Lions offensive line off to good start on first day in pads

On the first day in pads at Lions training camp on Monday, the offensive line made a few knock-down plays that had the fans oohing and ahhing.

In one set of one-on-one drills against the defensive line, the offensive guys showed their stuff on each matchup.

“You put the pads on, it’s real football, I’m very confident in our O-line going one on one matchups with anyone. That being said, I think our D-line is going to be really good this year,’’ left tackle Taylor Decker said. “You saw Charles Harris come on last year, he’s picked up right where he left ott. He’s a beast, he’s a really good player, he’s a super high effort all the time. I think as Aidan (Hutchinson) learns you’re going to see him — he loves to ball, he’s into it, he loves to learn. It’s going to make both groups better.’’

A year ago, the offensive line also looked to be a strength but due to injuries there was never a game where all five starters played. Not one game.

Now they’re back and healthy. Decker sat out Saturday as a precaution due to his foot injury last year but on Monday he said it’s fine.

“I think we expect every single guy on the offensive line to play at a high high level at their position, whatever that means as far as accolades I don’t know. You come out here every single day and you try to get better as an individual, you’re going to help the guard next to you, then you’re going to help the unit, then you’re going to help the offense, then you’re going to help the team,’’ Decker said.

They expect much out of themselves. Decker and right tackle Penei Sewell both noted how going against the Lions defensive line – including Harris and rookie Aidan Hutchinson – will help make them better.

“It benefits me a lot to see those two guys. Charles came in and shocked the world (last year).. I didn’t really know who he was, he’s a beast,’’ Sewell said. “To have Aidan follow that type of guy that makes him better and I’m following Deck. It’s kind of the same thing back and forth. Iron sharpens iron, everyone knows that.’’

Sewell, who flattened cornerback Jeff Okudah in one drill on Monday, is entering his second season and feels more comfortable since he knows his teammates so well now. They’re a tight-knit group as is typical for most offensive lines.

“That chemistry too makes my job way easier out there. I know what to expect. The speed is way slower, everything is not coming at me 1,000 mph, everyone is normal speed and I like it,’’ Sewell said,

Perhaps the most growth is expected from Sewell who is making the jump from year one to year two.

“I think I’ll know more as we get more padded practices. One thing me and him have talked about as far as just keeping the width of the pocket, just setting aggressive, being confident on your sets and changing up your sets. That’s something as I’ve gotten older I’ve done a lot more of. It might be third-and-10 but I’m going to jump set this guy because he’s not expecting it,’’ Decker said.

Along with Decker and Sewell, other offensive line starters are expected to be Frank Ragnow at center, Jonah Jackson at left guard and Vaitai Halapoulivaati at right guard.

“Our excitement is through the roof. We know what we’re capable., everyone knows what we’re demanding out of each and everyone of us in the room,’’ Sewell said. “The sky’s the limit, only we can control that and how far we can go.’’

Lions Dan Campbell sees WR Josh Reynolds having a big year

ALLEN PARK — It can only be a good thing for a player if Lions coach Dan Campbell tags him with a nickname.

Wide receiver Josh Reynolds has three — praying mantis, spider of death and freaking serpent. Campbell shared the names on Saturday, the fourth day of Lions training camp.

Reynolds played the last seven games of last season for the Lions after being cut midseason by the Tennessee Titans. In those games he had 19 catches for 306 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“I like this guy, I’m buying stock in him. I think he could have a big year,’’ Campbell said. “He’s a smooth athlete, he’s a grinder, he’s smart and Jared (Goff) trusts him. I can’t say enough about that (wide receivers) room in general and he’s a big piece of that.’’

Reynolds was drafted in 2017 by the Los Angeles Rams where he played with Goff.

“We’ve had that rapport but to be able to continue to build on it is awesome and a big difference,’’ Reynolds said on Saturday.

Campbell said it has made a huge difference having Reynolds in camp.

“It makes a big difference. You guys know the story on him, I’ll say this, he came in the spring in great shape and I was pleased with what he was able to do and how he was able to help us toward the end of last year but he came in this spring and caught my eye again. I felt like he even took a step forward from that,’’ Campbell said.

