Camp observations: Receivers get jump on secondary
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Lions’ training camp practice on Sunday:
■The players were in full pads, which means we got our first look at the offensive and defensive linemen going head-to-head in the pass-rush drill. Rookie Taylor Decker split with Ezekiel Ansah, mirroring the Pro Bowl defensive end’s rush on the first rep and getting beat around the outside edge on the second. Haloti Ngata and Larry Warford also split, with Ngata blowing past the guard on the first snap and Warford establishing a strong anchor on the second.
At right tackle, Riley Reiff looked excellent, besting defensive end Devin Taylor twice and driving him into the ground on the second rep.
Things didn’t go as well for Laken Tomlinson, who got beat twice by Tyrunn Walker (who is looking explosive off the ball, by the way). The guard’s performance earned him an earful from assistant coach Ron Prince.
Finally, rookie Joe Dahl had a nice showing, winning all three of his reps, including knocking down defensive end veteran Wallace Gilberry on one, although Dahl clearly would have been flagged for a false start on his first snap.
■On the other side of the field, the wide receivers dominated one-on-one drills against the defensive backs. Obviously there has been a lot of hand-wringing from fans about the receiving corps sans Calvin Johnson, but this group has enough talent and versatility that it will be tough for opponents to stop.
■Running back Stevan Ridley showed good movement and speed in team drills when working against just the front seven, but he had little room to operate once full scrimmaging began. Ameer Abdullah, still in the red jersey that prohibits defensive contact, looked lighting-fast with his cutbacks up the gut, but the defense’s natural hesitation to avoid hitting him makes it difficult to offer a full evaluation.
■DeAndre Levy is still not practicing, but the star linebacker was on the field going through some half-speed skeleton drills, staying mentally fresh for when he’s medically cleared.
■Johnson Bademosi got some first-team work at cornerback, but I don’t see any way he’s a threat to Nevin Lawson’s job on the outside.
■The team broke up special team work into concentrated drills. My focus was on the 2-on-1 drill between gunners and those trying to block them on the punt return. Veteran cornerback Crezdon Butler had a nice showing, splitting the blockers during one of his reps at gunner and staying in front of his man as a blocker. Rookie defensive back Charles Washington drew some cheers from the crowd when, as a gunner, he zipped around the blocking efforts of Alex Carter and Darrin Walls.