It’s 75 degrees under a cloudless sky. There's a light wind out of the Northwest. The players are in shorts again and they are practicing on the west field.
After warm-ups I spoke briefly with WR Titus Young, who once again did not practice. He said that he’s day-to-day.
I asked Calvin: “No clipboard for C.J. today?” He smiled, shook his head and donned his helmet.
The Injury Report
RB Maurice Morris was still in a cast. DT Corey Williams (ankle) was dressed, but didn’t practice. OT Jeff Backus was still sidelined. OT Jason Fox was in a walking boot. Both starting CBs (Chris Houston and Eric Wright) were sidelined. WR Demario Ballard was held out of practice. QB Shaun Hill participated in individual drills, but was held out of further segments.
It was good to spot DT Nick Fairley in a walking boot—looks like the rehab is under way.
Special Teams Du Jour
Today, the Lions spent lots of practice time on the punting squads. RBs Rashied Davis, Maurice Stovall and Nate Hughes joined Stefan Logan as the deep back (return specialist).
Special teams coach Danny Crossman was very active as usual.
Five-on-Seven Passing and Coverage
The offense used three wideouts, a RB and a TE. The defensive first-team was LOLB Justin Durant, MLB Stephen Tulloch and ROLB DeAndre Levy, LCB Aaron Berry, RCB Brandon McDonald, FS Louis Delmas and SS Amari Spievey.
I don’t know about you, but I have a much higher degree of confidence in this group—even without the starting CBs—than I ever had last year.
The second-team secondary was LCB Aaron Berry, RCB Nathan Vasher, FS Erik Coleman and SS Amari Spievey. The LTD LBs remained the same.
The third-team back seven looked like this: LOLB Bobby Carpenter, MLB Dejuan Fulghum, ROLB Ashlee Palmer, LCB Paul Pratt, RCB Prince Miller, FS John Wendling and SS Michael Johnson.
Full Squad 1st-and-10 Plays
On the first play, QB Matt Stafford hit Calvin Johnson in stride with a 60-yard bomb. FS Louis Delmas never had a chance.
Stafford had a series of under-thrown passes on short routes. I had to check the number on his jersey. Maybe it was an off day?
As promised, I watched the O-line primarily. LT Corey Hilliard, LG Rob Sims, C Dom Raiola, RG Stephen Peterman and RT Johnny Culbreath looked like they’ve been working together for years, even against some blitz packages.
I came away with the warm fuzzies at how deep the Lions look at tackle.
The second-team O-line consisted of LT Rudy Niswanger, LG Don Gerberry, C Dylan Gandy, RG Donald Thomas and RT Kirk Chambers.
Gerberry at guard? Hmm.
This group was overmatched against the second-team D-line, consisting of LDE Lawrence Jackson, LDT Quinn Pitcock, RDT Robert Callaway and RDE Willie Young.
With DT Corey Williams sidelined, DT Sammie Lee Hill took the first-team reps. Hill looks every bit a starter.
QB Drew Stanton looked very adequate at the helm today, as did WRs Derrick Williams, Rashied Davis and Nate Hughes. Williams is back to the Williams of old. He was perfect today.
Two-Minute Drill From the 50-Yard Line
This was the most entertaining drill of the day: The first-team offense vs. the first-team defense.
Stafford engineered a nice drive, but failed on three shots at the end zone. Louis Delmas was outstanding in coverage.
When it was the second-team’s turn, the defense prevailed again. When the vertically challenged CB Paul Pratt was caught in a mismatch with TE Tony Scheffler, Pratt found a way to break up the Stanton pass.
Pratt stood over the prostrate Scheffler and beat his chest. That would have been flagged in a game, but today it was about having a little fun.
I asked Lions president Tom Lewand about FB Collin Mooney. He said that the Lions tryout a lot of players that don’t broadcast via Twitter. All business, and business as usual.
The team seems to be gelling nicely in spite of the frenetic pace of the preseason. The team’s work on run defense should pay some dividends down the road.
I am concerned about the rushing game, but there is little in the way of remedial effort taking place that I can see. I guess we will have to be satisfied with our running backs being larger weapons in the Lions passing game.
One would think that roster cuts would be easier as camp grinds on. This year, there could be some surprising cuts due to some outstanding performers in training camp.
I will start focusing on some of the key individual matchups in camp to get a sense of who looks safe and who might be in jeopardy.
Hey, players, I’m watching you! And, I’m taking notes.
Tomorrow’s (Wednesday) practice has been moved to 3:15 PM. I will have to pass on attending.
I’ll return after the Cleveland preseason game.
Mike Sudds is a syndicated Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.