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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Lions move training camp to Ford Field; Charak Competition

DETROIT ( Associated Press) — The Detroit Lions held training camp at Ford Field on Saturday, hoping it’s a step toward gaining an advantage in the home field this season.

Last year, the Lions led 3-13-1 and had the lowest home attendance numbers of any team in the NFL. In the last four years, he has won a total of nine home games.

The Lions usually camp at Allen Park, but instead hold their annual scramage at Ford Field, where 18,000 fans packed into their stadium, the most since 2015.

“It’s unbelievable,” coach Dan Campbell told the crowd before practice. “I can’t believe you guys.”

Optimism comes out of nowhere. After starting the previous season 0-10-1, the Lions finished with three of their final six matches, including three consecutive wins at home.

“The last three home games we’ve had, there was a good stretch,” Campbell said. “We could feel it as players and as coaches. I would say he picked up where he left off, you know? It is not easy to do so. Sitting there at the end of the year, we got no win, then we got one win, you got two. Listen, the credit goes to our fans. They’ve got hope.”

Detroit spent the off-season trying to make that finish, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions drafted Alabama wideout Jameson Williams with the 12th overall pick and signed former Pro Bowl receiver DJ Chark in free agency.

While Williams is suffering from a torn ACL in the college football playoffs, Chark demonstrated his talent in front of a Ford Field crowd on Saturday. During the scrimmage, Chark caught four passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard score that ended practice.

“I have really high hopes for this team, certainly for this offense,” Chark said after practice. “And I want to do my best to live up to them.”

Since making the Pro Bowl in 2019, Charak has struggled to stay healthy. He missed three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars the following season, and a broken ankle caused him to miss the final 13 games in 2021. On Saturday, he competed on a pro football field for the first time since that injury.

“It felt great,” said Charak. “It’s my first time actually here. Fans are excited just looking around, seeing the atmosphere. I’m excited. This is my first time back on the playground after September 30th or something like that, so I just Finishing it up and enjoying it.”

Despite the optimism, Campbell knows those feelings won’t last long if the team doesn’t deliver. The Lions have not made the playoffs since 2016 and have not won a playoff game since 1992. Campbell regularly receives recognition in his second year leading the Lions in the Detroit area, but he knows if his team doesn’t start winning.

“It’s so much better when you’re winning,” Campbell said. “When you’re losing, it’s like, ‘Hey coach, take this.’ We are in a good place right now. We have to get a little better. That’s what we have to do.”

Notes: CB Jeff Okudah did not participate in Saturday’s scrimmage, the second straight practice he has missed. … Second-round pick DE Josh Paschal is sidelined after sports hernia surgery in the spring, but Campbell said Pascal was ahead of his time in his recovery. … S CJ Moore was removed from the non-football injury list on Friday.


More Associated Press NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/ Associated Press_NFL

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