ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Some thoughts and observations from our first day with the Detroit Lions at training camp:
Rookie cornerback Dwight Bentley got some work with the first team. As much as you can say for a practice that wasn't in full pads, it looked like he belonged. Alphonso Smith is technically listed as the starting cornerback opposite Chris Houston, but you wonder if it's just a matter of time before Bentley gets his chance. Smith maddeningly lost track of a deep post later in the practice, allowing receiver Titus Young to pull it in despite Smith being in pretty good position. That's not the first time we've seen Smith misjudge a deep ball. Veteran Jacob Lacey was working in the slot with the first team.
The defensive play of the practice came from safety Erik Coleman, who was working in the spot of the injured Louis Delmas. Coleman dove to knock away Matthew Stafford's pass in the seam to tight end Tony Scheffler, who probably would have scored a touchdown had he made the catch. Defensive end Cliff Avril also showed up, batting down a Stafford pass at the line of scrimmage.
I was looking forward to seeing rookie receiver Ryan Broyles, but he didn't practice because of continuing soreness in his surgically-repaired knee. At this point, there isn't a reason to be concerned. Teams are always careful about activating players from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which the Lions did with Broyles early in camp. Once that happens, teams lose the opportunity to stretch recovery into the regular season without using a roster spot. That tells me the Lions think Broyles is healed from a structural standpoint.
Via Twitter, @mwayneknight asked if it looked like tailback Mikel Leshoure's hamstring injury is serious or if the Lions are simply being cautious. Leshoure walked onto the field late in practice, presumably after a rehab session, and was moving pretty slowly. That's not exactly a medical diagnosis, but that's what I saw. The fact that the Lions haven't signed a veteran tailback while Leshoure and Jahvid Best are sidelined tells you they aren't yet concerned.
Rookie lineman Riley Reiff got some work with the first team at left tackle. He said afterwards he hasn't done much work at guard this summer, and for now he will remain a backup at both tackle positions.
Caught a glimpse of the Lions' "Grey" defense, with Nick Fairley working at right end instead of tackle. That put him against left tackle Jeff Backus. The Lions weren't in pads Wednesday, so it's not fair to gauge who got the best of whom. But Fairley sure looked the part of a big defensive end.
The Lions worked some game situations, including the 2-minute drill that ended with "clocking" the ball near the goal line to set up a field goal. There were enough false starts and overthrows during the course of the practice that coach Jim Schwartz brought together the team for a brief meeting about two-thirds of the way through.