Allen Park — Joseph Fauria missed the Lions' preseason opener last week as he recovered from a lower-body injury, but if Tuesday's practice is any indication, he'll have plenty of opportunities Thursday against Washington.
The third-year tight end received his most extensive action thus far in training camp, including several plays with the first-team offense.
Though Fauria will likely make the team, his injury last year and this year hurt his standing within the organization. In the NFL, coaches often say the best ability is availability, and for that reason, Fauria must take advantage of his opportunities in the exhibition games to secure his spot on the 53-man roster.
"Fine tight end play is what we're looking for really, and not just limited to one particular area — runs and passes," coach Jim Caldwell said of what he wants to see from Fauria.
After an impressive rookie year with seven touchdowns, Fauria struggled in 2014 with just six catches for 74 yards and one touchdown in seven games. He missed nine games due to an ankle injury he suffered off the field.
On Tuesday, the Lions used Fauria at all levels of the field, and after one catch, he lowered his shoulder into cornerback Quandre Diggs. In addition to being a receiver, he should have plenty of blocking opportunities against Washington. Fauria's top competition for the third tight end spot — David Ausberry — is already on injured reserve, but improved blocking and special teams work would help Fauria remain with the team.
Here are some other observations from Tuesday's practice:
* Cornerback Nevin Lawson had an excellent practice. In one-on-one drills, he had an interception while covering Corey Fuller, creating good inside position, then taking the ball right out of Fuller's hands. On his next turn, Lawson got physical with Eric Ebron and covered him tight for the duration of the deep incompletion. In team drills, Lawson had a great pass breakup on a well-thrown deep ball to Ryan Broyles.
* First-round pick Laken Tomlinson earned all the first-team reps Tuesday, a sign he could have those opportunities on Thursday. On one play in a nine-on-nine drill, Tomlinson made a good block on Stephen Tulloch at the second level. However, a defensive tackle — either Tyrunn Walker or Caraun Reid — powered through him on a subsequent play.
* Defensive end Devin Taylor is starting to have an unfair advantage in one-on-one pass rushing drills. With his speed and length, he was easily winning against Cornelius Lucas.
* Interior offensive lineman Taylor Boggs had yet another pancake block, this time against Kerry Hyder.
* Another highlight of the line drills was offensive tackle Michael Williams completely stone-walling Larry Webster on their first rep. Webster performed much better in his second attempt.
* Kellen Moore's struggles with the center-quarterback exchange continued as he tripped following one snap in team drills.
* Matthew Stafford was a perfect 6-for-6 during one 11-on-11 period. Only two of the balls were longer than 10 yards, which could be an indication the Lions want to try to systematically pick apart defenses instead of trying more risky deep shots.
* Wide receiver Greg Salas ran a superb deep route against Chris Owens, getting open easily then tracking the deep ball for a score in one-on-ones. TJ Jones made a nice end zone catch, too, beating Diggs on a ball thrown to the front corner of the area.
*There weren't any new additions to the injured list as LaAdrian Waddle, Jason Jones, Joique Bell, Haloti Ngata, Alex Carter remained out.