Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Haloti Ngata’s shoulder injury was fairly significant and could have him sidelined for at least 2-3 weeks. The injury puts another dent in an already patchworked defense line. However, going into the season we pointed out that defensive tackles may be one of the deepest positions on the team. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will take over starting duties for Ngata if he cannot play on Sunday?
My answer: The obvious answer is rookie A’Shawn Robinson. The big man has done some good things with his limited snaps so far, and you don’t draft a guy in the second round without the intention of playing him often.
However, I’m not so sure the Robinson gets handed the job. First, Robinson himself was limited in Wednesday’s practice with a shoulder injury of his own. While I doubt Robinson’s status for Sunday is truly up in the air, the Lions may want to limit the rookie’s snaps if he’s truly fighting an injury. Secondly, Robinson has not been playing that much so far this year. He’s only received 32.7 percent of snaps at defensive tackle. His usual linemate, Khyri Thornton, has seen the field slightly more often, playing 34.6 percent of snaps.
Robinson is the bigger lineman of the two and may be able to take over the run-stuffing duties that Ngata excels at, but his inexperience and health may keep him in a limited role this week.