UPDATED Lions notes: Kerry Hyder placed on IR; Copeland could be out for season; more on A’Shawn Robinson and Valoaga

Copeland suffers torn pectoral muscle

ALLEN PARK >> The Lions made it official on Tuesday that the season is over for Kerry Hyder. The defensive end, who tore his Achilles in Sunday’s preseason opener, was placed on injured reserve.

After Monday’s walk-through, coach Jim Caldwell only would say that an announcement was forthcoming. Hyder, who led the Lions with 8.5 sacks in 2016, is likely out until training camp in 2018.

Also on Tuesday, the Lions placed running back Mike James on injured reserve and waived guard Matt Rotheram.

Hyder posted on his Instagram account: “There is no quit in my body. I truly believe God has a plan for me and I will be back better than ever. I am blessed beyond measure and I know this is not setback. It is an opportunity for me to show my strength that God has put in me. All things are possible through him. Thank you to all the friends and family for support. To Lions nation I promise I will be back better than ever. Thank you all.’’

His teammates will miss him.

“Kerry is a big brother to me, having him in the room he has one of the biggest hearts and he plays and it shows day in and day out in practice. … Now we just think what we can do for him. He worked his butt off to get to where he is now. That this happened to him sucks,’’ said defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (in photo).

Caldwell said not surprisingly Monday was a tough day for Hyder.

“It’s kind of what you can expect. I’m not got to say that it was obvious but there’s nobody that’s excited about going through what he’s going through, so it’s a tough time,’’ Caldwell said.

— Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Copeland could miss the season with a torn pectoral muscle, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

His loss would mean another huge hit for the defensive line. Hyder is out for the season and defensive tackle Khyri Thornton (six games) and defensive end Armonty Bryant (four games) will serve suspensions to start the season.

Copeland left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. The Lions have made no statement on Copeland. After a day off on Tuesday they return to practice on Wednesday.

— A’Shawn Robinson was a standout on the defensive line in the preseason win over the Colts.

He finished his rookie season in 2016 showing more s each week.

“You know, which is  kind of hard to believe with a guy that big, that strong that he’s stronger. He’s, I think, running well. He had a pretty solid game the other day and did some of the things he’s accustomed to doing. He put pressure on the quarterback by knocking his guy back into the pocket,’’ Caldwell said. “And certainly when he gets pushed, it just ties in together with him getting his hands up in the throwing lane and tipping a few here and there. But he’s coming along well.”

He’ll likely start alongside veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. And while the line will miss Hyder and Copeland, Robinson on the inside will be a factor.

“That was the first game for all those guys and we’ll see what happens in the second. Like I told the rookies, for the most part, we have a period that we go through all the mistakes. And the reason why we do that is because of the fact that those mistakes have to be corrected because what the other team does now, you’re on film. They look at your strengths. They look at your weaknesses. And those are the things that you attack,’’ Caldwell said. “So, we got to work at correcting ours. So, it’s the same thing with the guys that have been around a little bit. They still will look at you next week, they’ll spend a little bit more time in terms of preparation. So, we’ll see how well they progress.”

— Jeremiah Valoaga seemed to make the most of his chances on Sunday. The defensive end, an undrafted rookie, has had a few moments in training camp too.

“He played well. He’s long (6-foot-5) . He’s got some push. Between he and Alex (Barrett), those number of guys got some pressure on the quarterback,’’ Caldwell said. “And we kind of like what he’s doing right now. But he’s still young.”

Defensive end is a key position with Hyder likely out, and suspensions for ends Armonty Bryant (four games) and Khyri Thornton (six games) to start the season.

 

Five things to know about Greg Robinson who could start at left tackle

The veteran played the first half Sunday in win over Colts

ALLEN PARK >> In his fourth season in the NFL, Greg Robinson knows how key it is to take advantage of every opportunity.

The left tackle, who was signed by the Lions after Taylor Decker tore his labrum in June, played the first half in the 24-10 preseason win over the Colts on Sunday. It’s unknown exactly how long Decker will be out but he’s expected to miss at least a few games early in the season. Robinson is the likely candidate to start in his place. But it’s not a sure thing just yet.

