August 13, 2014 at 1:06 am

Lions camp observations: Intensity swells under the lights

Josh Katzenstein on Ziggy Ansah at Lions camp
Josh Katzenstein on Ziggy Ansah at Lions camp: Sports writer Josh Katzenstein talks about the return of the defensive end .

Allen Park — Under bright lights and dark skies, the Lions had what some players considered the most intense practice of training camp Tuesday night.

Players wore full pads, and with a bevy of goal-line work, there were several hard hits throughout the night.

“Whenever goal line is involved, it’s going to get everybody riled up,” cornerback Rashean Mathis said.

The defense clearly won the night, and the highlight came in one of the series where the offense started near its goal line. Tight end Jacob Maxwell and tackle Cornelius Lucas each had a false start, the defense stuffed Mikel Leshoure at the 1, and Ryan Broyles dropped a pass on third down.

Naturally, when the defense wins, the offenses loses, so there will be plenty to work Wednesday before the Lions fly to Oakland for Friday’s exhibition game.

Here are some other observations from Tuesday:

* Rookie center Travis Swanson and Matthew Stafford had another fumbled exchange, which has been a recurring problem during camp. The fumble occurred with the offense inside the 5, and players were clearly frustrated.

* Both kickers looked good under the lights. Seventh-round pick Nate Freese hit all five of his attempts with makes from 31, 33, 39, 49 and 53 yards. Giorgio Tavecchio hit from the same distances, but had his first 49-yard attempt blocked by cornerback Jonte Green.

* Green’s field-goal block deserves a second mention. He ran untouched from the left edge and blocked it perfectly.

* Defensive tackle C.J. Mosley continued to practice with the first-team defense. Nick Fairley, meanwhile, remained with the second team for the second day in a row.

* Corey Hilliard earned first-team reps at right tackle, and based on the one-on-one drills, he and LaAdrian Waddle have work to do in order to make that spot a point of confidence when the season begins.

* Defensive end Jason Jones quickly put Hilliard on the ground during their first one-on-one matchup, but Hilliard managed to push Jones outside the pocket in their rematch.

* Waddle lost both of his matchups against end Darryl Tapp.

*Second-round linebacker Kyle Van Noy had his most extensive work with the first-team defense, and he and defensive end Devin Taylor combined for a tackle for loss in an 11-on-11 play.

* Guard Larry Warford did well blocking defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on their first one-on-one snap, but Suh got the better of him in the rematch.

* The most impressive one-on-one play came from rookie defensive end Larry Webster, who quickly threw tackle Michael Williams to the ground, though Webster fell, too, before hitting the bag.

* Defensive end George Johnson left practice with an undisclosed injury.

*Wide receiver TJ Jones, who’s on the physically unable to perform list (shoulder), was the only player who missed practice. Safety Don Carey and defensive end Ziggy Ansah did sit out team drills, though.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com
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Second-round linebacker Kyle Van Noy, shown here during rookie mini-camp in May, had his most extensive work with the first-team defense during Tuesday's practice. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News