Here are some notes and observations from Detroit Lions' training camp practice on Friday.
• A precarious part of training camp has been the location of the media platform. While it offers a quality vantage point of practice, it happens to be located directly behind the end zone of one of the two fields. That wouldn't normally be the issue, other than the fact it's the end zone where Lions kicker Matt Prater spends most of his time practicing.
Throughout the week, footballs have sailed into the platform, ricocheting off the five rows of bleachers built into the setup, but things took a hilarious turn (hilarious because no one was hurt) when not one, but two balls hit the same reporter in a five-second stretch.
The first, coming off the foot of undrafted backup Ryan Santoso, caught the reporter in the shoulder while he was applying sunscreen. The cleanup shot, from Prater, hit the still-stunned reporter's hand, causing a jet of sunscreen to comically squirt out of the bottle.
• The Lions were missing several players for the practice, with the most notable being defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson. He had been limited the day before.
Also sitting out were tight end Michael Roberts, defensive tackle Da'Shawn Hand, linebacker Chad Meredith, safety Stefan McClure, defensive end Cam Johnson, and guard T.J. Lang. That's three straight absences for Roberts and Hand. It was presumably a veteran day for Lang.
• Good luck to everyone who drew a coverage assignment against running back Theo Riddick, who outside of a drop on a low pass during an early-practice individual rep, abused Lions defenders.
Everyone around these parts knows what Riddick can do in the passing game, but a diving downfield grab on a deep throw goes above and beyond what we're accustomed to seeing from the back.
• In individual drills, the backs dominated the linebackers in receiving work. Rookie Kerryon Johnson caught passes all three reps, beating Johnathan Freeny, Steve Longa and Jarrad Davis on various routes.
The best coverage rep came from Longa, when matched up against Ameer Abdullah, split wide. Unlike most running backs, who ran in-breaking routes from the alignment, Abdullah attempted to go up the sideline on a double move, but Longa stayed with his assignment stride for stride and knocked the throw away.
• In pass protection work between the same groups, the running backs didn't have as much success as they did the day before. Johnson was still strong, winning two of his three reps, but got beat badly once by Davis. LeGarrette Blount split his reps, stuffing Jalen Reeves-Maybin, before dropping one to Freeny.
• For the first time, the Lions ran a third drill between the running backs and linebackers. A modified Oklahoma drill consisting of a ball carrier and tackler lined up three yards apart, with the defender on the goal line and tasked with stopping the back's momentum.
• Jeremiah Ledbetter has been showing up more and more in my notepad. The second-year defensive tackle had a backfield stop in both full-line drills and the full-team scrimmage. He also had an excellent day during individual pass-rush work against the offensive line, besting Leo Koloamatangi twice.
• Two other defensive linemen that won both their reps were Kerry Hyder, working against Corey Robinson, and Christian Ringo, decisively dominating a pair of reps against Kenny Wiggins.
For the offensive line, rookies Frank Ragnow and Tyrell Crosby were the only two to win both reps, against Toby Johnson and Jeremiah Valoaga, respectively.
• Nevin Lawson put together a second straight quality practice. His physicality was on full display during a red zone rep against Kenny Golladay. Lawson started off with an excellent jam and stayed inside Golladay's frame to break up an attempted fade.
• For the second time in camp, cornerback DeShawn Shead punched a ball loose, forcing Blount to fumble during a full-team scrimmage run.
• This is the thought of a wandering mind, but I'd be interested in learning how the Lions go about putting together their practice playlists. Some days it's popular, modern hip-hop, others classic rock, and Friday it was a mix of stuff popular in the 1990s, from Creed to Smashing Pumpkins to Bush.
As former Detroit News writer Geoff Robinson asked on Twitter, "How many Lions players do you think know who Creed is?"
Not many, Geoff. Not many.