ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions, at least when it comes to media viewings, are done with organized team activities.
Soon enough, the Lions will all depart Allen Park, Michigan, for a final vacation before the grind of training camp begins in July. So what happened Tuesday out at Lions practice?
Here are some observations of what you might have heard and what you might -- or might not -- have missed.
Let’s start with Nick Fairley. The biggest topic of conversation over the past week or so has been how would the big defensive tackle look. While I wrote he had slimmed down, that probably isn’t a fair enough description. At least from a small distance, it looks like he completely reshaped his body. He appears much leaner on the sides, as well as having lost some of his stomach. That will come with dropping 30 or so pounds, but his transformation has been impressive. Of course, with him, the key will be keeping the weight off and staying in shape. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin seems focused on doing that, and with Fairley in a contract year, Fairley is probably a bit more keen on doing that as well. There is money at stake as well. From listening to Fairley talk, though, there might be a bit of pride as well. He said he thought his option should have been picked up, so he might have some proving to do. If Detroit gets a motivated Fairley this season, it could be really interesting to watch.
With Golden Tate (shoulder) and Kris Durham (undisclosed) sitting out, it gave some of the other wide receivers a chance to get some meaningful reps. Kevin Ogletree, back from dental surgery, had a fairly strong practice. He made all the easy grabs, some tough ones and seemed to run his routes fairly well. He’s in a battle for a roster spot -- likely will be throughout camp -- and the more showings he can have like Tuesday, the better his chances are. He already caught offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s eye during this OTA period. The competition for the backup roster spots at receiver behind Calvin Johnson and Tate are going to be some of the most competitive battles in camp.
There is going to be a competition at right tackle again. Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle have been spending time with the first group on the offensive line. This could end up similar to last season, when Hilliard, Waddle and the since-departed Jason Fox were vying for that spot. The good thing for Detroit is that both guys proved more than capable when they were in the lineup last season and both will have roles on the roster. This is a good problem to have for Detroit.
DeAndre Levy left practice midway through to have his left foot worked on and taped, but it did not appear to be serious. It ended up being a fairly light day for veterans overall. Missing practice along with Tate and Durham were Safety James Ihedigbo, running back Joique Bell and tight end Joseph Fauria.
One of the better defensive plays Tuesday came from safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, who had a good read and a breakup on a Matthew Stafford pass. Unfortunately, because of where the media was situated for most of practice, some of the results of plays were blocked from view.
Overall, the offense looked better than it has during the previous two OTA sessions, when the defense was dominant and overall much louder. Tuesday’s practice felt a bit more even than the prior two when it came to the competitive level of the offense against the defense. Stafford also looked sharper than he has the prior two weeks. As he said Monday, though, OTAs are going to be an up-and-down period.
Drops, which were a major issue during last week’s OTA, didn’t seem to be as much of an issue this week. Eric Ebron had one in the team portion -- an easy, should-have-had short reception -- but other than that, the Lions were much cleaner this time around.