Access to the Detroit Lions Training Camp is now closed off to the public, which means we here at Detroit Lions Podcast are done with our coverage from camp – but we saw a great many things happen while we attended. There were battles for numerous positions, new players making their debut in front of fans and most importantly, football action! Let’s delve into…
Training Camp Roundup
Jake Rudock is the Third String Quarterback
Now I was one of the many believers coming into the preseason that Jake Rudock could have a good camp and preseason and could be the backup behind Matt Stafford once the regular season came, or worst case scenario, he would be a third string until 2017 and take over for Dan Orlovsky. After seeing those three days of practice, it is clear that Rudock is still struggling in camp, making some poor throws and not throwing it that far, with his longest pass possibly going only 15 yards out. Dan Orlovsky looked good at camp, connecting on deep balls and making his throws accurate. This season for Rudock will end in one of three ways, ending up being the third string quarterback, sitting on the practice squad, or getting cut.
Zach Zenner vs. Stevan Ridley Battle is Real
Both Zach Zenner and Stevan Ridley looked good in camp. Abdullah was the starting RB and once Riddick was back he was in the backup spot, leaving Zenner and Ridley splitting that third spot. Zenner was able to find holes and burst through for big gains, but Ridley wasn’t far behind him. Zenner caught a ball or two, but Ridley caught more passes and could be a good option to be a receiving back if Riddick gets injured. Both had a good camp, and preseason will determine who gets that third string job.
Detroit Has Depth in Wide Receiver
Detroit, for the first time since 2011, can say they have depth at wide receiver. Anquan Boldin looked impressive in his first camp with the team. He caught every ball that came his way, whether it was accurate or not and whether there was tight coverage or not. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones impressed as well, so the top three spots are for sure great options for Stafford to throw to. From what was seen, the top six receivers were Tate, Marvin Jones, Boldin, Kerley, TJ Jones and Andre Roberts. Jay Lee had a strong camp as well, especially in the mock game a few days back. The man has speed and could end up jumping Roberts for that number six spot.
Offensive Line Still Has Kinks
Taylor Decker looked good at the left tackle, holding down Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor when tested and able to create holes for the run game. Laken Tomlinson struggled and almost punched Stefan Charles early on. Travis Swanson looked good and so did Warford. Reiff was hot and cold throughout this year’s training camp. One day he gave Stafford all day to throw, the next he gets beat easily – if it was a real game, Stafford would be getting smoked. Graham Glasgow did move up on the depth chart, going from third string to backup, jumping over Gabe Ikard. Cornelius Lucas was the backup left tackle while Michael Ola was on the right side. Joe Dahl and Chase Farris were the backup guards. The biggest question mark of them all though was over Geoff Schwartz. He was not on the field at all, from the starters to the third stringers. You must wonder where he was and why wasn’t he out there. Worst case scenario, Schwartz would be a backup guard so for him not to hit the field says something.
Defensive Line Has Depth as Well
Detroit had some different rotations out on the defensive line with Caraun Reid and Tyrunn Walker seeing action on the first team. Kerry Hyder impressed at defensive end and Wallace Gilberry was doing work on the other side. Anthony Zettel seemed to struggle a bit, but we can hope he impresses during preseason. Whoever was out there was able to test the offensive line many times and that can either be a good or bad thing. Either the depth at defensive line is great and we can test offenses with anyone, or the offensive line is weak – we will find out that answer soon.
Defensive Backs Drops and Moves
With special teams drills starting day two, the starting players usually sit those out and relax for a while. Darius Slay, Glover Quinn and Nevin Lawson were part of that group at training camp. Lawson is looking like he will be the number two cornerback which is not a shocking move, but that shows he is over Diggs now as they were competing for that number two spot. During some drills, some of the backs, including Slay, dropped some balls. At this level players can’t be dropping passes that are easy in training camp and expect to catch the big ones come game day. Johnson Bademosi impressed the most as the special team specialty player did well in coverage and even had an interception. He could see time on the field as an actual cornerback. Something not on-the-field related, Darius Slay now has Slay Jr. on the back of his jersey. Apparently he has been a junior for a while, but his dad had to earn Darius’s respect back, looks like he got it.