The Detroit Lions finally got some good injury news on Wednesday as Darius Slay and Travis Swanson returned to practice. Both only practiced in a limited capacity, so neither are guaranteed to play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
That being said, this is a positive development for the Lions, who have missed Swanson’s ability to man the center of the offensive line and Slay’s coverage skills against the opponents’ top receivers. If they could just get one of those players back this week, it would certainly give them a better shot to upset the Packers in the regular season finale.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Whose return is more important for the Lions: Darius Slay or Travis Swanson?
My answer: Darius Slay. With or without Swanson, I think the Lions match up fairly well against a subpar Packers defense. But with Aaron Rodgers playing some of the best football of his entire career, Detroit needs all hands on deck to try and slow the All Pro down. The Lions have clearly missed Slay over the past two weeks as Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant destroyed the Lions secondary. Slay’s return would not only improve the Lions’ No. 1 cornerback position, but it would slide Nevin Lawson to the No. 2 position, where his talent level matches up much more evenly. It would also likely bump Johnson Bademosi back into a special teams only role, where he belongs.
While Swanson’s return would also have a similar chain reaction—rookie Graham Glasgow would finally move back to guard and put an end to the horrible Laken Tomlinson/Joe Dahl rotation—the Lions have managed to get along okay without Swanson. Detroit has been able to move the ball offensively over the past three weeks, but just hasn’t put the ball in the endzone. Swanson could help there, but Slay’s return is much more urgent against the Packers.