The Detroit Lions They released their injury designations in Week 12 for the Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Buffalo bills And they’ll be sans five players, including four starters, two on each side of the ball.
Note: Detailed practices are estimated levels of participation and are based on Lions coaches’ best guesses.
21-day evaluation hour
At the time of this posting, none of the players have been removed from the reserve list, which means that unless something changes in the next few hours, they will enter the next week into the evaluation phase.
- LG Jonah Jackson (concussion)
- RG Evan Brown (ankle)
- Edge Josh Paschal (knee)
- Edge Charles Harris (thigh)
- CB Jeff Okuda (concussion) – not expected to play
Losing both starting guards is very unfortunate, especially considering Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Tommy Kraemer are both on injured reserve, which means the Lions will be without their top four options at the position. As I wrote this week Honolulu Outline, the Lions would have to rely on “backups to guard their reserves”. Not great.
Dan Skipper turns into one of the open spots – as he did last week when the Browns were knocked out – and has the ability to play anywhere. Which side it lands on will most likely be determined by who starts on the other side. If the Lions decide to give Logan Stenberg a third shot, Skipper will probably line up at right guard. But if the Lions turn to Kayode Awosika, Skipper will probably start on the left side.
Paschal and Harris will miss their second consecutive game, meaning the Lions will turn to John Kominski to start from a closed end, in return. NFC Defensive Player of the Week Aidan Hutchinson. Austin Bryant will be called up for depth purposes. After missing three games as a healthy scratch, Bryant struggled in his return to action last week posting a PFF 32.9 overall.
Okudah’s absence isn’t clean to replace him, and the Lions will likely have to turn to three players – Gerry Jacobs, Mike Hughes and Amani Orwar – to fill the outside corner roles.
“I think you’re going to meet those three guys,” coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday. “I think there’s a good chance you’ll see all three of them. All hands on deck this week.”
Will Harris handled the nickel duties, but no matter how many times they were in the nickel collections, Harris probably never left the field, switching between inside and outside corner. Who starts and how much they play will likely be determined by how productive they are on the field, which is how that seems to be the case lately.
While the practices are only a guideline, it’s estimated that Reynolds has been given two limited-time practices this week, and it looks like he has a legitimate chance of getting back into the lineup on game day.
While Reynolds is headed in the right direction, it’s worth remembering that he looked like he might come back last week as well, but was eventually demoted to the outside before the game. So exercise some cautious optimism here.
Plus, as we saw with DJ Chark last week, even if he’s able to get back into the action of the game, he’ll likely slowly acclimate to his role. Last week, Chark only saw 11 takes, and if Reynolds returns, he could fall into a similar range.
Not included with injury set
- RB D’Andre Swift (ankle and shoulder)
- WR DJ Chark (Ankle) – Promoted
- C Frank Ragno (ft.) – Promoted
- LB Malcolm Rodriguez (elbow)
For the third week in a row, Swift entered the game without an injury selection. Picks and touches have slowly increased, and that seems to be the plan again this week. Expect Jamaal Williams to start, Swift to enter the game as an RB2, and if he struggles, Justin Jackson is available to take over the role.
As noted in the previous section, Chark’s role is expected to grow, and having full discretionary practice, as well as not incurring an injury rating certainly supports what Campbell indicated on Tuesday.
“I know (Shark) came out of the game feeling good,” Campbell said.
Ragneau has been nursing his foot injury all season and has had a relatively steady training schedule over the past several weeks. No practice to start the week, followed by limited, then full, and starting on game day. Ragnow is going out of his way this week with two new guards on either side of him, but he’s talented enough to make it work.
Rodriguez is still dealing with an elbow injury that required a brace — it’s not clear if he’s still wearing one, since the media wasn’t present at this week’s practice — and he’s seen his strike count drop slightly. Fortunately for the Lions, second-year player Derek Barnes has stepped up his place and has been playing his best as a pro lately. Look for Lions to continue taking things slow with their newbie and relying on Barnes again.
Billing injury labels
The Bills will lose two of their defensive players in LB Tremaine Edmunds and DE Greg Rousseau, while starting center Mitch Morse is listed as questionable, despite not having practiced all week.