The Detroit Lions have been hoping for players to step up along their defensive line in camp, and it appears the message has been received by at least one young player.
Coming into the offseason, many didn’t see a path to the roster for edge rusher Austin Bryant. At this point, though, it could be impossible to leave him off the team given what he has done in training camp.
Bryant has responded with grit during camp, often standing out for making plays. With another day of joint-practice against the Indianapolis Colts as the backdrop, he managed to shine yet again.
Detroit’s defense had sustained some trouble in their first battles against the Colts, but that changed Thursday. As the media present revealed including Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, the team stiffened in a big way, led by Bryant’s dominating day.
“No touchdowns allowed in red zone, followed by no touchdowns allowed during 2-minute drills. Monster response from a defense that struggled yesterday. Speaking of monster … Austin Bryant had 3(!) sacks, was drawing doubles by day’s end. He’s making this team guys,” Meinke tweeted.
Whether Bryant was actually on the bubble for the Lions or not is a matter of debate, but many wondered aloud this offseason if he would be able to stick around because of the depth the team added up front.
That question could be asked and answered with performances such as this, which is good news for Bryant as well as a Detroit defense that needs way more pass rush punch down the roster.
Lions Offense Also Responded Well vs. Colts
After reports of a tough day had surfaced on Wednesday, August 17, the Detroit offense also appears to have stepped up and delivered in their head-to-head battles against the Colts.
Jared Goff and the Lions were more efficient, and the ground game showed some teeth. That was according to Colton Pouncy of The Athletic, who was keyed-in to the offense during the practice.
“A few Lions thoughts from joint practices: Starting offense looked a lot better in the early 7-on-7 red-zone portion of practice. I had Goff 6-of-8 with three touchdowns during this period,” Pouncy tweeted.
Jamaal Williams was also lauded for his work, which included a touchdown, strong running and his usual collection of fun fan gifts.
“Jamaal Williams had a strong day. Plowed his way through the Colts defense for a touchdown during 11-on-11 red-zone work. Some solid runs sprinkled in. He also received another Anime haul from fans, which is impressive considering we’re in another state,” Pouncy tweeted.
Add it up and it seems the Lions offense has reason to feel just as good off this day as the defense does. That gives them a bit of momentum heading toward the game on Saturday afternoon.
Bryant Fighting Hard to Stick With Lions
As for Bryant, it’s been a fantastic offseason and camp for the former Clemson product as it relates to putting his best foot forward toward making the team.
A week ago, Bryant got into a camp scuffle which showed he was not willing to back down, even to teammates. The defensive lineman has been seen as a roster bubble player this offseason, so the fact he wasn’t a mere pushover in team drills shows the right mindset.
Coming into last season, Bryant had put up just 25 total tackles in his time in the NFL. In 2021, he managed to top that with 31 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Health played a role in his resurgence, and he was one of the more important Lions pass rushers last year. In spite of that, the team added depth up front, making nothing guaranteed.
Bryant is finally healthy and looking like his old self. It’s more than possible his big practice efforts may end up ensuring he makes the Lions roster once again in 2022.
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