Camp observations: Lions shuffle linemen with Warford out
Allen Park — With right guard Larry Warford nursing a high ankle sprain, the Lions will have to fill his spot at practice until he returns.
In a brief practice Friday, Taylor Boggs played right guard during the abbreviated team drills, and in the hour-long session Sunday, which included more team drills, Manny Ramirez took Warford’s spot.
Meanwhile, the Lions’ first-round pick, Laken Tomlinson, played left guard, even though he spent the last four years playing right guard at Duke.
“We really interchange those guys for the most part,” Jim Caldwell said of his interior offensive linemen.
Whether or not the Lions work Tomlinson at right guard will likely depend on how long Warford is sidelined. Caldwell said Friday the Lions would consider how playing right guard would disrupt Tomlinson’s learning curve, considering Warford is the long-term option on the right side and they hope Tomlinson will play left guard for the next several years.
Ramirez has been the primary left guard this summer, staying ahead of the rookie at least to this point. Even if Tomlinson wins the job, the plan is to have Ramirez as the backup at either guard spot or center, where Travis Swanson will take over for Dominic Raiola. If Warford misses the start of the season, Ramirez could play right guard while Tomlinson plays on the left side, where he’s been training since the Lions drafted him.
Boggs, meanwhile, is trying to play himself onto the roster and was Warford’s replacement after he suffered the injury in the first quarter of Thursday’s exhibition against Washington. It’ll be difficult to keep five interior offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, but if Warford’s injury lingers into the regular season, Boggs could make it as another versatile backup with experience at center, too.
Here are some other observations from Sunday’s practice:
■Travis Lewis played strong-side linebacker with the starting defense, a surprise with Tahir Whitehead healthy and playing instead with the backups. One explanation could be the Lions are trying to prepare Whitehead’s backups with Kyle Van Noy dealing with an undisclosed injury.
■Overall, the practice was sloppy for the offense. Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Jeremy Ross were among the players who dropped passes.
■With Caraun Reid sidelined with a high ankle sprain, Jermelle Cudjo was the starting defensive tackle next to Tyrunn Walker. Cudjo playing ahead of rookie fourth-round pick Gabe Wright is little surprise because of Cudjo’s experience, and Cudjo should earn a roster spot if Reid isn’t ready for Week 1.
■Matthew Stafford showed off a nice pump fake on one intermediate sideline throw to Johnson along the sideline in team drills.
■Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore split the second-team reps. The highlight between the duo was Orlovsky’s perfect pass to TJ Jones in the end zone, splitting a couple defenders.
■Andrew Peacock made a really impressive catch in close quarters with the bigger Whitehead. Corey Fuller and Joseph Fauria also made a nice contested catches, and Ryan Broyles had a strong diving catch.
■The Lions will enter their regular-season protocol for practice Monday, meaning only a short period of individual drills will be open to the media. So, this will be the last time for observations this year.