Youth was on display Sunday when the Lions hosted their annual Kids Day practice. Team officials released an official attendance figure of 2,819 fans, a record for camp workouts held at Detroit's Allen Park, Mich., practice facility.
Coach Jim Schwartz credited the crowd's energy for creating a high-energy environment for one of the most intense practices of camp. “When the players get out and there's that many people, it definitely makes them forget we're still in training camp,” he said. “It gives them a little bit of a boost.”
LBs shine in drills: The second half of individual drills Sunday featured one-on-one matchups between individual position groups. The best performance of any unit belonged to the LB corps, which dominated a mixed group of Lions RBs and TEs in pass-protection drills. Kevin Smith and Keiland Williams were the only offensive players to stop their LB counterparts during the period. The ability to generate effective LB pressure has allowed defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to reduce the amount of DB blitzes in Detroit's defensive scheme, freeing the secondary to provide more effective coverage help.
Broyles returns to practice: RB Ryan Broyles returned to drills Sunday after missing Detroit's preseason opener with knee soreness. He participated fully in all practice periods -- including special teams -- and made several nice cuts in drills. Broyles has produced similar performances earlier in camp, only to be sidelined for several days with soreness and swelling following each good workout. If he's able to recover and practice in Detroit's workout Monday, it will represent a major step in his rehab progress.
Spievey practices despite headaches: S Amari Spievey practiced Sunday after missing Detroit's preseason opener with headaches. Spievey has battled various symptoms since suffering a concussion last season. Schwartz said the team is being cautious with Spievey's health, but Spievey told the Detroit Free Press that the headaches he's currently experiencing aren't related to his 2011 brain injury.
Wendling's stability earns him a first-team place: With safeties Louis Delmas, Spievey and Don Carey all battling injury issues, John Wendling's ability to stay healthy and provide a consistent presence in the defensive backfield has been invaluable to the secondary's development in camp. His dependability has helped him transition from special teams contributor to first-team mainstay. Wendling's play isn't flashy, but he rarely makes the major coverage mistakes that cost Detroit last season. Until one of Detroit's other safeties can stay healthy enough to challenge Wendling for his spot, expect him to be trusted with a starting job.