Lions coach Matt Patricia talks about dealing with the heat this week in Houston By Matt Schoch, Special to The Detroit News
Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Tuesday's Detroit Lions training camp practice.
► Matthew Stafford was back at practice on Tuesday following a pair of veteran rest days and had no issues jumping back into the flow of camp. During an early seven-on-seven red zone period, he completed four of his five throws for touchdowns, connecting with three different tight ends, including rookie T.J. Hockenson on back-to-back plays.
Stafford also had success on the single-play red zone reps coach Matt Patricia likes to run between practice segments. Stafford connected with Kenny Golladay for a touchdown over nickelback Justin Coleman on and a second with Hockenson, working against Tracy Walker.
The franchise quarterback also got a couple reps in at receiver. Having Stafford run a route is certainly in the playbook, but this was more about a wildcat look the Lions were using to prepare the defense for the possibility of seeing it during the regular season.
► Backup quarterback Josh Johnson, practicing for just the third time with the Lions, was given the opportunity to take some second-team reps, ahead of David Fales. Most of Johnson's throws were close to the line of scrimmage, but he did manage to connect with wide receiver Tommylee Lewis, running a go route against Dee Virgin, for a long touchdown.
Meanwhile, Fales continued to struggle. In early route combination work from inside the 5-yard line, he routinely sailed passes over his receivers' heads. Those accuracy issues carried over into the team segments, with one of his passes getting deflected into the waiting arms of Walker.
The sample size is admittedly small, but during this week of practice, Johnson looked better than Fales, and in many ways, he's been more accurate in full-team work than Tom Savage, Detroit's presumptive backup before suffering a concussion in the preseason opener.
If Johnson goes out to Houston and has a good week of practice, followed by a quality showing in the preseason, it's worth asking whether he could legitimately jump into contention for Detroit's backup job. Why not? He reportedly turned down an opportunity with the Ravens to come to Detroit. He must have believe he had a better shot to crack the roster here, and so far, that doesn't look out of the realm of possibility.
► New running back Justin Stockton cuts well and has nice acceleration when hitting the hole. He should get some reps late in the game against Houston, which would be something worth watching.
► It was a good day of practice for rookie cornerback Amani Oruwariye, who got his hands on a number of passes in both individual drills and team work. He also nearly picked one against Fales, but appeared to land out of bounds when coming down with the ball.
► How depleted is Detroit's defensive line right now? Fred Jones, a defensive tackle the team signed two weeks ago, is getting first-team reps.
► Lewis, who recently returned from injury, was involved in the kickoff return rotation along with Jamal Agnew, Brandon Powell and Ty Johnson.
► Patricia ditched the ATV in favor of a traditional golf cart. The ATV is on its way to Houston, according to the coach.