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Lions move training camp to Ford Field; Chark competes

DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions held training camp at Ford Field on Saturday, hoping this is a step toward gaining home-field advantage this year.

This past year, the Lions went 3-13-1 and had the cheapest home attendance amounts of any team in the NFL. During the past four years, theyve won a complete of nine home games.

The Lions usually hold camp in Allen Park but rather held their annual scrimmage at Ford Field, where 18,000 fans packed to their stadium, probably the most at the function since 2015.

That is unbelievable, coach Dan Campbell thought to the crowd before practice. I cant believe you guys.

The optimism doesnt emerge from nowhere. After starting last season 0-10-1, the Lions finished by winning three of these final six games, including three consecutive wins in the home.

The final three home games we’d, there was an excellent vibe, Campbell said. We’re able to feel it as players and coaches. I’d say theyve found right where they left off, you understand? That isnt an easy task to do. Sitting there by the end of the entire year, we got no wins, then we get yourself a win, you obtain two. Listen, thats a credit to your fans. They got hope.

Detroit spent the offseason attempting to build off 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 remains sidelined with a torn ACL suffered in the faculty Football Playoff, Chark showcased his talents to the Ford Field crowd on Saturday. Through the scrimmage, Chark caught four passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns, including a 33-yard score that ended practice.

I must say i have big expectations because of this team, definitely because of this offense, Chark said after practice. And I wish to do my far better surpass those.

Since making the Pro Bowl in 2019, Chark has struggled to remain healthy. He missed three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars the next season, and a broken ankle caused him to skip the final game 13 games in 2021. Saturday marked his first-time competing on an expert football field since that injury.

It felt great, Chark said. That is my first-time really being in here. Just searching, obtaining the atmosphere, the fans are excited. Im excited. Its my first-time being back on a casino game field since Sept. 30 or something similar to that, so Im just taking everything in and enjoying it.

Regardless of the optimism, Campbell knows those feelings wont last long if the team doesnt deliver. The Lions havent made the playoffs since 2016 and havent won a playoff game since 1992. Campbell regularly gets recognized in the Detroit area in his second year leading the Lions, but he knows the tone of these encounters changes if his team doesnt start winning.

Its better when youre winning, Campbell said. When youre losing, its, Hey Coach, take this. Were in an excellent place at this time. We just got to obtain a tiny bit better. Thats what we surely got to do.

NOTES: CB Jeff Okudah didn’t take part in Saturdays scrimmage, marking the next straight practice he’s got missed. Second-round pick DE Josh Paschal remains sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery in the spring, but Campbell said Paschal is before schedule in his recovery. S C.J. Moore was taken off the non-football injury list on Friday.


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