TIM AND MIKE: August 19 practice observations

Swift return: Second-year running back D'Andre Swift returned to practice Thursday after sitting out the last couple weeks with a groin injury. The team has been really careful to limit Swift over this stretch to allow him get back to 100 percent without any setbacks. He took a heavy load of reps Thursday and said afterward he felt good to be back. – Tim Twentyman

Cheering section: Outside linebacker Julian Okwara won his rep in convincing fashion in a one-on-one isolation drill. That got a big cheer from his teammates on defense. Okwara is looking more and more like the bargain the Lions thought they were getting when they drafted him in the third round last year. Injuries limited him to six games. – Mike O'Hara

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday August 19, 2021.

Defensive playmaking: It wasn't a particularly strong practice for the Lions' offense. There wasn't much in the way of scoring strikes and the defense got their hands on a number of passes, including interceptions for linebackers Jamie Collins Sr. and Charles Harris. Cornerback Amani Oruwariye got a couple pass deflections during the session as well. – Tim Twentyman

Standing out: Third-year outside linebacker Austin Bryant was hard to miss in one period. He dominated his area and deflected two passes (one was intercepted). Bryant is another young defensive player trying to stay healthy. He has played only 10 games, with one start, since being drafted in the fourth round in 2019. The third year could be the charm. – Mike O'Hara

Quick turnaround: The Lions signed nickel cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman just a week ago and already he's working himself into first-team reps in the slot. – Tim Twentyman

Quiet time: Tuesday's practice was the last in training camp that was open to fans. The mood could not have been more different Thursday. The players were still enthusiastic, but there were no cheers from the fans. Bottom line: The season is fast approaching. – Mike O'Hara

Welcome shot: With head coach Dan Campbell saying Thursday that select veterans, including quarterback Jared Goff, could sit Saturday in Pittsburgh, and backups Tim Boyle and David Blough (sat out practice Thursday) nursing injuries, newly signed quarterback Jordan Ta'amu could potentially see some reps Saturday. He looked pretty good throwing the football Thursday for a guy who's been in Allen Park for just one day. His best throw of the day was a dart to wide receiver Sage Surratt down the left sideline early in practice. – Tim Twentyman

Bigger role: Slowly but surely, rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is making his presence more and more known at practice. He's been catching a good share of passes for the last few practices now, and Goff seems to be building trust with him. – Tim Twentyman

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