“I take it with a grain of salt, it’s just something I can’t take for granted, honestly come out every day and work my butt off. That’s the real important thing,’’ Robinson said. “Just because a guy got hurt it’s not like things are supposed to be handed to me, I have to come out apply what the coach is teaching in the room and take that to the field and each day just build.’’

The offensive line protected all three quarterbacks, allowing just one sack of Jake Rudock.

Robinson and Cyrus Kouandijo, who was also signed after Decker’s injury, joined the team just before they broke for several weeks off in mid-June. So both studied the playbook on their own but were thrown in the fire when camp started.

Five things to know about Robinson:

1. Coach Jim Caldwell is cautious with praise at this time of year but had some good things to say about Robinson. “Solid, he was solid,’’ Caldwell said. ”In terms of his first outing within the system against another team, I thought he did some good things. But he’s still got a ways to go.’’

2.  Robinson knows he has improvement to make after watching film of Sunday’s win. “Coach grades kind of tough. It wasn’t as expected. I knew I had a lot that I had to clean up. I played hard,’’ Robinson said. “I felt like when opportunities presented themselves I took advantage of it and that’s the things that really count. We don’t get many plays in preseason games so the opportunity to prove yourself is so critical so just deal with that. I feel confident that I can do that.’’

3. He knew the day before that he would be playing the entire first half on Sunday. “At night I  went to sleep a little early knowing that it wasn’t going to be a series, get my mind right mentally,’’ Robinson said. “I went  over the plays, I focused on things I was struggling with throughout the week and make sure I pounded that in my head so I could be prepared in case the coach called it. I feel my conditioning needs to ramp up a little bit just in case I had to play a little more but I felt good afterwards.’’

4. The 24-year-old Robinson was the second overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 draft, but never lived up to expectations. He spent the first three years of his career with the Rams, so moving to a new team has offered challenges. “I would say just mentally things aren’t moving as fast as my rookie year. But I’m allowed to slow the game down a lot on my own, getting on the same page, getting the calls and those type of things. I’m able to  relate to guys when they make certain calls. It gives me a headstart almost,’’ Robinson said.

5. Robinson seemed to have a slow start in training camp but has been slowly trending up as he gets more comfortable. “Yes, honestly going against another defense (the Colts) helped a lot,’’ Robinson said. “When I was in this position and noticed that ‘OK, I’m covered, I won’t have help here, I have to change my footwork’ — a few plays I got downgraded by the coach because of that but I feel like it was just a platform I laid and I’ve got a lot of building to do.’’

Five things learned from Lions’ 24-10 preseason win over Colts

Kerry Hyder suffers ‘significant’ Achilles injury

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions.)

It was an impressive debut for a few of the Detroit Lions rookies in the 24-10 win over the Colts in the preseason opener for both teams at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Field.

It may become known as Kenny Golladay’s big coming out party.

Remember the Colts were playing without starting quarterback Andrew Luck who is out rehabbing a shoulder injury. He was missed the Colts’ offense just couldn’t get anything going. The Lions led in yardage 336-230.

A win is always a plus in the preseason, but don’t make too much of it. Do I have to remind you that the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason in 2008 and then couldn’t win a regular season game? Didn’t think so.

Here are five things we learned from Sunday’s win:

1. First, the bad news. Kerry Hyder went down in the first quarter grabbing his lower left leg on a non-contact play. He was carted off the field which is never a good sign. After the game, coach Jim Caldwell told reporters Hyder has a “significant” Achilles injury. Caldwell would not say his season is over, but it very well could be. Hyder led the Lions with 8.5 sacks last season. Also linebacker/defensive end Brandon Copeland went out in the second half with a shoulder injury. Overall the defensive line was impressive considering they were missing key elements.

