Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell expressed this week that he wanted his team to walk that fine line of aggressiveness and physicality, while avoiding undisciplined play.
In the past, rookies throwing punches on the first day of padded practice may have resulted in ejections.
For Campbell, he embraces the increased tension and physicality that occurs when pads come on.
On Tuesday, rookies Amon-Ra St. Brown and Ifeatu Melifonwu threw punches during drills.
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“Yeah, I mean, I was fired up. Because they were competing, man. It was good to see both of them, two young bucks, go after it," Campbell said before practice on Wednesday. "Look, we had a pretty good idea of Amon-Ra (St. Brown), the 'Sun God.' What he’s capable of. His aggressiveness shows up. It would show up on tape in college. Look, this guy will mix it up. And, there’s things you see with Iffy (Ifeatu Melifonwu) in school, but I didn’t quite know. And to know he’s got, ‘Hey man, I’m not your punching bag.' That encouraged me, it really did.”
General observations of Wednesday's padded practice
- Martha Ford was present at Allen Park to observe practice on Wednesday. Members of the Detroit Tigers were also present, as Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill took in the day's activities and were observed tossing the football and watching 11-on-11 drills early in the practice.
- Michael Brockers was not in pads on Wednesday. Linebacker Derrick Barnes was also limited in practice.
- Offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby did not participate beyond the warmup period.
- Several members of the roster left practice at some point prior to the completion. It was observed that John Penisini, Jermar Jefferson, Kalif Raymond, D'Andre Swift, Julian Okwara, Jerry Jacobs and Levi Onwuzurike all left practice at some point prior to the completion. Jefferson and Okwara did come back out on the field after being checked out.
- Wideout Tyrell Williams returned to practice, after dislocating his left pinky finger. He explained after practice that he wore a type of "hard cast," so that he did not experience any pain. He initially thought that he had broken his pinky, but the actual replacement was the cause of the majority of discomfort. It did not limit him in any noticeable way at practice. He also told reporters that quarterback Mike Vick was his favorite player growing up, but he also learned from Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson early in his NFL career.
- As would be expected, the Lions' second-team offensive line was absolutely dominated by the first-team defensive line. The observed second-team rotation was Dan Skiller, Logan Stenberg, Drake Jackson, Tommy Kraemer and Matt Nelson. Trey Flowers, Nick Williams and Da'Shawn Hand just mowed over the offensive line, with little-to-no resistance.
- Early in practice, the Lions ran a competitive tackling drill that saw several individual matchups. D'Andre Swift had a nice stiff arm to his defender, while T.J. Hockenson put a nice move on linebacker Jamie Collins, in his efforts to elude him in their rep.
- New Lions nose tackle Bruce Hector took advantage of a blown assignment, and blew past Penei Sewell to disrupt a play.
- Campbell explained earlier that he expects Sewell to have several rookie moments the first few weeks of camp. For Sewell, he continued to hold his own in drills, and happily reported following practice that he was not on "rookie duty," like he was on Tuesday. In a photo that surfaced online, Sewell had to honor his obligations as a rookie by carrying the pads of his teammates. One area to continue to check in on with Sewell is his constant jumping early, which he demonstrated earlier this week. His discipline was better on Wednesday.
- In a one-on-one pass-catching rep, rookie cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu beat out Tyrell Williams for the interception. Williams was heading towards the sideline on a corner route.
- The atmosphere was noticeably subdued, since the crowd attendance was lighter than in previous practices.
- Wide receiver Quintez Cephus had one drop that was observed. Throughout camp, drops have not plagued the offense, but the majority of plays are scripted this early in camp.
- For the most part, it was more of the same for the offense, as Goff and the offense focused on the run and routes underneath. Goff was observed mishandling and fumbling one handoff from center.