Lions camp observations: Safety C.J. Moore returns to action

Detroit News

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Detroit Lions first training camp practice Friday.

► Safety C.J. Moore, who missed practice on Thursday, was back on the practice field. According to coach Dan Campbell, Moore had some back spasms after a weight lifting session, but it proved to be a short-term concern. Regardless, it’s refreshing to get a simple injury explanation after the past several years.

The only player missing from practice who wasn’t already on one of the inactive lists was tight end Hunter Thedford. He came up limping a day earlier.

► The Lions continue to ramp up slowly to start camp, with the first hour plus of the day’s practice focused on walkthroughs, stretching and individual drills. A new drill that tapped into the coaching staff’s emphasis on competition saw five players going head-to-head, first down a set of up-downs before racing down the field to collect one of four footballs placed on the ground, along the sidelines. The one player who failed to collect a football had to do another set of up-downs.

► Cornerback Jeff Okudah continued his strong start to camp. Even before the ball is snapped during full-team reps, you truly get a sense for the second-year player’s budding confidence with the way he’s moving and communicating with his teammates.

More: ‘Staying in the present’: Lions’ Jeff Okudah gets mind right ahead of second season

Early in practice, Okudah had a strong read-and-react on a swing pass to fullback Jason Cabinda, charging forward to be in position to make a stop for a short gain. Okudah followed it up by blanketing receiver Breshad Perriman on the next play, forcing an incompletion.

More importantly, given his struggles downfield a year ago, Okudah forced another incompletion on a deep throw. Running side-by-side with receiver Victor Bolden, Okudah proved too strong for his counterpart through some legal jostling down the sideline.

► Starting quarterback Jared Goff and the first-team offense continued to struggle moving the ball. I don’t want to make too much of it, because it is just the third day of camp and there hasn’t been all that many reps, but there’s been almost nothing generated beyond 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

Additionally, Goff put a ball on the ground, something he struggled with while playing for the Rams. On the simulated third down, Goff tucked the ball and tried to scramble when his downfield options failed to gain separation. It’s unclear whether edge defender Romeo Okwara got a hand on the ball as the quarterback ran past, or Goff simply bounced the ball off his hip, but it came out when it shouldn’t have.

► In the backup quarterback competition, Tim Boyle not only had the better day between he and David Blough, Boyle arguably had the most impactful set of snaps of any quarterback through the early stages of camp.

Boyle’s best pass was a deep throw to Damien Ratley down the left sideline, dropped in a bucket over the outstretched arms of cornerback Quinton Dunbar. The tandem connected for another long completion later in practice.

Additionally, Boyle flashed some wheels on a couple zone-read keeps.

► Boyle also had a nice downfield throw to tight end Alize Mack, running a corner pattern into open space. The Notre Dame standout continues to impress in the battle for a roster spot as the third man in his position group.

► Kicking into the wind this morning, punter Jack Fox struggled to get consistent hang time and distance on his punts. It’s definitely been a shakier start than you mexpect for the Pro Bowler.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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