The Lions are without two of their top defensive talents early on in the season, and now they may be without a third key player.
Haloti Ngata left Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a shoulder issue and did not return to the game. Now reports are coming from several sources that defensive tackle Haloti Ngata could be missing two to three weeks. Ian Rapoport first reported the news that Ngata is undergoing tests on his shoulder, and not long after Michael Rothstein of ESPN confirmed the report of Ngata’s possible absence with his own sources.
#Lions DT Haloti Ngata, who left last game with a shoulder injury, is still undergoing tests. But the expectation is he’s out 2-3 weeks.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 12, 2016
The loss of Ngata along the defensive line would deprive the Lions of a much-needed playmaker and veteran talent, and further depreciate a defense that is already at the bottom of the league in advanced numbers (Detroit’s defense was 32nd overall in Football Outsider’s DVOA metric after Week 5). Ngata would join DeAndre Levy and Ezekiel Ansah among top defensive talent that would be on the sidelines waiting to return, although in the case of Ngata there would be a general timetable known for his return.
Ngata’s absence would probably be a sign that rookie defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson should expect to see more playing time, if not assume the starting tackle job. A’Shawn has been playing as part of the defensive tackle rotations up until this point.