Detroit Lions mini-camp observations: first team offensive line finally together

The Detroit Lions closed their compulsory mini-camp on Thursday with an internship that was very much like the last day of camp. There were many competitive exercises, some tricks and one of the most fun endings of Lviv training I have ever witnessed.

We’ll get there, but first let’s share my general observations on day three of the minicamp.


No presence:

  • DE Josh Paschal
  • DT John Penisini
  • C Ryan McCollum

McCollum has not been seen in training. In his place Tommy Kraemer came in as the center of the third team. During the two-minute drill, Kraemer threw a shotgun into Tim Boyle’s knee, interrupting the game, but otherwise he was fine.

The following players have trained but not trained:

  • TE James Mitchell
  • TE Derrick Deese
  • WR Jameson Williams
  • WR DJ Chark
  • EDGE Romeo Okwara
  • LB Natrez Patrick
  • CB / S Ifeatu Melifonwu
  • CB Jerry Jacobs
  • S DeShon Elliott

There are no differences here.

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On Wednesday, Jonah Jackson missed most of the team practice but returned to play in most 11v11 matches on Thursday. In fact, when Taylor Decker also did a few team reps on Thursday, it was the first time in the off-season where we saw all five competing together in a team practice at full speed.

“It’s really beneficial for us to even hang out together because o-line chemistry is huge,” said Frank Ragnow after training. “Even if the pace is different, it’s huge for us to understand how we all think and how we all swim.”


I can’t go into detail, but the Lions have spent a long time testing the treadmill throwing arms, tight tips, and wide lock chambers. From the group I thought Godwin Igwebuike had some of the best shots in the group. Tom Kennedy, who gave a perfect throw to Caliph Raymond last year, also tossed a penny during the session. After training, Raymond selected the best throwers in his group.

“So Trinity always, I thought, had the best hand,” Raymond said. “But you know what? Actually I wanted to say Josh Reynolds, but Amon-Ra knocked me out of the left field because I didn’t know it was like that, and then he got some confidence in it. I would probably say Trinity is the most consistent.

More competition exercises

When the teams split up into positional exercises, they all did very competitive one-on-one exercises. I only focused on the painting. The wide receivers picked up the pass, then circled the large circle on the field to catch the relay ending pass. The runners and the offensive liners competed in some kind of relay that was hard to see from a distance. Meanwhile, the playmakers have been trying to dump the 30-yard passing into a tiny square in the grid that looks similar to this:

Again, the exercise was very loose, but the exercise during the competition kept the energy high.

Two-minute drill

About halfway through training, the Lions set up another late game scenario – something that had been emphasized during all of these off-season training sessions.

Scenario: Nine points drop, 1:59 left, start from own 25 yard line.

The first team offensive kicked off with the best ride I’ve seen from all of them out of season.

Play 1: Jared Goff hit the seam of Caliph Raymond, who defeated AJ Parker. Now, to be fair, Tracy Walker has fallen into art and would probably make a big hit. Still, it counted and gained about 25-30 yards.

Play 2: Josh Reynolds passed Will Harris on the postal route, taking another 37 yards.

Play 3: Shane Zylstra defeated Alex Anzalone on a cross for a touchdown.

With a score of 1:18, they scored two points before the end of the match.

However, their second ride was not so successful. It started with a promising back throw to Raymond with Walker in tight cover of 25 yards. After the jump, a throw from 9 yards to St. Brown and being kicked out, Riley Patterson set herself on target from the field with 54 yards and the win. He missed the left side.

David Blough returned with the second team offensive on Thursday, but was unable to get a lot of riding in that two-minute exercise. He struggled to keep his lead on the sticks, taking twice two-quarters of his lows and burning all three of his breaks. They barely passed the midfield when Blough tried to force a pass to Quintez Cephus, which was easily captured by Bobby Price, who was on the whole tour.

Tim Boyle missed the exercise, but was given a bit of an overall time of 11 to 11. He also tried very hard to make the insult move.

Great man, punt is back

To complete the training – and the off-season program for most veterans – the Lions had an offensive against defense, like a big man return punt. The offensive and defensive liners were throwing boats from about 30 yards using the Jugs machine.

First up: the 290-pound rookie defensive Demetrius Taylor made an impressive grip.

The offensive counterpart was Penei Sewell, who caught and then hit the ball relatively easily, celebrating at least 20 yards down the field.

They decided to move on to the second round where Ali McNeill took on rookie Kevin Jarvis. McNeill made sure to put on the gloves before putting a punt, but both players caught the ball again with relative ease.

Without a winner between attack and defense, there had to be a draw. Then the entire defense burst out chanting “We want to jump,” referring to the two-meter, 330 pounds offensive lineman Dan Skipper. The coaches pledged and Skipper stepped in. Although he misjudged the ball at first, he eventually caught the ball and threatened to throw the ball into the crowd of defensive players he had just beaten. [Editor’s note: This isn’t the first time Skipper showed off his punt fielding skills. He did it at the East-West Shrine game five years ago, too.]

“Skip a life for this, so it was huge,” said Ragnow after training.

The Lions will return to the field on Monday, but mostly the young players will have a more intimate time with the coaching staff.

“There will be more young players, development players next week,” Dan Campbell said on Thursday. “It gives us a great opportunity to just get to know them, a little bit more one-on-one.”

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