Lions Defense Observations from Day 2 of Practice with Giants
With my vantage point focused on the defense during day two of Detroit Lions and New York Giants’ joint practice, a few Lions players stood out. While the Lions’ defense had its moments, the Giants seemed eager to bounce back from their lackluster performance the previous day. Giants head coach Brian Daboll, when probed about the earlier struggles, brushed off the negativity, emphasizing the “productive” nature of the practice sessions.
Key Player Highlights
LB Josh Paschal:
Impressive in run defense and showcased his power multiple times from multiple positions on the defensive line.
Managed to sack QB Daniel Jones and disrupted the Giants’ offensive line, which had a great day versus the Lions defensive front.
Received praise from both head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, particularly for his comeback after last year’s injury.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell lauded Paschal:
I think we are in the beginning stages here of we feel some versatility beginning to show itself. And that’s because we’ve got some guys that are showing up…(Lions DL Josh) Paschal is coming on, everybody can see it.
Demonstrated lockdown cornerback abilities on several reps against the Giants top receivers.
Made significant plays, including shedding blockers and breaking up two potential touchdown passes to WR Darius Slayton.
Showed innate ability to use his body and be physical with the bigger receivers.
Regarding the upgrades in the Lions secondary, coach Dan Campbell remarked:
There’s a reason why we went and got (Lions CB) Cam Sutton. There’s a reason why we got (Lions CB Emmanuel) Moseley. There’s a reason why we got (Lions DB) C.J. (Gardner-Johnson) because we believe they certainly upgrade us production wise, but also, they’re football guys. They fit everything that we’re about – the way they go about their business. They’re veteran guys, have got skins on the wall, they come from winning programs and they just play the game the right way.
During an interview on the Ermanni and Edwards with Maz Show, Sutton reaffirmed his commitment, saying: “I’m here to put this city, not just the team, but the city on the map.”
Quick Hitters: Standout Players to Watch
LB Derrick Barnes: Derrick Barnes caught eyes with his noticeable speed, making crucial plays in both defense and pass coverage. Barnes’s instincts stood out, particularly during an 11-on-11 rep where he nearly secured a pick-six.
LB Malcolm Rodriguez: Rodriguez’s pass coverage ability was evident. Often paired with Jack Campbell on the second team while also getting reps on special teams, Rodriguez thwarted Giants tight end Lawrence Cager with a remarkable pass breakup near the sideline.
DB Brian Branch: Branch mostly operated from the slot and nickel positions with the first-team defense. Despite a few oversights that led to touchdowns, Branch frequently managed to disrupt the offense.
DB Chase Lucas: Lucas commanded attention working multiple positions in the secondary on Wednesday. Primarily taking second-team reps at slot cornerback, he executed an athletic pass breakup against WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton. His dual ability to play both cornerback and safety augments his chances for a regular roster spot.
LB Trevor Nowaske: Emerging from Saginaw Valley State, Nowaske was working as a 3rd team linebacker, but his tenacity in special teams was unmissable. Possessing remarkable athleticism, Nowaske seems to be eyeing a roster spot primarily through his special teams contribution.
RB Jahmyr Gibbs: Even on a defense-centric day, Gibbs couldn’t be ignored. With an astounding catch in traffic during red zone drills and remarkable athleticism evident all day, he will certainly be a pivotal figure in the Lions’ passing game this season.
The Detroit Lions face off against the New York Giants in their preseason opener on Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET at Ford Field.