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TIM AND MIKE: July 29 practice observations

Six-man group: The team has been conducting a walkthrough for the first half hour or so of these first two days of practice with the first-team offense and defense and key subs on one field and the second and third teams on the other field. There were six offensive linemen working with the first-team offense Thursday as Tyrell Crosby rotated into left guard, right guard and right tackle. It appears the Lions really view Crosby as a sixth starter and key depth upfront for them. – Tim Twentyman

Weighty issue: Linebacker Jahlani Tavai got attention in the offseason for the substantial weight he lost since the end of the 2020 season. He has kept it off. The benefit of being lighter was apparent on one play Thursday when he helped turn a running play inside, then took on a blocker while in pursuit to close the hole. – Mike O'Hara

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday July 28, 2021.

Kicker competition: Randy Bullock and Matthew Wright are competing to replace Matt Prater (Arizona) as Detroit's place kicker. Under the watchful eye of head coach Dan Campbell, Bullock hit all six of his kicks ranging from about 27 yards to 42 yards using both hashes. Wright missed his last attempt wide left and finished 4-for-5. – Tim Twentyman

Linked: There are subtleties and nuances from the protection unit on field goals and extra points. On one kick Thursday a blocker had his arm wrapped around the teammate next to him to seal any crack in the protection. – Mike O'Hara

Return game: Detroit's also on the lookout for a punt and return man to replace Jamal Agnew, who left for Jacksonville in free agency. The Lions worked on punting Wednesday and had Kalif Raymond, Tom Kennedy, Victor Bolden and Amon-Ra St. Brown back returning punts.

Thursday it was kickoffs, and back there returning kicks were Raymond, Kennedy, St. Brown, Godwin Igwebuike, D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Igwebuike is a converted safety now playing running back for Detroit. – Tim Twentyman

Catching my eye: A couple receivers and one cornerback caught my eye Thursday. Kennedy made a couple nice grabs, including a sliding catch over the middle in a late team period. The catch of the day, however, was recorded by Chad Hansen, who made a terrific over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline with cornerback Jerry Jacobs in tight coverage on a perfectly thrown deep ball by quarterback Tim Boyle.

Second-year cornerback Jeff Okudah also made a couple nice plays, including breaking up a deep ball down the right sideline thrown by Jared Goff intended for Tyrell Williams early in a 7-on-7 period. Okudah's had a good start to camp. – Tim Twentyman

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