Lions camp observations: Kalif Raymond makes case for roster spot; 2 return to full health

Detroit News

Allen Park — Here are some notes and observations from the Detroit Lions’ training camp practice on Monday.

► The Lions are still a long way from healthy, but they made positive progress with their participation as wide receiver Tyrell Williams and linebacker Derrick Barnes were full-go.

The team remained without three other receivers with Breshad Perriman, Quintez Cephus and Damion Ratley all sidelined by injury. Perriman and Ratley did some light running on the side with a trainer.

Also sitting out the session were cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar (personal issue) and Corn Elder, as well as defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike, who had just recently returned to practice.

Offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby (hamstring) was in uniform, but he didn’t do much. Neither did running back D’Andre Swift (groin) or defensive tackle Michael Brockers.

Finally, running back Jermar Jefferson exited practice with an apparent leg injury during a special-teams segment.

► Monday’s practice, with a rare afternoon start time, got bumped indoors for the first time this camp due to heavy rain and lightning.

► With Perriman out of action, Kalif Raymond stepped in to take first-team reps alongside Williams and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. Obviously, it’s still early, but Raymond also remains the front-runner to handle the team’s return duties and is well on his way to earning his roster spot.

► Defensively, Da’Shawn Hand continues to fill in for Brockers, but Jashon Cornell is also getting some run with the first unit as part of a heavy, five-man front.

► It was another round of 40 up-downs for the recent additions to the defense, as well as linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who was activated off the COVID-19/reserve list ahead of practice.

Listen, it’s obviously not an easy routine, but it’s particularly difficult when you tip the scales well over 300 pounds. Good thing players aren’t being punished for poor form, because third-year defensive tackle P.J. Johnson was falling apart about halfway through.

► The defense got off to an energetic start in 11-on-11 work with linebacker Alex Anzalone stuffing a run and cornerback Jeff Okudah driving down hard on a swing pass that would have been resulted in a minimal gain had the team been tackling on Monday.

Out of six plays for the first-team offense, only one could be considered successful, with quarterback Jared Goff finding Williams for a chunk gain on a intermediate crossing pattern out of play-action.

► There were some issues with butter fingers despite practicing indoors. Running back Godwin Igwebuike fumbled twice, with linebacker Jahlani Tavai punching the first one out. Additionally, quarterback Tim Boyle put two snaps on the ground.

► Goff had another big gain out of play-action, connecting with Williams about 40 yards down the middle of the field. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as pretty as it might sound. The ball came out wobbling and ended up underthrown of the intended target, forcing Williams to adjust and come back. Yes, he made the leaping grab, but it came against a pair of third-string defensive backs.

► In a seven-on-seven segment, safety Tracy Walker started off strong, breaking up a throw for Williams at the goal line, but that success was negated by allowing back-to-back touchdown grabs to tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Darren Fells.

► In the same practice segment, Boyle rifled a ball past the outstretched arms of Barnes to tight end Hunter Thedford, running along the back of the end zone.

► The team wasn’t in pads, but linebacker Romeo Okwara continues to show up as a pass-rusher. On a play-action rollout, he didn’t bite on the run fake and easily would have sacked Goff.

► Although he didn’t keep his footing on the pass rush, Austin Bryant looked nimble and quick with his execution of a spin move, providing a level of optimism he’s full strength heading into the preseason opener.

► Rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs closed out the day strong, winning both his blocking and coverage rep during a two-on-two punt return drill. He carried that momentum into the final team segment of the afternoon, shedding his blocker on the outside for a quick run stop.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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