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Lions among NFL teams using instant replay in training camp

Posted: 5:03 PM, Aug 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-05 14:04:26Z

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Matthew Stafford dropped back and connected over the middle with Golden Tate.

Before the Detroit Lions lined up to take another snap in the two-minute drill, Stafford’s short pass to Tate was shown on a pair of huge TV monitors.

The Detroit Lions under first-year coach Matt Patricia are part of a trend: NFL teams using instant replay to make quick corrections and observations during training camp.

The Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins are also taking advantage of technology common in stadiums on game days.

Tate said the replays between snaps are shown too quickly for him to see them. But if the receiver is walking off the field while the second-string offense is coming on it, he takes a peek at the previous play.

“I look at what the coverage was,” Tate said. “I can also pull a coach aside and say, ‘What could I have done differently?’

“It’s great to be able to go over something quickly when it is fresh in your mind versus having to wait and forget about it.”

The Lions, like a lot of teams in the league, have cameras perched atop towers higher than goal posts. Camera operators use joysticks to zoom in and out, tilt up and down and pan the field to record the action. The Lions also have an operator with a safety harness on a scissor lift. And closer to the ground, staff members hold cameras and put them on short tripods to get other vantage points.

Cornerback Darius Slay said he always looks at replays in practice, especially if a teammate catches a pass against him.

“I want to know what I did wrong,” Slay said. “I can correct it just as fast as I can see it. I’m glad (Patricia) got that out there for us.

“You can see what’s wrong — fast.”

Instant replays during practices potentially provide another way to help players on the sideline, who aren’t getting hands-on repetitions.

“It’s a great teaching tool for our team,” Oakland coach Jon Gruden said. “I think it’ll be better when we have one huddle going at a time. We had two huddles going at once, so it was a little bit chaotic.”

The Rams also put up a big replay board on the side of a field at their camp at UC Irvine, giving them a chance to get and give immediate feedback instead of waiting hours for a film session.

“That’s really the intent of it,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.

The Browns have a new camera system and it includes a replay screen at their training facility.

“People who are getting the mental reps, who are not doing it, can turn back and really see what is really going on,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Understand the defense, where the offense might have broken down, or why we executed pretty well. I think it is a really good thing to have for both offense and defense.”