The Lions just finished up their first week of OTA practices. Thursday's session was open to the media, and there were plenty of takeaways, most notably the absence of key offensive playmakers.
Tight end Eric Ebron (unspecified injury), wide receiver Golden Tate (not injury related) and running back Ameer Abdullah were all out.
According to head coach Jim Caldwell, Abdullah is 'recovering nicely' from offseason shoulder surgery. There is no timeline for his return just yet.
For Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara's full list of observations from Thursday's practice, click here.
LEVY IS BACK
While the offense might have been without some starters, the defense got a critical one back -- linebacker DeAndre Levy.
After missing the majority of last season, Levy is focused on retraining his eyes and getting back to form.
"You're always eager to restart again," he said.
"You have a bad season personally and collectively as a team it feels good to have a fresh start. That's the good thing about football, each year is a new year."
BUILDING THE DEFENSE
There are several players on defense in unique situations as they start to find their place on the Lions roster.
Cornerback Nevin Lawson: Lawson missed most of his rookie season (2014) due to injury. Last year he rebounded nicely when filling in for Rashean Mathis (IR, concussion) in a starting role.
Now Mathis is retired and Lawson's out to prove he's a full-time starter.
"The way I approach this year, I'm coming in to prove that I should be the starter" Lawson said. "I know nothing is given, and you can never take anything for granted. I want to prove I deserve to be the starter.
"I think I did a great job, but that was last year. I feel like I have to improve tremendously this year. You can never feel too secure and too comfortable. You have to always keep that edge."
Cornerback Alex Carter: Lawson's fellow cornerback Carter also knows what it's like to miss out on a rookie season. Carter is happy to be back on the field with his teammates this year, taking reps at both outside corner and in the slot.
"I love being able to get both reps," Carter said. "You learn more of the defense that way. You get more experience and learn how the defense works."
Linebacker Josh Bynes: Bynes currently find himself in a reshuffled Lions linebacking corps. He's ready to play, but he'll let the coaches determine where.
"I leave that up to TA and Coach Caldwell," Bynes said earlier this week, referring to defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and head coach Jim Caldwell.
"I play whatever position they need me to play – whatever position shows my ability better than any other. I want to be productive, and be a good player."
Defensive tackle Stefan Charles: After playing primarily in a backup role in Buffalo, Charles is hoping to be more of a difference-maker in Detroit.
"I have nothing bad to say about anybody in Buffalo," Charles said. "I loved my time there. I had to do this for myself. I want to be a difference-maker, more than I was in Buffalo.
"It's time to show out – time to show everybody what I can do instead of playing behind in a backup role."
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- The Lions announced Tuesday that they will participate in two joint practice sessions with the Steelers as part of the team's 2016 Training Camp schedule.
- Who will get the most catches this year? Tim Twentyman tackles that question and more in his 10 questions column.
- Read how wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. is working on building chemistry with his new teammates, on and off the field.
- What will take cornerback Darius Slay's game to the next level? Safety Glover Quin has an idea.
- Haloti Ngata is a true veteran in a defensive line room that got considerably younger this offseason. Find out how he's embracing his new leadership role.