Lions camp observations: Kerryon Johnson's ball security tested
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Detroit Lions' training camp practice on Saturday.
■ The team has run a pair of different ball security drills the first two days of practice. On Friday, the one-on-one drill appeared to focus on maintaining possession while off balance, requiring the ball carrier to place a hand on the ground and lift a leg every couple steps while a teammate tried to punch it out. Saturday's version was far more physical, with two players punching at the ball while the carrier jogged sideline to sideline.
It's unusual to see the ball pop free during these drills, but there were a few jarred loose during Saturday's intense battles. Rookie running back Kerryon Johnson lost control on one when undrafted linebacker Chad Meredith ripped it free.
■ The Lions continue to limit Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang's workload. Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins split the majority of the first-team reps at that spot. Additionally, rookie Tyrell Crosby got a handful of first-team snaps at right tackle, giving Rick Wagner a breather.
■ Cornerback Teez Tabor had some struggles in coverage. He prevented an early completion to Marvin Jones in two-on-two work, but probably would have drew a flag for holding after getting an arm around the receiver's neck out of his break. Tabor was also bested by Kenny Golladay and undrafted rookie receiver Brandon Powell on snaps.
Later, working with the second-team defense during a full-team scrimmage, Tabor was burned by Jace Billingsley for a nice gain on a slant from the slot.
■ Powell might be the smallest guy on the field at 5-foot-8, but he's shown ability to work his low center of gravity to his advantage by shaking a couple defenders with impressive change-of-direction quickness reminiscent of teammate Theo Riddick.
■ Tight end Michael Roberts continued his strong offseason with a series of quality catches on Saturday, including two toe-tappers on the back line, beating safeties Glover Quin and Miles Killebrew. Roberts made a third twisting grab while going to the ground against Tavon Wilson that looked like it would have been ruled out of bounds.
■ We'll get our first feel for the trenches on Sunday when the pads come on, but the defensive line was getting some nice pressure in the warm up. Kerry Hyder beat Crosby on an inside move that would have resulted in a sack, while defensive tackle Toby Johnson blew through the interior on another snap that would have also been trouble for the quarterback.
■ Again, no pads, but linebacker Steve Longa came up with a well-timed run fit that would have allowed him to drop running back Zach Zenner for a loss.
■ Not a great practice for quarterback Jake Rudock, who was working with the third-team offense. During seven-on-seven, he put one into the paddles the coaches hold up to simulate throwing lane traffic. A play later, he rolled away from "pressure" as the coverage was holding up well in the back end, before sailing a pass well over his target's head.
■ Riddick took many of the first-team reps at running back.
■ After a rocky stretch earlier in the offseason, tight end Marcus Lucas seems to be getting into a rhythm. He closed out the day with a pair of tough, contested catches on back-to-back snaps in a seven-on-seven drill.