Lions camp observations: Skirmish gets rookie booted from practice, and much more
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Tuesday's joint practice between the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions.
►Things got a little chippy during the second day of practice between the two teams, when Lions rookie defensive tackle P.J. Johnson and Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz getting into a post-play scrap that quickly drew a crowd of players from both squads.
Before things could escalate further, Lions coach Matt Patricia rumbled into the mass of humanity on the ATV he's been using to get around the practice field and sent Johnson to the showers early.
"I don't think it was a big deal," Lions linebacker and captain Devon Kennard said after practice. "When you put guys against each other who don't know each other, there can be a little bit of that. I think we kept it in control, for the most part."
This incident came one day after Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien kicked rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson out of a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers for being overly physical during non-contact portions of the session.
Kennard said it's important to remind players, especially young players, to keep their cool.
"You've got to keep it between the lines," Kennard said. "If someone does something you don't like, you have to let it go. It's usually the second guy responding that sets it off."
►That was true early in practice, when Detroit rookie offensive lineman Micah St. Andrews angered New England defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu during a one-on-one rep, leading to the defender giving St. Andrews a stiff shove.
Instead of retaliating, St. Andrews quickly and maturely defused the situation with some words and a pat on Kamalu's back.
"A lot of those things are just about pride," St. Andrews said. "I have pride in myself, know my abilities and I'm not insecure about the things I can do. I tried to defuse that situation because it would only lead to bad things for both parties. It only gets worse from there."
►Linebacker Jarrad Davis was sidelined for the second straight day. New injuries included Garrett Dooley, who left Monday's practice early, and rookie defensive tackle Ray Smith.
On Davis, coach Matt Patricia didn't have much to add.
"As far as J.D., something that just came up in practice the other day and we’re just trying to make sure that we do a good job with it, and as soon as he can get back out there, he’ll be out there," Patricia said.
Regarding lingering injuries, Teez Tabor, Austin Bryant and Da'Shawn Hand remain out. Hand, who has been wearing a range of motion brace on his elbow, had a new, added layer of protection under the brace this morning.
►It was largely a good day for the Lions' offensive line in the one-on-one drills. The projected starting five won eight of their 10 reps. On the losses, rookie defensive end Chase Winovich blew past left tackle Taylor Decker and guard Kenny Wiggins got brushed aside by defensive tackle Keionta Davis.
Among the backups, Tyrell Crosby had a good showing, fighting back against a pair of bull rushes, anchoring outside the pocket against Shalique Calhoun on both reps. Joe Dahl also delivered a strong pair of reps, stymieing Byron Cowart and Kamalu.
►On punt return, Jamal Agnew continues to look like Detroit's best option. His speed and quickness appear to be back to where they were his rookie season, when he earned All-Pro honors.
On punt coverage, Charles Washington continues to excel as a gunner. It's an underrated role and arguably his best path to a roster spot as part of a crowded safety group.
►Working seven-on-seven in the red zone, Detroit's first-team offense couldn't carry over its momentum from the day before. Quarterback Matthew Stafford connected on three of his seven throws, sending one directly into the chest of a defender.
►I wish I could tell you who got the hand on the ball, but the Lions did manage to block one of the Patriots' punts. Jalen Reeves-Maybin and wide receiver Jonathan Duhart were both in the area.
Reeves-Maybin also picked off Brady during the practice, undercutting a route during seven-on-seven work.
►Cornerback Mike Ford did a nice job battling with first-round draft pick N'Keal Harry on a deep pass down the sideline, managing to get a hand on the ball, but Harry came up with the unlikely catch, hauling in the deflection while on his backside.
►Stafford's deep ball consistency continues to be a lingering issue, but he dropped a dime to Jermaine Kearse for a touchdown from about 50 yards out during full-team work. Sure, the play took too long to develop, and Frank Ragnow was flagged for a hold, but it's good to see an accurate downfield shot.
►Both teams worked some different two-minute scenarios, with the first being 40 seconds remaining, 47 yards to go, no timeouts, needing a touchdown.
The Lions offense went first and quickly ate up 33 seconds on two Stafford passes to Danny Amendola in the middle of the field. A strike from Stafford to Andy Jones put the Lions at the 12-yard line with seven ticks remaining and the quarterback was able to salvage the ugly drive by finding tight end T.J. Hockenson on a post pattern for the "winning" touchdown.
On the Patriots' turn, Tom Brady was nearly picked off on the first snap by Amani Oruwariye, along the left sideline, but the rookie corner couldn't hang on while going to the ground. Two plays later, Brady made Oruwariye pay for the mistake, connecting with Phillip Dorsett on a 32-yard touchdown.
►It was another rough day for nickelback Justin Coleman. After a promising start, with an early pass breakup, Coleman routinely struggled to hang with Patriots receiver Braxton Berrios.
►Wide receiver Brandon Powell came up hurting late in practice. With no trainer seeming to notice him limping, Stafford jogged over from the sideline to offer a hand.
"A lot of guys on our team put a ton of work in," Stafford said. "I know it's important to him and I just wanted to chick on him. It seemed like no trainer was checking on him, so I was like, 'Screw it, I'm going.' I just wanted to make sure he was OK.'