Lions offense looks sharp in goal-line situations during night practice

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Jim Caldwell took his team down the road from the Detroit Lions practice facility Monday night for one of the final public workouts of the year.

The Lions worked out at Edsel Ford High School in front of a select group of first responders in the Detroit metropolitan area consisting of EMTs, police officers and firefighters.

“Obviously the sacrifices they make to serve and protect us is just absolutely outstanding,” Caldwell said. “I think often times people don't realize until they are in trouble what kind of job these folks do. They make sacrifices for us, not only with their job and putting their lives on the line, but their families as well.”

Once practice started, here’s what stood out.

Ryan Broyles had the catch of the day: It was against cornerback R.J. Stanford, who has been running mostly with the third unit, during one-on-ones, but Broyles ripped what appeared to be a sure interception away from Stanford in the end zone. The ball was a bit underthrown and Stanford appeared to catch it, but Broyles grabbed the ball as well while they were in the air and wrestled it away from Stanford when the two hit the ground. He came up with the ball and then threw it into the air. I asked Golden Tate after if it reminded him of his game-winning catch for Seattle against Green Bay, but he said it did not. It was a heck of a play, though, and it happened with general manager Martin Mayhew watching.

Theo Riddick got some receiver work: I’m not sure if this has been going on for the majority of camp because I’ve often been focused on line and running back play, but Riddick ran receiver-versus-cornerback drills with the wideouts Monday night. He didn’t receive too many reps there, but he did beat Nevin Lawson on a nice route. Riddick's primary role during his first two seasons has been as a pass-catcher out of the backfield and he has experience as a slot receiver in college. This could be an instance of the Lions getting Riddick some extra receiving work, especially since he had a bunch of carries during team period. But it is something to watch.

Offense dominated the goal-line session: The Lions ran a period of goal-line offense with the three top quarterbacks Monday and the offense was dominant throughout. Matthew Stafford’s group scored on at least four of five tries. He was credited for scoring on all five tries, but his pass to Calvin Johnson appeared to hit the ground. The referee called it a touchdown, but from my view it looked like it would have been overturned. The most important thing to take away is the offensive line was particularly dominant during this period, a good sign for the team’s run game. George Winn, Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick all had rushing touchdowns with the first group. One of the only stops for the defense during the drill was a Desmond Martin carry that was blown dead before he reached the end zone. To add more insult there, Martin kept running and was hit pretty squarely by Isa Abdul-Quddus. The safety has been one of the fiercest hitters in camp, although keep in mind the goal during practice is not to take players to the ground.

Matthew Stafford throws a pick: The quarterback threw a rare interception during team drills Monday, seemingly overthrowing his intended target by at least five yards and having the ball land right in the chest of safety James Ihedigbo. It was a rare miscue from Stafford, who has had a pretty sharp summer so far. It isn’t clear if that was a bad throw by Stafford or a poor route run by the receiver, but it was an overall awful play for the Lions offense.

Eric Ebron made a tough catch: Again in one-on-one drills, Ebron went over cornerback Chris Owens to snag a touchdown catch. It was good adjustment for the tight end over the much smaller cornerback, but he made the grab in the air and came down with the ball with the defensive back all over him.