2. Kenny Golladay, the Lions’ rookie wide receiver, lived up to the hype. He’s been solid in training camp and was able to translate it to the field on game day. Golladay had three catches for 53 yards — two of them were touchdowns — in the first half. All three passes were from Jake Rudock. On everyone he used his height (he’s 6-foot-4) over rookie cornerback Quincy Wilson. While Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and TJ Jones started, if Golladay keeps this up he could break the top three. “He functioned well today … That’s one game down and more to go,’’ said Caldwell who was typically cautious about not over-hyping the rookie.

3. First-round pick Jarrad Davis didn’t waste any time, picking up a tackle on the first defensive snap. This isn’t a surprise to those who have seen the middle linebacker at camp. He’s a hard worked and understands the game which helps when calling the defensive plays.

4. Matthew Stafford completed two of three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. The best news is that he was not injured. Rudock took over for Stafford in the first half and started the second half. Rudock’s numbers were solid — 13 of 21 for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rookie Brad Kaaya got his first reps and was able to move the ball. He connected with Dontez Ford for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter and finished 8 of 11 for 71 yards. Ford made a terrific play to get in the the end zone.

5. Discipline was a key factor for the Lions who made it through the first half without a penalty and finished the game with just six. Sure, it’s just the preseason but it could be an indication of things to come. Meanwhile the Colts were a little sloppy with 11 penalties.

— BONUS: Defensive end Jeremiah Valoaga, an undrafted rookie out of UNLV, was a standout with five tackles and one sack. … Rookie linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin led the defense with six tackles. … Linebacker Paul Worrilow, defensive end Pat O’Connor, defensive end Alex Barrett and Valoaga each picked up a sack.

Five positions to watch as Lions take on Colts in Sunday’s preseason opener

First chance to see rookies in game situation

After two days of joint practices, the Lions and Colts will face off at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday in the preseason opener for both teams at Indianapolis. (In Detroit, the game will air on FOX 2.)

Typically in this first game, starters might see about a quarter of playing time depending on how the game unfolds.

Here are five positions to watch:

1. Greg Robinson seems to have the edge at left tackle to hold down the position until Taylor Decker is able to return. It’s not a done deal though. Cyrus Kouandijo was also signed to get a look for the left tackle spot. Both are veterans and this battle could continue through the four preseason games.

2. At wide receiver there are plenty of bodies. The Lions could have some tough decisions to make here. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay are locks. Then there’s a bottleneck for the fourth and fifth spots (if they keep five). TJ Jones, Jared Abbrederis, Keshawn Martin and Jace Billingsley have had solid camps so far. TJ Jones has been a bit of a surprise coming up with tough catches in traffic.  Even coach Jim Caldwell is uncertain how many wide receivers they will keep. “It just depends on how many guys are kept at other positions. What we think, you know, we may have some guys that take us above maybe what our normal limit would be in terms of how many we would keep. It changes. There’s a lot of positions involved in that,’’ Caldwell said this week. The number of tight ends could play a factor, same with running backs.

3. Defensive end is another key area to watch. Ziggy Ansah likely won’t play at all since he’s been out with an undetermined injury. That gives the others a chance to go against the Colts’ first unit. Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel are listed as starters on the depth chart. Armonty Bryant, who is suspended for the first four games, and Cornelius Washington are next up. Still keep an eye on Alex Barrett (No. 79), the undrafted rookie who has opened eyes in camp. Plenty of tough competition at this spot.

4. Not sure how much we’ll see of Ameer Abdullah, who missed the final 14 games in 2016. He’s looked fine in camp but Caldwell won’t want to take unnecessary risks. Same for Theo Riddick who is coming off surgery on both wrists. Quietly Zach Zenner has had a good camp, especially during goal-line plays. Mike Asiata and Tion Green should get plenty of reps along with Dwayne Washington who was hot and cold as a rookie last year.

5. Jarrad Davis, the first-round pick, has looked good as middle linebacker in camp. It will be interesting to see how that translates to a preseason game. Chances are good it will carry over. Tahir Whitehead will start on the weakside and Antwione Williams on the strong side. Still plenty of time to make changes. Watch rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin, veterans Paul Worrilow and Nik Bellore, along with Brandon Copeland.

