How you feeling?
What's your timetable for a return?
You going to wait till you're off PUP to talk?
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
In fairness to Ansah, the Lions have previously told injured players not to talk to reporters, so perhaps he was just following orders.
But on Day 1 of a very workmanlike training camp, both Ansah's presence and lack of words were among the most notable things.
First, Ansah and a couple of the Lions' other injured pass rushers, Devon Kennard and Cornelius Washington, spent the first half or so of practice working out with trainers. That's a good sign that all three will be back in action before long.
Kennard and Washington, both on the non-football injury list, ran sprints and worked on change-of-direction drills as injured players often do to test their conditioning.
Ansah, meanwhile, spent most of the same time off on the side doing an assortment of somewhat newfangled drills. He worked with battle ropes, slammed a medicine ball repeatedly to the ground and even swung what looked like a sledgehammer.
The drills appeared to be a mix of strength and conditioning exercises -- he also rode a stationary bike -- though he of course had no interest in talking about them after practice.
As for practice itself, with Ansah out still recovering from knee surgery and Washington and Kennard managing their bodies, the Lions' thin pass rush looked virtually unrecognizable. Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hyder, who's trying to return from a torn Achilles, took first-team reps at defensive end, while Jeremiah Valoaga and Cam Johnson were among the notable backups.
Lions coach Matt Patricia downplayed the state of his pass rush before practice, but we can be honest and say it's a good thing we're still six weeks away from the first game.
"Long-term, season, when we get to that point, we'll see where we're at," Patricia said. "Right now for us, we'll go through the evaluation process of finding out who can learn the fundamental techniques all the way across the board, whether it's on the defensive side, the run or the pass, the pass rush, the front, the coverage in the back end. All that stuff will be evaluated and we'll try to improve it as we go. But long-term, game-plan rushing and getting after the quarterback and the season, that's so far off for us it's just on a smaller basis."
More observations from Day 1
--With no pads until Sunday, the emphasis of Friday's practice was, as you'd expect, on the fundamentals. In their first individual period of practice, the Lions defense rotated through three stations, one a fumble recovery drill where coaches rolled a ball out for a defender to jump on, the second a one-on-one tackling drill where the defender had to take the proper angle on a ball carrier (and touch him up, not take him to the ground), and the third with players hitting a one-man sled.
--It was a gray, overcast day Friday, with a brief sprinkle, and temperatures in the 60s for much of practice. That's hardly the weather Patricia wants for training camp, but 80s and sun are on tap for the weekend.
Patricia tries his best to not say much at his news conferences, but I did enjoy his answer when asked about his favorite part of camp.
"I would say my favorite part of training camp is finally getting out there for the start of the first stretch. That's when kind of the excitement goes. You got to love football and you've got to love training camp. Like I said, training camp, there's nothing to it besides just pure football. There's no scheme, there's no opponent, there's not timeline for a Sunday game coming. It's just a standpoint, we're going to go, we're going to set a bunch of parameters and we can just play football. Just use fundamentals, try to improve and really work technique and coach the game at probably it's purest level at that point."
--Despite suggestions by offensive line coach Jeff Davidson that the Lions would rotate personnel on their offensive line in training camp, they spent most of Friday working with the same first-team offensive line we saw all spring: Taylor Decker at left tackle, Frank Ragnow at left guard, Graham Glasgow at center, T.J. Lang at right guard and Rick Wagner at right tackle. When the Lions split into two groups to do an install before practice, Joe Dahl and Brian Mihalik were the other linemen with the top unit. Dahl played both left guard and center.
--A couple other personnel notes: With Kennard out, Christian Jones appeared to be playing Kennard's strong-side role and Jonathan Freeny got first crack at the other outside spot in the Lions' base 4-3 defense.
On special teams, for those wondering about Miles Killebrew's future with the team, Killebrew worked as part of the No. 1 punt cover unit with, among others, Charles Washington, Zach Zenner, Steve Longa and Jones. Obviously, it's far too early to make any reads on what that means for a roster, but it's at least notable that Killebrew, Washington and Zenner were out there on Day 1.
--Teo Redding turned heads during spring workouts, and he was back at again Friday. Redding made a beautiful catch over Chris Jones while working with the third-team offense in a red-zone team drill. Redding, who also looks super fast as a punt returner, makes at least one head-turning play a practice.
--On the defensive side of the ball, Chris Jones, an undrafted rookie out of Nebraska, made the play of the day with a body-contorting pass breakup in the end zone on a fade route to Chris Lacy.
--DeShawn Shead took some first-team reps at cornerback opposite Darius Slay on Friday. The Lions like Shead's length, but I don't recall seeing much of him with the first-team defense during the spring. Teez Tabor, who's competing for that starting job, had back-to-back PBUs on passes to Bradley Marquez in the end zone.
--One final thought for the day: The Lions always do a nice job with activities for kids, food trucks for adults and the other dressings they have at camp, but let's get some music going as well. Patricia's practices run much longer than Jim Caldwell's, about 2.5 hours compared to maybe an hour and 45 minutes, and the end of the workouts seem to drag along without much excitement from a viewing standpoint. Maybe that will change when the crowd goes from season ticketholder-only to general admission on Sunday, but a little something else to liven up the atmosphere would be great.