Camp observations: Lions rookie Frank Ragnow dominates
Allen Park -- Here are some notes and observations from Sunday's Detroit Lions' training camp practice.
• The pads came on for the first time, allowing us to get a better feel for the performance of the offensive and defensive lines, as well as the running backs.
It was difficult to not focus attention on rookie Frank Ragnow, given his status as the team's first-round draft pick. From the handful of snaps within view of the end zone platform where media members watch practice, Ragnow had a strong day. He absolutely dominated his one-on-one rep against defensive tackle Toby Johnson. The rookie also put linebacker Jonathan Freeny on his backside during a half-line drill, working with left tackle Taylor Decker and center Graham Glasgow.
• The team got the contact started early with an inside/outside zone run drill, which had a tight end go head-to-head with an edge defender, while a running back had to read the leverage and decided whether to flow to an inside or outside lane. Given the open space, the drill gave a significant advantage to the tight ends.
Among the defensive players, second-year defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga had the best series of reps. He blew by his man on the first, drawing a round of praise and a high five from coach Matt Patricia. On a second snap, Valoaga easily knocked Michael Roberts to the ground. The coaches did have the pair run it back and Roberts got the better of the rematch.
• While the offensive lineman worked on half-line run blocking, the wide receivers matched up against the defensive backs in an open-field blocking drill. Kenny Golladay showcased his ability to use his frame to create problems, but a pair of Detroit's smaller receivers, Jace Billingsley and TJ Jones, showed admirable want-to when marking their man on the perimeter.
• During a third-team seven-on-seven segment cornerbacks Chris Jones and Amari Coleman worked with nice technique, breaking up a pair of deep sideline throws from quarterback Matt Cassel.
In the same segment, wide receiver Dontez Ford caught a short pass and kept his footing after being clocked by linebacker Steve Longa, only to see linebacker Darnell Sankey come in and strip the ball loose.
• Marvin Jones showed no ill effects from his leg injury the day before, easily shaking cornerback DeShawn Shead on the pair's first one-on-one rep. When the two matched up again, Jones got a step on Shead, but made a rare mistake, dropping the well-placed Matthew Stafford deep ball.
Also in one-on-one, cornerback Darius Slay perfectly played a deep look to Kenny Golladay, knocking the ball away.
• In a five-on-five pass-rush drill, I liked what I was seeing from Jarrad Davis. The second-year linebacker overpowered center Graham Glasgow on one rep and forced backup tackle Corey Robinson to hold when bending around the edge on a second.
Davis does a lot of little things during practice that would often go unnoticed. A couple examples: During a down period, he worked on some of his pass-rush moves with defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni, linebackers coach Al Golden and injured teammate Devon Kennard. Later, during full-team scrimmage work, after the first-team wrapped up, Davis stood next to Patricia and talked through the rest of the snaps with the coach.
• We mentioned Ragnow's lone one-on-one rep. Here are a few other observations from the one-on-one pass-rush drill.
-- Rick Wagner stonwalled Kerry Hyder.
-- A'Shawn Robinson was able to get solid push and shed guard T.J. Lang.
-- Taylor Decker anchored too deep against Anthony Zettel, ending up well into the pocket.
-- Rookie Da'Shawn Hand got excellent hand placement into the chest of Dan Skipper, driving the lineman back while slightly lifting him off his feet.
• The Lions ran a version of the Oklahoma drill on Sunday, having a ball carrier and defender starting on their backs, head-to-head with about a yard of space between them. At the whistle, both raced to their feet, with the defender trying to wrap up the ball carrier.
• In full-team work, Theo Riddick handled the first-team running back work. After picking up a nice chunk up on the gut, and another good gain on a play-action dump off, he was stopped twice near the line of scrimmage.
On the first, Shead did a nice job filling his gap on the edge and the other Zettel put Decker on his butt on his way to hitting Riddick in the backfield.
• Sam Martin was putting on a show, punting with no rush he dropped three consecutive boots inside the 5-yard line, including two at the 1-yard line.
• The Lions closed with some live-tackling work at the goal line. Dwayne Washington, working with the first team, got stuff twice, first by Quandre Diggs and again by A'Shawn Robinson.
Working with the second unit, rookie Kerryon Johnson got into the end zone on both his carries, stepping over a downed Christian Ringo in the backfield for the first score and making a nice cutback to avoid a penetrating Toby Johnson for another.