BONUS: Safety Miles Killebrew could come out hitting. Also Teez Tabor plays with a chip on his shoulder so let’s see how it goes in a game situation.

Five things to know about Lions QB Matthew Stafford as camp progresses

Remember back to the Lions’ 2009 training camp? All eyes were on first-round pick Matthew Stafford who had to beat out veteran Daunte Culpepper for the starting quarterback job. (It seems a little ridiculous now but that’s what coach Jim Schwartz wanted. Stafford wasn’t announced as the starter until Sept. 6.)

Fast-forward nine years.

While the Lions have many question marks and tough roster decisions to make, concern about Stafford is just not an issue.

The 29-year-old quarterback looks just fine and has rarely missed any throws in camp.

He’s in great shape, according to coach Jim Caldwell. And, he’s got two new fans — 4-month-old twin daughters Sawyer and Chandler. (Photo from Instagram account of Kelly Stafford.)

Here are five new things to know about Stafford:

1. Running back Theo Riddick sees a difference in Stafford from last season. “Definitely he’s way more vocal and that’s what we love,’’ Riddick said. “We’re definitely going to need that to see the things that he likes so that we can change and iron out a few things so we’re all on the same page.’’

2. Wide receiver Golden Tate pretty much agrees. “I think at the end of the day in this game you’re getting better or you’re getting worse, you’re never staying the same,’’ Tate said. “Knowing who Stafford is and who we have in this locker room we’re all getting better. Naturally as you get more comfortable he probably shares a little more and micro-manages the guys a little bit more and that’s what he’s been doing. He’s a phenomenal leader as it is and he’s been doing even more of that this year.’’

3. Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay has told stories about how Stafford has taken him under his wing, even worked on routes with him after practice. Golladay mostly has no complaints about Stafford’s zip on the ball. “To begin with I’m used to it now,’’ Golladay said.  “It’s pretty much any other ball unless he throws a real rocket in there, then it might be a hard fastball.’’

4. Caldwell just sees Stafford continuing to grow. “I know everybody’s kind of looking for the Holy Grail in terms of something that’s really different. He’s always been a leader. I just think there may be some things that he wants to make sure he gets right and that they understand exactly what he’s looking for and so, I think he’s certainly got to be a little bit more vocal,’’ Caldwell said. “And that happens too when guys get a little bit better, more seasoned, in the system too. But, he’s always taken ownership and I think if you take a look at some film and just go back you’ll see quite often he’s pretty vocal out there.”

5. And a look from the outside on Stafford as he heads into his ninth season. Andy Benoit of SI.com wrote on Wednesday: “Besides continuing to make the big-time tight-window throws that Matthew Stafford has always made (he’s especially deft throwing deep outside against Cover 2), we’ve also seen the 29-year-old QB plays with more maturity in offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s system. Those ‘wow’ throws no longer come at the cost of wise decision-making. Cooter often puts the Lions in straightforward, static formations. The stillness gives Stafford a clearer picture of the defense pre-snap. It’s the same thing the Colts used to do with Peyton Manning.’’ It’s probably not a coincidence that Cooter and Caldwell spent significant time working with Manning.

Lions won’t miss Andrew Luck at joint practices with Indianapolis Colts

Two practices in Indianapolis will lead to Sunday preseason game

Andrew Luck won’t participate in the joint practices between the Lions and the Colts in Indianapolis on Thursday and Friday.  Luck’s shoulder injury will keep him out of  Sunday’s preseason opener too.

The Colts will miss him much more than the Lions will.

His absence doesn’t matter one iota to the Lions’ defense.

“It doesn’t change what we’re trying to get done, obviously it changes who we’re going against,’’ Lions safety Glover Quin said on Wednesday.

“I don’t know how it changes what they’re doing and how their offense will run. For us the goal is the same to go out, compete it doesn’t matter who they have out there, just go out and compete, get better, work on our stuff, focus on us and see what happens.’’

This is the second straight year the Lions have had joint practices away from their facility in Allen Park. Last year they spent a few days near Pittsburgh working against the Steelers.

