The Lions have completed two joint practices with the Raiders. Some players shined, others not so much. We discuss that and who we'll be watching in the preseason opener. The Detroit News
Napa, Calif. — Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday's joint practice with the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders.
■ The Lions have three cornerbacks competing to start opposite Darius Slay, and if asked to pick the best bet today, I'd lean Nevin Lawson. He doesn't give you many big plays, but he plays a physical brand of football, is decent in coverage and an above average tackler.
Both DeShawn Shead and last year's second-round pick Teez Tabor have potential to be better options, but both have lacked the consistency you'd like to see on the practice field.
With Lawson sitting out with an injury, it was an opportunity for Shead and Tabor to make an impression, and while they both did, those impressions weren't exactly positive.
Shead, working against Amari Cooper during individual drills, got embarrassed twice. The first was painful to watch as Cooper's route got Shead's feet so tangled up he fell to the ground. As for Tabor, deep patterns continue to be a big issue. He's getting beat over the top too often. He lost his man on go routes in both individual and full-team work.
Tabor was also flagged on an early one-on-one rep.
■ In addition to Lawson, defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois was also sitting out. Running back Theo Riddick appeared to injury his hand or wrist when working on a pass-blocking drill, but he was able to shake it off and finish practice.
■ A pair of returning pass rushers are slowly working their way back into contact drills with promising results. Ziggy Ansah absolutely embarrassed tight end Michael Roberts in a one-on-one pass rush drill, feigning an outside rush before dipping sharply inside once the tight end committed. Roberts' barely got a hand on Ansah in the close-quarters rep.
Cornelius Washington also had a nice one-on-one rep, ripping past Raiders guard Denver Kirkland.
■ Overall, the Lions defensive front didn't fare well in the pass-rush drill against the Raiders. Linebacker Christian Jones was stuffed twice. The same went for Kerry Hyder, Alex Barrett and A'Shawn Robinson, although he was arguably held on the second rep.
Devon Kennard got a win against rookie tackle Kolton Miller, but only when Miller's knee appeared to buckle. Sylvester Williams didn't go undefeated, but did win two of his three reps, one with a sudden burst off the ball and a second with a powerful bull rush.
When the linemen worked the drill in tandem, the Lions continued to struggle, other than the combination of Hyder and Freddie Bishop, who managed to get pressure on all three reps.
■ Ameer Abdullah muffed a punt.
■ Jamal Agnew picked off a pass in seven-on-seven work. It's his first interception of training camp.
■ Cornerback Chris Jones also came away with an interception, stepping in front of an E.J. Manual pass in one-on-one work.
■ There was a small skirmish early in practice. It's unclear what caused the incident, but Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis and defensive end Anthony Zettel were right in the middle of the fray.
■ Slay had another strong day with a pass-breakup on Cooper and an interception on a free play that was eventually negated by an encroachment call against the defensive line.
Slay almost had another interception, undercutting a route and deflecting a throw that ended up being caught by Martavis Bryant
■ For the Michigan State fans, quarterback Connor Cook looked really sharp at times. He zipped a frozen rope into a tiny window down the seam to receiver Griff Whalen. Linebacker Trevor Bates was all over Whalen in coverage. Cook also threw a deep touchdown to Martavis Bryant, working against Tabor.