After two days of padded practices that featured increased physicality, the Detroit Lions took it easier on Wednesday morning.
Running back D’Andre Swift was on the field, but was only a limited participant. Head coach Dan Campbell expressed that there could be days running back gets a spell from practice. The intent is to keep his energy high and to assist in keeping the young back stay healthy throughout the course of a long season.
Levi Onwuzurike was not spotted in practice, but Campbell noted that the lighter workload for him was to aid in his recovery after getting banged up.
The team will resume camp on Thursday morning with a padded practice.
Here is a progress report on several members of the roster after one official week of training camp.
QB Jared Goff
Detroit’s signal-caller is clearly more comfortable working with new offensive coordinator Ben Johnson than he was with Anthony Lynn.
The increased involvement and input into the offense has increased the trust between player and coach, which should bode well for his play in the preseason.
Goff has made solid tosses, but the offense has not taken too many deep shots down the field. His favorite targets are Amon-Ra St. Brown, TJ Hockenson and Josh Reynolds, who should all benefit from the new offensive scheme.
The defense was able to force the veteran quarterback to make quicker decisions on Tuesday, forcing some incompletions and recording what would be sacks in live action.
DE Aidan Hutchinson
The young rookie is being placed all over the defensive line and has success for most of his first training camp.
He showcases speed, a tenacious pass-rush approach and solid fundamentals.
What the coaching staff has been impressed with has been his quick ability to rebound from mistakes out on the field and his professional approach off the field.
“He’s a monster, man. It’s been fun to watch him,” Romeo Okwara said following practice on Wednesday. “It’s awesome that he comes to play back home where he kind of grew up in and went to school down the street. So, it’s pretty cool for him to really experience that and he’s been killing it on the field. to watch. Can’t wait to get to join them.”
LB Malcolm Rodriguez
One of the emerging camp darling is the rookie linebacker out of Oklahoma State.
The young linebacker has already worked his way to becoming one of the players who represent what the rebuild is going to be about moving forward.
Grit, toughness and tenacious tackling.
When the pads were put on, the young rookie flashed to the coaching staff what he is able to accomplish.
Early in his career, he has also had the benefit of being able to talk to former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman.
AllLions asked the young rookie what were some early messages being delivered by the former linebacker.
“He told me, ‘hey, you aren’t the biggest linebacker, you just have to work.’ I’ve seen his film and he’s a dude. He was a dog.”
RB Jermar Jefferson
The young running back was called by Campbell one of the players who has taken the leap forward his second season in the NFL.
He flashes speed and solid pass catching skills, but needs to continue to work on blocking and becoming more of a complete back.
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His competitiveness is on display daily when he matches up with other backs on the roster in drills.
LB Derrick Barnes
Barnes will be in strong contention to earn one of the 2-3 three linebacker positions open on the 53-man roster.
He was the other player Campbell highlighted on Wednesday who have been significantly impressed him.
It is clear the team is watching for those who demonstrate the proper demeanor and willingness to put forth a significant amount of effort on special teams.
Barnes has the ability to be a player who benefits from the upgrade at the defensive line, if his speed and play recognition continue to improve.
CB Jeff Okudah
Being in competition with Will Harris for a starting position is not where the young defensive back wanted to find himself entering his third NFL season.
But, the former No. 3 overall pick has worked diligently to get himself back playing and competing for playing time.
He has shown flashes of the player the team drafted, but the competition at the highest level of football is stiff.
The Lions upgrade at wideout will test him all throughout camp.
While he has been beat by the likes of Josh Reynolds and Quintez Cephus, he has worked to improve his footwork and fundamentals.
It still has the feel that the 23-year-old will fit best at the nickel cornerback position.
WR DJ Chark
The talented receiver is being worked back slowly after he suffered a severe ankle injury in 2021.
He is a sure-handed receiver who is a solid complement to Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds.
If the goal is to be more explosive on offense, Chark will be among the top early candidates to see targets from Goff.
NT Alim McNeill
An improved diet and workout regime has seen the young defensive lineman take a leap forward entering training camp.
He is competitive in most drills and is finding his way in the backfield during team drills against a talented offensive line.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown
The second-year wideout is primed for a breakout season in 2022. He demonstrates all the intangibles of a player who is ready to build on a solid rookie season.
While the statistical numbers may decline slightly due to having more weapons on offense, his impact and importance will not decline.
Goff has invited him constantly for workouts out West and the time spent should pay off.
He appears to be getting off the line of scrimmage faster and is now able to make more decisions with an expanded route tree.