Coach Jim Caldwell spent 10 seasons on the Colts’ coaching staff which could have played a role in the decision to head to Indianapolis this week.

“First of all, I think you practice against people that you have like mindedness in terms of how you practice, what you want to get accomplished and things of that nature, so I’ve been knowing Chuck (Pagano) for a while and I think we’re going to be able to have a couple of really good sessions and then obviously the game in itself,’’ Caldwell said.

“But No. 1, it’s a great evaluation tool. The proximity is good for us obviously, and the great thing is it’s our first ball game so we get the chance doubly look at our team against another team as opposed to one day. Because you can’t always get everything you want to see in the actual game in itself in terms of number of guys in, things of that nature, because some things are unpredictable in terms of timing. But in a practice setting, you can set up a lot of evaluations and really take a real good close look at some guys,’’ Caldwell said a few hours before the team boarding the flight to Indianapolis.

The players are looking forward to facing opponents other than their teammates.

And the joint practices give the coaching staffs more information about the 90 players they each have on the roster.

Sometimes joint NFL practices can get a little chippy with a skirmish here or there.

But Quin does not expect that will happen. The Lions are a disciplined team under Caldwell where it’s extremely rare for a fight to break out.

“We went to Pittsburgh last year, competed and didn’t have any issues. We know how to practice we should get two good days of work and keep moving,’’ Quin said.

Five things to know about TE Tim Wright who is back with the Lions

The veteran missed 2016 with a torn ACL

ALLEN PARK >> When he’s not an NFL tight end, Tim Wright is busy at his barber shop — The Wright Cut — in Piscataway, N.J.

Luckily, he has a team in place to take over the hair-cutting duties because he signed with the Lions on Wednesday and was back on the practice field.

Wright, 27, played nine games with the Lions in 2015 and was placed on injured reserve in May 2016 with a torn ACL. He said his knee is now 100 percent.

It’s unclear what his chances are of making the 53-man roster since he is one of seven tight ends. He certainly has a good shot and, if Wednesday was an indication, he’ll get plenty of first-team reps. (Eric Ebron has not been practicing due to an undisclosed injury.)

Much of Wright’s success will depend on how well he looks in camp and the preseason games.

“He has some familiarity with the system, so we’ll try to bring him along,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said.

Here are five things to know about Wright:

1. He knows the offense and said not much has changed since last year. That could be one reason he was taking reps with the first team in practice. “I’m a true veteran and I’m a pro. I’ve been around a great organization and this is a great organization,’’ Wright said. “So I know what to expect and where to pick up where I left off.’’

2. While he had feelers from other NFL teams, he’s happy to be back in Detroit. “My heart is here. All the stuff in my drawers is Lions stuff, all the other teams I’ve been on, that stuff is in storage and I’m ready to be a Lion again,’’ said Wright who is wearing No. 82.

3. He was not just cutting hair this summer. His NFL dreams were not dead. “I was working out man, posting stuff on Instagram so people could see it,’’ Wright said. “Fortunately the coaches had checked in, they saw how I look and brought me in. I dominated the workout and they saw me.’’ He said the Lions had been in touch with his agent over the past few months. “I’m sure they had me on their radar, I felt it, so I was preparing myself. When the time struck, the opportunity came, I was ready for it. I was focusing on getting better every day.’’

4. In 2015 with the Lions, Wright had nine catches for 77 yards. Two of those nine receptions were touchdowns. In 2014 with the New England Patriots he had six touchdowns in 16 games  and in 2013 with Tampa Bay he scored five times. “The touchdowns and catches are good for the books,’’ Wright said. “It’s a new year, I’ve got that under my belt. I know how I did it, my teammates know how I did it, hopefully (Matthew) Stafford knows how I did it. I’m trying to go out there and collect a few more.’’

5. The Lions were to leave for Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon. They’ll have joint practices with the Colts on Thursday and Friday leading up to their first preseason game on Sunday at Indianapolis. “I’m excited. The last two times I was traded, the next day I was into a game either starting or playing full speed. That’s what it is tomorrow at Indy. I’m ready to go rip it up,’’ Wright said.