At camp, Reynolds said he’s trying to soak up the offensive scheme.

Wide receiver is a competitive position for the Lions with guys like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Kalif Raymond and Quintez Cephus. Rookie Jameson Williams, a first-round pick, will add even more speed but so far hasn’t been cleared to practice. 

“Those guys are pros in there , they work and they are smart,’’ Campbell said.

Reynolds, 27, says it is competitive. 

“That’s all we do is  compete over there. It’s real competitive. We’ve got guys who can do everything. We’ve got speedy guys, we’ve got long guys, all of them make plays,’’ Reynolds said. 

Five things to know about Lions CB Amani Oruwariye

While Friday was just the third day of training camp, already Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell sees a difference in Amani Oruwariye, the oldest cornerback on the roster at age 26. 

“I tell you what from this time last year, he feels like a guy who understands what he’s capable of. He understands what he’s good at, what he can do, what he needs to work on. He’s a pro right now, he’s practicing like a pro, he did in the spring,’’ Campbell said before the start of Friday’s practice. “There’s a comfort level and he’s very confident and it’s good to see.”

A big difference from a year ago is now the Lions — with Campbell in his second season — know what they have in Oruwariye.

“We feel like, alright it’s early in camp and all of that, he’s got to prove it again. He knows that and has to continue to improve, but we feel pretty good where he is in that spot. It was good to see him grow and develop at the rate he did. He was having a hell of a year before the injury, I would say he picked up right where he left off in the spring and even the first two days,’’ Campbell added.

Five things to know about Oruwariye early in training camp:

1. He embraces his role as a leader as the oldest corner on the roster and even noted that he has found one gray hair. “Agewise, there’s a lot of guys around my age, guys who have been here with me. Just from experience, I’ve played a lot with different coaches. I do feel a sense of responsibility to make sure the guys are ready to go and make sure everyone is prepared and working like a professional every single day,’’ Oruwariye said on Friday.

2. Oruwariye shared his reaction to Campbell calling him a pro. “I take pride in it, it means I come to work everyday and be the best teammate I can be everyday and try to be the best Amani I can be everyday for my teammates,’’ the corner said.

3. Last season Oruwariye was sidelined for the final three games with a thumb injury. He was missed. He led the Lions with six interceptions — no one else had more than one. Three of his picks came in the last five games he played. He was on a roll. “It was amazing. I was living a dream, making the plays I could make for the defense. Obviously we didn’t get the wins we wanted, but I’m hoping if I continue to have that production and I can rally the guys around me to continue building off that, we’ll start getting the Ws,’’ Oruwariye said

4. No one could be more pleased about the emphasis the team put on improving the pass rush in the offseason, including drafting Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick. “It’s amazing. Those guys just make it easier on us. Obviously we still have a job to do but knowing that we’ve got guys who can win the one-on-one battles up front consistently it’s going to affect our defense tremendously,’’ Oruwariye said. “It will affect how we see offenses, our timing of how routes develop because we know we only have to guard four seconds instead of five seconds. It’s everything,’’ Oruwariye said.

5. Either Will Harris or Jeff Okudah will likely start opposite Oruwariye when the season starts. Harris made the move from safety to corner during the 2021 season and Okudah’s 2021 season ended on opening day when he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon. “Will stepped up huge for us last season, it’s hard to go unnoticed. He just is Mr. Consistent, Mr. Know-it-all. He’s played every position on the defense. He’s just out there making sure he can perfect his craft at corner, it’s new to him. I’m helping him out a lot. He’s learning and competing,’’ Oruwariye said.

“Jeff is just gaining that confidence to be out there and play and put together a good camp. I told him to take it one day at a time and obviously I’m still always there. If you need advice for anything, for things I see, talk to me, we can sit down and watch film. But for him it’s just gaining confidence and the courage to go out there and do what he does best. We all know what he’s capable of us, it’s just putting it out there.’’

NOTE: Lions training camp continues on Saturday. The team then has Sunday off. Monday will be the first day they’re in pads and also the first day camp is open to the general public.