to hold up or it is isn't," Stafford said. "You know what I mean?
"If you don't have pads on, it's tough. It's tough for the guys on defense and it's tough for the guys on offense. We are not going to bull rush each other without pads on so that's part of it. And then really on the outside too. Receivers if you don't have pads on those DB's it's hard for them to jam you. You put the pads on, it's real now and real football and it's what it's all about."
Head coach Matt Patricia has incorporated periods of live tackling into his practices, as well as saving some of the more heavy drills until the end.
"A lot of times in practice, I'm trying to wear them out," he said. "And I'll put some of the more difficult periods at the end of practice, where they are probably the most fatigued or tired mentally, especially."
Check out all the action from Lions camp so far:
OFF THE NFI LIST
The Lions announced Wednesday that linebacker Devon Kennard was removed from Active/Non-Football Injury. Kennard returned to the field that morning for his first training camp practice as a Lion.
"It felt good being out there with my teammates," Kennard said after practice. "Putting some shoulder pads on again and everything and having fun out there. It was exciting."
On Friday the Lions announced that defensive end Cornelius Washington was also removed from Active/Non-Football Injury. Washington was the last player on NFI for the Lions.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Read how Darius Slay benefitted from offseason workouts with Richard Sherman and other top cornerbacks.
- Watch Tori Petry talk with ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins about calling the Lions' season opener against the Jets on Monday Night Football.
- Cornerback Teez Tabor's focus is on his playing career, but his passion for football could lead him to coaching one day.
- NFL officials were in Allen Park Thursday and Friday to give the players a thorough presentation on the league's new playing rules for 2018.