Lions camp observations: Tom Kennedy making most of expanded reps

Detroit News

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday’s training camp practice.

► Tom Kennedy entered camp as the forgotten man in the receiver room. After the team had brought back Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, two key contributors from last season, and added DJ Chark and first-round pick Jameson Williams to the mix, it was difficult to see room for the former lacrosse standout.

But with Quintez Cephus and Trinity Benson dealing with injuries, Kennedy continued his strong camp showing by stepping up with the expanded workload on Wednesday.

In full-team scrimmage work, Kennedy found himself taking reps with the first-, second- and third-team offenses, catching downfield passes from each quarterback during the segment that lasted approximately 20 total snaps.

This is Kennedy’s fourth year in Detroit, much of which he’s spent on the practice squad. He did make the 53-man roster out of camp last year, appearing in 12 games. Still, he was limited to just 149 offensive snaps and offered minimal contributions on special teams.

He caught six passes for 54 yards and handled a few kickoffs, but his most notable moment came when he threw a 75-yard touchdown in the season finale against the Packers.

► Along with the same cast who has been sidelined by injury the past several days — most notably Levi Onwuzurike, Julian Okwara and Cephus — Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow was among the absences on Wednesday.

While initial appearances suggested it isn’t a serious issue, it’s also not strictly veteran rest. Ragnow was doing some running on the sidelines with a trainer during the morning.

► In your daily kicker competition update, Austin Seibert made all three of his attempts, ranging between 42 and 47 yards, while Riley Patterson sent one of his three boots wide left.

► Jermar Jefferson has an uphill climb to beat out Craig Reynolds and Godwin Igwebuike for a roster spot, but the second-year running back out of Oregon State netted some praise from coach Dan Campbell last week for his more professional approach entering his second camp.

The one thing I’ve noticed with Jefferson, which popped again Wednesday, is the physicality of his running. When he gets one-on-one with a defender in the hole, the first reaction is to lower the shoulder and try to run him over, as opposed to trying to make the defender miss.

► It’s still early, and the practice field isn’t likely to be the deciding factor, but it’s feeling like Will Harris is putting a little bit of a cushion between himself and Jeff Okudah for the starting cornerback job.

Harris was listed ahead of Okudah on the team’s first unofficial depth chart. And there’s an emphasis on the word “unofficial” given that listing is put together by the team’s media relations staff. Still, it’s a perception that looks to be based on reality with the way the rep rotation has been trending.

► The Lions closed practice with some end-of-game, situational work.

During the first segment, the offense took over at its own 25-yard line holding a 10-point lead, needing to kill as much of the 3:41 remaining on the clock as possible. Quarterback Jared Goff did a nice job mixing run and pass early in the series, before running for a first down on a zone-read keeper. By the time the offense was forced to punt, the defense had to use all its timeouts and only 55 seconds remained.

A few minutes later, the scenario was flipped, with the offense starting at the same spot but down 10. Goff did a nice job orchestrating a quick-strike scoring drive, throwing two quick passes to Chark for a combined 37 yards before connecting with Reynolds on a back-shoulder ball for another 19 yards down to the 10-yard line.

After nickel corner AJ Parker broke up a pass intended for Raymond on first-and-goal, Goff found Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 10-yard score on a post pattern with 2:10 remaining.

Unfortunately, the segment ended when linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton recovered Seibert’s onside kick attempt.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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