As Tyrell Crosby fights hamstring injury, Detroit Lions’ backups come into focus

Detroit Free Press

Tyrell Crosby is dealing with a Grade 1 hamstring injury that will keep him out of at least the next few days of practice and could give the Detroit Lions time to sort through their backup options on the offensive line.

Crosby missed his second straight day of practice Thursday, when the Lions held a light walk-through after two days in full pads.

Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell are locked into the starting tackle spots and Crosby is expected to play as a sixth lineman this fall. With Crosby out, perhaps backup tackles Matt Nelson, Dan Skipper and Darrin Paulo will see more time through next week’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.

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“I think it can be a positive because now we’ve got — Nelson’s going to get a lot of those reps, which is good cause we’re working him kind of guard and tackle,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “Let’s find out who’s up next. It’s Nelson, it’s (Logan) Stenberg. You get more reps on guys you want to see up there. Maybe it’s (Tommy) Kraemer, our young rookie from Notre Dame who’s getting some of those reps.

“Hell, we just brought Evan Heim back (from the reserve/COVID-19 list). We got all the Evans back so we’ll just pull a name out of a hat and say, ‘Hey, Evan, get in there,’ and see which one runs in there to get some reps and see what happens.”

The Lions have three offensive linemen named Evan on their current roster: Evan Heim, Evan Boehm and Evan Brown, who they activated off the nonfootball injury list before practice Thursday.

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Outside of Crosby, Campbell said the Lions are dealing a slew of mostly minor injuries.

D’Andre Swift has been limited in recent days by a tight groin, and Campbell said the Lions have managed his reps this summer because of his body composition.

“He’s bound pretty tight and he runs hot, so we’re trying to get him (good work) and then back him down,” Campbell said.

The Lions have put similar workload restrictions on veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers, who has not practiced the past three days, while linebacker Julian Okwara suffered a rib contusion in practice Wednesday and is expected to return for Friday’s padded workout.

Cornerback Jerry Jacobs, who had his leg stepped on in Wednesday’s practice, was limited in Thursday’s walk-through, while corner Alex Brown remains out after a practice collision Tuesday.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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