6 highlights from Detroit Lions training camp at Ford Field

The Detroit Lions held their annual scrimmage practice at Ford Field on Saturday morning, and the energy in the building was palpable. According to the team, approximately 18,000 people attended the Lions’ home field, which was the most at this event since 2015, the year after Detroit’s most recent 11-win season.

Overall, the day favored the offense, but practice was also heavily skewed to help that side of the ball. Several units started at or closer to midfield, and the first-team offense regularly clashed with backups and potential scrimmage players.

That said, several players on both sides of the ball put in impressive performances. Here are the six that stood out to me the most.

DJ chark

Without a doubt, Chark was the biggest star of the day. I knocked him down for four receptions, 76 yards and two touchdowns during the skirmish. He remains a big-playing machine, looking especially impressive when it comes to contested catches. The coverage of some of his catches on Saturday was decent, but Chark’s focus and ball skills have been on display throughout camp.

“I’ll just say it’s a godsend because it’s something I’ve always had a knack for,” Chark said of his ball-tracking abilities. “Running, being able to use my speed to locate the ball, I also think involves a lot of hand-eye coordination. I do a lot of things just to work on my hand-eye coordination. And be able to adjust with speed. Accelerate or brake and body control. So I think all of those things come into play.”

Chark finished practice with a phenomenal 33-yard diving touchdown grab to win the day on offense during a two-minute drill.

jared goff

That’s a pretty impressive stat line, though it does require a couple of caveats. For one thing, the Lions’ first-team offense frequently lined up against second- and third-team defenses. Second, the high number of touchdowns is a result of good field position. Two of those touchdowns came on drives that started at the opponent’s 25-yard line, one started at the 50-yard line, but that final throw to Chark was on a drive that started at his own 27-yard line.

That said, there’s something to be said for Goff’s confidence, particularly when it comes to pushing the ball downfield. He has more confidence in himself and more confidence in his teammates than I saw at any point this past season.

Austin Bryant

Bryant continues to be a disruptive threat on defense. He had Bryant out for a loss, a sack and at least one more pressure. Many of his plays also came against the first team’s offense. With Julian Okwara, Romeo Okwara and Josh Paschal losing time right now, no one is taking advantage of it more than Bryant.

Aidan Hutchinson

Hutchinson didn’t have a monster day, but he did have two notes that show exactly what the Lions thought they were getting at their second overall pick.

In the first, the Lions ran a screen and Hutchinson ran up the field so fast he almost stopped the play. Eventually, he recognized the screen and was able to run down the field and into the corridor long before the first attempt.

Then, during the first team’s two-minute drill, Hutchinson slashed into the backfield, drawing a shot wide from Goff. He should be a huge weapon for the Lions during late-half defensive drives.

eric banks

The biggest surprise performance of the day came from Banks, a midseason addition from last year. Banks is also seeing an increase in playing time due to injuries to his teammates, and he was everywhere on Saturday. He ran into Jermar Jefferson in the backfield for a 5-yard loss. He forced an incomplete pass and was penalized for holding Penei Sewell later in practice. And he had an absolute catch against the first-team offense.

This was a great performance from Banks, and if he can continue this momentum through the next week of practice and into the preseason, there could be a spot on the practice squad (or more) for him.

austin seibert

You may remember that last year’s Family Fest was a harbinger of the Lions’ kicking situation. Let me refresh your memory for our 2021 observations post.

The kickers were once again a disaster from distance. Randy Bullock missed field goals of 50 and 54 yards to the left, while Matthew Wright missed 50 yards to the right and came up short on his 54-yard attempt.

Well, Austin Seibert is here to make those memories a thing of the past. Seibert was a perfect 6-for-6, shooting (approximately) 41, 41, 44, 50, 54 and 62. That 62-yard shot bounced off the crossbar and went in.

Seibert clearly has a stronger leg than Riley Patterson, but he had struggled earlier in camp with consistency. That said, he was a much better kicker on Saturday, as Patterson’s lack of strength (he missed from 54 and was too short from 61) proved to be a problem with long-range kicks.

Leave a Comment