Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s Detroit Lions training camp practice.
► Regardless of the conditions, Lions coach Matt Patricia prefers to have his team practice on grass, as opposed to the facility’s less-forgiving indoor turf. He proved that commitment on Wednesday, having the team work in a rain that ranged from a drizzle to steady downpour for the first hour.
Not surprisingly, the rain caused some problems for several players. The pass-catchers particularly struggled with their acceleration when changing direction, allowing the defenders to win the majority of the matchups in one-on-one situations.
Also, this reporter’s notebook did not survive the day. It’s too early to say if my shoes, already nearing the end of the line entering the day, will meet a similar fate.
► Early in practice, the Lions ran a situational simulation where the offense was backed up against its own goal line and had to power out for breathing room. On the first snap, quarterback Matthew Stafford muffed the exchange from center Frank Ragnow, falling on the loose ball in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
It might not seem like a big deal, but Stafford and Ragnow had to run a lap around the field for their failure to execute, showing no individual, including the star quarterback, is above consequences for their on-field blunders.
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► For the second time in training camp, safety Tracy Walker had a dominant practice. In an early one-on-one rep, he was so physical in coverage against T.J. Hockenson, Stafford didn’t even both attempting a throw. That almost never happens.
Later in the drill, defending Jesse James, the two players got tangled up and the tight end fell to the ground. Walker managed to not only maintain his balance, but intercept the pass.
Walker added another breakup in both individual and team drills, where he was back working with the first-team defense for the first time in the past few days.
► It’s still unclear why Walker has been working with the second team, but it probably says more about a sense of urgency to have Will Harris prepared in case Walker or Duron Harmon suffer an injury.
While I believe a case can be made Walker needs reps to build chemistry with Harmon (as well as Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah), there’s almost no doubt in the former’s skill set and schematic knowledge, at this stage. There’s plenty of reason to be concerned about Harris’ ability to play at a similarly high level.
► In a previous version of these observations, we noted how well Danny Amendola has been performing in camp. The hyper-competitive slot receiver wasn’t about to be slowed by the inclement weather, making a diving grab against nickel corner Justin Coleman during a full-team scrimmage.
Not to be outdone, Tom Kennedy made a sliding grab going out of bounds while working with the second-team offense. Given the distance, it looked as if the second-year receiver was on a Slip ‘N Slide.
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► Wide receiver Chris Lacy suffered an injury during practice and had to go to the locker room. Guard Joe Dahl was held out of team drills, with veteran Oday Aboushi taking the majority of his reps as the starting left guard.
On the second-team offense, Logan Stenberg played guard while Beau Benzschawel took over snapping duties.
► The Lions got some work on live kickoffs despite the soggy conditions. What stood out about the competition was how little run-up Jack Fox needed compared to Matt Prater and Arryn Sippos.
While the latter two took had a more traditional path on their boots, Fox appeared to only be taking two or three steps before blasting his efforts. It’s become pretty clear he has the strongest leg in camp.