Camp observations: First-unit offense rusty during mock game
Detroit — Here are some notes and observations from the Detroit Lions’ mock game at Ford Field on Saturday:
* The big story from the day was the potentially serious leg injury suffered by Eric Ebron. It came shortly after the tight end showcased his potential value to the offense.
The first-team unit struggled badly its first two possession with quarterback Matthew Stafford throwing an interception and Golden Tate and Theo Riddick dropping passes as part of a three-and-out on the second series.
Getting the ball back late in the first half, the group came to life with Ebron catching three passes, totaling nearly 60 yards. Included in that trio of grabs were a pair of long gains down the seam. The drive was capped by a short touchdown pass to Golden Tate, running a slant.
▪ As noted, Stafford struggled to find his rhythm early, forcing a bad ball to Anquan Boldin that was picked off by veteran cornerback Darrin Walls on the third play from scrimmage. Stafford settled down, and showed nice chemistry with Marvin Jones, but the quarterback's deep ball was a little off all day.
On one of those overthrown deep passes, TJ Jones crashed hard to the turf and was forced to leave the game with an unknown injury.
▪ Linebacker Josh Bynes continued to work with the first-team defense after moving into the role on Friday.
▪ Rookie running back Dwayne Washington fielded some kickoffs. You can see his exceptional speed and quickness when there is an opening, but he possesses average balance and body control, looking indecisive on cuts and wasting a lot of motion. That's something that should improve with more reps.
▪ Speaking of kickoff returns, Andre Roberts broke free for a long one, bringing the ball out from the end zone back to the opposite 29-yard line.
▪ There were a lot of penalty flags early, mostly against young players. Quandre Diggs got hit with a holding call on a third-down play that gave the second-team offense new life during a touchdown drive. Offensive lineman Joe Dahl drew a holding, killing a drive, Taylor Decker got busted for illegal hands to the face and receiver Jay Lee was assessed with a block in the back on a kickoff return.
▪ Beyond the penalty, Lee was the star of the day, serving as Dan Orlovsky's top target. The undrafted rookie out of Baylor caught five passes in the first half, then drew a long pass interference setting himself up for a short touchdown pass in the third frame. Look for more on Lee from colleague Ted Kulfan in the next couple days.
▪ Kicker Matt Prater looked as accurate as ever, but when asked to attempt a 59-yard boot at the end of the first half, he came up a couple feet short of the crossbar.
▪ Rookie defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson had a quiet first half, but opened the third quarter by stopping running back Zach Zenner for a four-yard loss and sacking Stafford on second down, setting up third-and-19.
▪ Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker was also disruptive, deflecting a pair of passes at the line of scrimmage. And on the outside, Devin Taylor was credited with one sack and probably should have been awarded a second, but the play wasn't blown dead.