The Detroit Lions hit the practice field for the first time during training camp on Friday. They were back on the field on Saturday and actually got to practice outdoors in front of season ticket holders. Friday's practice was supposed to be in front of season ticket holders, but inclement weather moved it indoors and closed it to fans. They came out in big numbers on Saturday, though, setting a Lions camp attendance record of 1,609 fans.
Two players that fans wouldn't have gotten to see on the field on Friday even if they had attended practice are offensive tackle Jeff Backus and cornerback Alphonso Smith. Backus is dealing with a pectoral injury, and his timetable to return is unclear. He expects to be ready for the regular season, as does Smith, who broke his foot three weeks ago. His injury likely will keep him out three more weeks. Both players were placed on the active/non-football injury list on Friday.
With the way the rules of the new CBA are set up, no free agents are expected to be allowed to practice until Aug. 4, so a number of other players have been absent from the first two days of practice. This has allowed guys like Jason Fox, Johnny Culbreath, Lawrence Jackson, Zack Follett, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Aaron Berry and Nathan Vasher to step in as starters for the time being. While the Lions would obviously like to have all of their guys on the field, it can't hurt that some younger players are getting more reps than they usually would.
Here are a few other notes from the first two days of practice:
- Amari Spievey was starting at safety alongside Louis Delmas on Friday.
- Jason Hanson performed very well and isn't showing any signs of his injury from last year.
- Ndamukong Suh is down to 296 lbs., according to NFL Network's Lindsay Soto. Soto reports that Calvin Johnson added five pounds this offseason.
- Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are already making big plays.
- Titus Young didn't practice on Saturday due to some muscle tightness.