The Detroit Lions faced a ton of injuries on Sunday. It appears they lost Ezekiel Ansah and Ameer Abdullah for some time with leg injuries. However, not much is know about the statuses of linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Antwione Williams.
In an effort to get prepared for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, the Lions are looking all over the league for insurance plans in case these injuries don’t heal up quick enough.
First, the Lions hosted wide receiver Aaron Dobson. Dobson spent three years with the New England Patriots, tallying 53 catches for 698 yards and four touchdowns over that span. Rand Getlin is reporting that the Lions will be signing Dobson to the active roster. Justin Rogers confirms this report.
Dobson was strictly an outside receiver in New England and that role isn’t likely to change now that he’s followed Bob Quinn over to Detroit. As of now, the Lions have not announced a corresponding move—nor have they confirmed the Dobson signing—but you have to wonder if this spells the end of Andre Roberts, who hasn’t contributed much of anything on offense and hasn’t flashed as the team’s kick and punt returner. However, Dobson doesn’t have returning experience, so the Lions would have to turn to someone else there. Or the Lions could simply be adding a fifth receiver to the 53-man roster.
In addition to adding Dobson, the Lions hosted several players at different positions. Most notably, Joique Bell was back in Allen Park, perhaps to serve as insurance depending on how Abdullah’s doctor visit goes on Tuesday. Back in July, we wrote about why it made sense for the Lions to re-sign Joique Bell. However, according to Justin Rogers, no signing is imminent:
I can confirm Aaron Dobson is signing with the Lions. Joique Bell's workout didn't amount to an offer at this time.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) September 20, 2016
The Lions also tried out four different linebackers on Tuesday, according to Adam Caplan:
Also working out for #Lions: LBs Joplo Bartu, James-Michael Johnson, Zaviar Gooden, Jamari Lattimore.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 20, 2016
Zaviar Gooden and James-Michael Johnson have previously spent time on the Lions roster. Gooden was part of the 2016 90-man roster after signing with the team in the offseason, but was waived on cut day. Johnson spent just 10 days on the roster last year during a span in November.
As for the other two, Joplo Bartu has been in the league since 2013. He started 27 games in his first two years with the Falcons, amassing 167 tackles along the way. However, he was delegated to backup duties the next season and was waived in the middle of 2015. The Jaguars snagged him up, but he did not contribute much in the three game appearances he made in Jacksonville.
Jamari Lattimore is a five-year veteran who mostly played backup duty for the Packers throughout his career. In his four year in Green Bay, he totaled 85 tackles and two sacks. Since 2015, he’s jumped from the Jets to the Bills. Buffalo released him on September 4.
Though the Lions have yet to announce any official signings, it seems likely the Lions will add Dobson and at least one linebacker to the roster this week.
UPDATE: Dave Birkett is reporting that the Lions will be adding Gooden to the practice squad. This means one of the 10 players currently listed on the squad will have to go. Here’s a look at who is currently on it:
- WR Jace Billingsley
- CB Alex Carter
- OL Chase Farris
- WR Isaac Fruechte
- WR TJ Jones
- TE Brian Leonhardt
- LB Steve Longa
- QB Jake Rudock
- G Brandon Thomas
- CB Charles Washington