The Detroit Lions are now embarking on a six-month journey, known as the 2021 National Football League season.
Gone are the Zoom meetings (for now), and for the first time in over 12 months, local media had an opportunity to collectively gather and have an in-person conversation with new Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
“I kind of told the team last night that there’s a number of things that play into all this. We all know competition is the biggest. But, really, let's enjoy this ride, man. Enjoy this ride we’re on."
Here are several takeaways from the first day of Lions training camp.
Campbell proves instantly why he is different than Matt Patricia
The defense began to perform up-down exercises after the warm-up period.
Along with them were coaches, including Campbell. His gesture did not go unnoticed by several players on the roster.
Veteran Michael Brockers explained, “To players, it just shows he’ll get on the grind, too. You gain a lot of respect for a guy that can get on that grind, get on this turf and do the same exercise as you, because some of the players wonder, ‘Man, if you was doing this, what would happen?’ For a coach to get down there and show you, ‘Hey, I”m about this life.’ We definitely gained a lot of respect for him.”
Amon-Ra St. Brown has the potential to quickly become a leader
The organization decided to target players in the draft who were committed to playing the game and who fit the new culture of the organization.
After practice was over Wednesday, rookie wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown was observed working with fellow wideout Kalif Raymond on catching balls from the JUGS machine, and was among the last to leave the practice field.
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Rookie Derrick Barnes chats with Chris Spielman after practice
After practice, rookie Derrick Barnes was observed chatting with Lions special assistant and former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman.
It is apparent Spielman is fond of the young linebacker, as the two spent several minutes in conversation near the practice facility entrance.
Quarterback Jared Goff was solid, but safe
Detroit's new signal-caller was not given many deep throws on the first day of training camp, as his only deep pass went to tight end T.J. Hockenson. He was efficient in his check-down throws on his first day.
Early in training camp, the amount of reps for the starters will not be much, as Campbell told reporters that only 40 full-speed reps would occur the first days, with only 16 allotted for the first-team offense and defense.
Rookie Alim McNeill impresses center Frank Ragnow
The rookie defensive tackle had a lot of opportunities on Day 1 to impress the coaching staff and his teammates he was matching up against. He saw plenty of work with the first-team defense on Wednesday.
"Big kid. Twitchy, though. Very twitchy," Ragnow said. "He can move for how big he is. Definitely big and twitchy, and he wants to learn, which is cool."