Lions Training Camp Notes: Matthew Stafford Starts Healthy, Strong

Matthew Stafford

Getty ALLEN PARK, MI - AUGUST 05: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass during training camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility on August 5, 2010 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have finally gotten back to work on the fields in Allen Park and are getting training camp going once again as they push toward the 2020 season.

As usual, the biggest stories to watch thus far is the work of the the team’s offense and defense as they get set to tackle a 2020 season unlike many other in history. During practice, there were more than a few interesting observations as things got going in a much bigger way.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest stories after the first day of training camp in pads is now in the books.

Matthew Stafford Starts Camp Hot

The Lions need Stafford to have a big season, and remain healthy. Obviously, getting Stafford off to a strong start with his top targets is great to see. Both of his big ticket wideouts made plays that ended up catching attention which is excellent. Most expect the team to have a top 5 wideout group in the NFL this season, and when the team lost Stafford in 2019, it was the end of their year. Getting him off to a solid start is huge, and it’s good to see him looking healthy, making plays and looking ready to take on the league in 2020.

Lions Rookies Starting Slow

Detroit’s rookie class is being counted on for big things, but the Lions might not be wanting to rush things at all. Few of the team’s rookie players were generating first team reps on the first day of padded practice. Cornerback Jeff Okudah was working with the reserves on defense, and D’Andre Swift was seeing similar things play out on the offensive side of the ball. Guard Jonah Jackson, however, was getting a long look up front, which makes sense considering the team wants to get him in the mix early and could be depending on him to play a big role. The others will play a big role too, but it’s nice to see they’re not rushing things with everybody else early on.

Lions’ Kerryon Johnson Sporting Knee Brace

The good news as it relates to the team? Detroit is healthy to start the season, but it’s clear they want to keep things that way. Johnson, who’s been injured with knee ailments the last few seasons at running back, was seen in a knee brace during camp on the first day. Obviously, the good news is safety first for the team and they are trying to keep Johnson in the mix even while doing so safely. It’s a big season for Johnson, and the hope is he can stay healthy and be a big reason the Lions manage to have a new look rushing attack which does damage this season on the field.

Young Detroit Defenders Could Emerge

Detroit drafted one of the hidden gems of the 2020 class in edge rusher Julian Okwara and early on, it looks as if both he as well as linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin could potentially be in line to have significant roles for the 2020 season. Detroit needs all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball after not adding much in free agency at the spot. At cornerback, an Amani Oruwariye emergence could be excellent for depth’s sake moving forward. Getting some youngsters to step up and step in would be a significant development for the season.

T.J. Hockenson’s Injury Provided Upside

While the Lions lost Hockenson late last year to an ankle injury that was challenging to get over, it allowed Hockenson the time to buff up in other noticeable ways ahead of the season. Now, Hockenson is looking large and in charge and the reason might have everything to do with the fact that he suffered the ankle injury which allowed him time to be able to lift weights and get much stronger. If the injury helped Hockenson to become an overall stronger, better player, it would be huge news for the Lions and their offense, indeed.

Kenny Golladay Details Coronavirus Experience

The Lions, at one point, had 8 players on the COVID/Reserve list, one of which was Golladay. They’ve gotten much healthier in the last few weeks. Fortunately for the wideout and the team, the symptoms Golladay had weren’t all that severe. He had a fever, but beyond that, was able to be over the coronavirus scare and come off the list. Now, he’s completely healthy and ready to go. It’s a virus that impacts everyone differently, and for Golladay, the best news is that it didn’t seem to be all that tough to get over for him in the end.

As training camp practice ramps up and going, stay tuned to Lions on Heavy for all the latest updates and breaking news.

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