Just over ninety minutes into Monday’s practice, the Lions peeled off the pads, opening the door for Cliff Avril to participate in one of the final periods, focusing on late-game situations.
Due to a new clause in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, Avril was limited in what he was able to do today. Many times throughout the morning, he was forced to stand on the sideline and watch.
What he saw was a generally sloppy practice from his teammates, clearly struggling to get back to work after Sunday’s open practice at Ford Field. In many ways, it was like a day game after a night game in baseball.
The defensive line jumped offsides frequently. Catches were dropped down the field. The sharpness we’ve witnessed through the first ten days of camp was missing, save for a handful of players who continue to impress with their effort and execution.
Defensive end Willie Young excited the fans in attendance at Allen park, skying in the air to snatch a screen-pass attempt from Matthew Stafford milliseconds after it left his hand. Young sidestepped through his teammates standing behind the line of scrimmage and ran to the end zone, culminating the effort with his signature “reel-in” celebration.
Young is an avid fisherman.
Titus Young also continued his strong play, making a number of impressive catches. In one instance he dove back toward the line of scrimmage to catch a pass in the flat just feet off the ground. Later, he battled Jacob Lacey for a long bomb down the sideline and came up with the ball.
Earlier in practice, running back Stephfon Green suffered a knee injury, the extent of which is unknown. With Jahvid Best still on the PUP list and Mikel Leshoure still sidelined with a tender hamstring, the backfield depth is being stretched. Kevin Smith, Stefan Logan, Joique Bell and Keiland Williams handled the duties this morning.
“Our numbers are dropping there,” said head coach Jim Schwartz when asked about the troubles at running back. “From a practice standpoint and everything else. No different from a lot of other positions. We lost a couple of wide receivers at practice today. A couple of guys that were tight or had a little tweak here or there. Just about all those guys are day-to-day. We’ll have to see with Green just how he bounces back.”
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