ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions are one day away from the beginning of their last pre-training camp break, but before they go, they have mandatory minicamp to go through.
And while camp is mandatory, defensive tackle Jason Jones was absent for the second straight day and a number of players did not practice. We'll get to that and more as I hit on some thoughts and observations of what went on.
1. TJ Jones had a really good day: It was around this time last year when the wide receiver realized he would have to have shoulder surgery -- something that ended his rookie season before it began in 2014. After sitting out last season and really starting to catch normal again two months ago, Jones had arguably his best day as a Lion on Wednesday. He had at least three nice catches, including one on a deep post route in one-on-ones and he burnt Mohammed Seisay down the sideline for a touchdown during a team drill. Jones still has a long way to go -- he's not fully where he wants to be yet -- but this is the most progress he's shown since before his surgery. In a receiving corps where nothing beyond Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate is finalized, more good days like this could prove very beneficial for him.
2. Matthew Stafford was on point. Again: At some point in an NFL career, you kind of plateau at what you are as a quarterback. Stafford is in his seventh season with the Lions, and has has looked strong throughout the organized team activities and minicamp period. This should be expected as there isn't hitting and not much of a pass rush, but Stafford looked particularly sharp Wednesday. The only passes I saw him miss were a drop by tight end Eric Ebron over the middle and then another pass that ended up drawing a pass interference flag. Otherwise, Stafford was smart in his decisions and on point with his throws throughout the day. I had him as 11-of-13 during team and 7-on-7 drills throughout the day. Also, Kellen Moore was back to taking No. 2 quarterback reps in the continual carousel of backup quarterbacks with Dan Orlovsky.
3. Corey Robinson received some work: With Cornelius Lucas and LaAdrian Waddle out this week, Robinson and Michael Williams had opportunities to see some time with the first unit at right tackle. Williams saw all the first-team reps Tuesday and Robinson who took all the first team reps I saw Wednesday. Robinson didn't do anything notable in my eyes, but after seeing two days of Robinson and Williams, it might be worth the Lions investigating some other veteran options at tackle before training camp begins. If nothing else, it would provide competition for Lucas, Williams and Robinson until Waddle returns.
4. Quandre Diggs is still running with the first team: It's been more of a rotation over the past couple of weeks, but the rookie from Texas continues to snag first-team reps in nickel and dime packages along with veteran Josh Wilson. Injuries to Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson remain part of this, but the more first-team reps Diggs receives -- and the more he doesn't look out of place with starters -- the better chance he has of winning one of the jobs in the fall. It'll be interesting to see what happens when training camp starts because Diggs and Wilson should be using this time to catch up to where Bentley and Lawson could have been, knowledge-wise. One other note on Diggs -- he was used a bit in dime personnel Wednesday, something he said he was working on. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Lions used dime packages on six snaps last season, one of eight teams to use the dime on less than 10 plays during 2014.
5. Devin Taylor working on the inside again: This was an experiment for the second straight season. The Lions had Taylor work inside at tackle during OTAs and minicamp last season -- similar to how the team used Jason Jones and Darryl Tapp last year -- and Taylor is back at it again now. Taylor said he working on it about the same amount as he did a season ago, but Jason Jones missing practice for the second straight day, Taylor's work in the middle in some packages stood out a bit more than it might have otherwise normally. Taylor is a player who needs to find a role this season.
6. The usual suspects sit out: Besides Bentley and Lawson sitting out team drills, linebackers DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch continued to sit out the team portion. Tight end Joseph Fauria returned to the individual portion of practice, but did not do much, if any, team work. Joique Bell, LaAdrian Waddle and Cornelius Lucas sat out practice entirely.