As usual, Dan Campbell walked into the morning training camp presser bearing a gigantic grin. At first, one would think it’s due to the Starbucks he pounded before entering. But that was not the case. Campbell’s mood stemmed from the Detroit Lions’ first practice in pads. And one player, in particular, Campbell spoke highly of was rookie Jermar Jefferson.
During a series of drills yesterday, safety Dean Marlowe “welcomed” Jefferson to the league with a vicious hit that fired the players and coaching staff. After that hit, Jefferson seemingly stepped his game up throughout the rest of practice. Campbell made sure to acknowledge his pleasure of Jefferson’s progression so far.
“I feel like every day Jefferson’s done a little bit [more], you know,” said Campbell. “He’s making a couple of runs here, [and] he’s got pretty good vision.”
“He’s got a ‘feel’ about him. And I feel like he’s growing a little bit every day. He’s smart. He’s one of those guys [when] I’ve been in Duce’s meetings where he didn’t say much up there, but when Duce calls on him, he’s got it.”
Last season, the Detroit Lions ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing. There is an expectation that second-year back D’Andre Swift will improve upon the flashes he shown his rookie year. Pair that with the arrival of Jamaal Williams, and the Lions should improve on last season’s ranking. However, the weight of the Lions’ rushing attack can’t lie on those two individuals only.
And this is where Jefferson comes in.
For the Lions’ rushing attack to improve, the rookie will need to perform each time Anthony Lynn or Duce Staley call his number, as Dan Campbell said.
Campbell detailed what “fired him up” from Jefferson’s performance on Day 1 of pads regarding yesterday’s practice specifically.
Jermar Jefferson participated in the same drills yesterday the sparked a minor practice scuffle between rookies Amon-Ra St. Brown and Ifeatu Melifonwu.
“He got in there, and he got beat bad,” said Campbell. “He was so…you could just see it. [And] he wanted to be back in there immediately.”
“He really wanted the rep again, but Fipp had already called somebody up. And it was…I could tell it really bothered him, you know. And not just bothered him [like], ‘Hey look at me, it bothers me’ so you see me like I’m getting bothered…it legitimately like bit at him, and I love that. I love that. I do. Because I know today he’s not gonna wanna let that happen again.”
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.