Camp observations: Zettel, Copeland shine in one-on-one drills
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Lions' third day of practice.
■ For the first time this offseason, the Detroit Lions conducted a fully padded practice. The best part of these sessions for those in attendance are the one-on-one pass rush drills, where a defensive lineman attempts to best an offensive lineman or tight end and knock down a hanging bag, representing the quarterback in the pocket.
The two defensive linemen who shined were second-year defensive end Anthony Zettel and Swiss Army knife Brandon Copeland. Zettel flashed explosive burst out of his stance and got the corner on both Cyrus Kouandjio and Greg Robinson. Zettel got a little too wide on Robinson, a frustration he admitted after practice, but the overall performance showed promising skill development.
As for Copeland, who has worked primarily as a linebacker this camp, he easily bested recently signed tackle Nick Becton and ripped past rookie tight end Michael Roberts with a slick inside move.
From a blocking perspective guard Graham Glasgow and tight end Darren Fells looked strong. Glasgow stonewalled defensive tackles Jordan Hill and Jeremiah Ledbetter. And rookie defensive end Alex Barrett had no chance against Fells. One rep after Barrett blew past offensive tackle Storm Norton, he was swallowed up by Fells.
Fells also delivered a massive block in team drills, driving Zettel well out of his gap, opening a big lane for running back Ameer Abdullah around the left edge.
■ There were no significant injuries during Tuesday’s practice, but rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis twice left the field to get an ankle re-taped.
Defensive end Cornelius Washington and safety Tavon Wilson didn’t practice after suffering injuries on Monday. Tight end Eric Ebron also remained out and guard T.J. Lang was held out after doing individual drills on Monday.
■ The positive news on the injury front was the increased practice participation for Robinson, who took his first team reps with the Lions, getting in some work with the top offensive unit at left tackle.
■ Zettel got the first-team nod at defensive end, opposite Kerry Hyder, while safety Charles Washington got some burn with the top group in place of Wilson. Miles Killebrew, maybe the more logical replacement for Wilson, spent his day working as a nickel back, something he routinely did last season.
■ It’s easy to be impressed with the recent positioning of cornerback Nevin Lawson in coverage. He’s been light on his feet and much more instinctive as receivers come out of their breaks. The problem remains finishing. Receivers have been coming away with too many contested catches.
■ A little bit of the shine came off much-hyped rookie receiver Kenny Golladay in the first padded practice. He did have a nifty grab in seven-on-sevens against second-year corner Adairius Barnes, but in the one-on-one drills, physical coverage got the best of Golladay as Johnson Bademosi, Teez Tabor and D.J. Hayden all muscled him off his routes, although Tabor was flagged for pass interference.
It’s a good wake-up call for Golladay, who has been so impressive to this point. At 6-foot-4, 218 pounds, defensive backs will look to be physical with him off the line and he’ll need to learn to be better there.
■ Jace Billingsley looked sharp in one-on-ones, but muffed a punt for the third consecutive day. That’s one way to quickly fall behind in that competition.