Allen Park — Darryl Tapp was holding a blocking bag during Monday practice for Haloti Ngata, who had no problem pushing Tapp where he wanted to go. Unfortunately, Ngata knew Tapp took it a little easy on him.
“We’re both 10-year vets, so it’s making me look good,” Ngata said.
But, according to Lions players and coaches, Ngata won’t need much help looking good as he spends the next several days working to get ready for Week 1.
“He's elite,” Tapp said. “They brought him in for a reason. They know what he's capable of, he knows what he's capable of (and) we know what he's capable of. We're looking forward to seeing him out there each and every week.”
The Lions activated Ngata from the non-football injury list and running back Joique Bell from the physically unable to perform list Monday, and both players made their practice debuts Monday afternoon.
Bell, the starting running back, has not practiced since undergoing knee and Achilles tendon surgeries in January, and even though he was limited Monday, he said all of his reps were with the first-team offense.
“I’m right on pace for where I think I should be as of right now,” he said.
Even though Bell’s injury lingered longer than anticipated — he said in February he planned to participate in May’s organized team activities — he said he expects to stay healthy.
“Once I get back, my mind won’t let my body fail,” he said.
Asked how long it will take to get in game shape, which is something the coaches have mentioned as a concern, Bell said, “As much time as I have.”
Ngata suffered a hamstring injury while preparing for training camp and should step in as the starting left defensive tackle, a spot formerly held by Ndamukong Suh. During his weeks off, he said he worked on developing camaraderie with his fellow defensive linemen, but he still has to adjust to the new scheme physically.
And Ngata said there is a “little bit” of a chip on his shoulder after being traded by the Ravens, the team with which he spent nine years.
“You want to kind of show your old team that they’re missing out, but it is a business,” Ngata said. “They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.”
And Lions coach Jim Caldwell has a good idea of what he wants to see from Ngata between now and the regular season.
“We have a pretty good idea what we’re going to get from him,” he said. “We just need him healthy.”