On Wednesday, the Detroit Lions announced some bad news. Haloti Ngata was placed on injured reserve with a bicep injury, and even worse, the Detroit Free Press is reporting the injury will require surgery and almost certainly end his season.
The Lions defensive line hasn’t exactly been stellar through five games, but Ngata was a starter and had the most sacks among Lions defensive tackles (2.0). At 33 years old, Ngata was also the veteran leader on the line and easily the most experienced player on the defense.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
How big of a loss is Haloti Ngata?
My answer: Kind of big.
While Ngata is obviously no longer playing at his peak now that he’s in the 12th season of his career, he was still playing at an above average level. In fact, he was probably playing better than any other interior defensive lineman on the roster. Only A’Shawn Robinson has more tackles through five games, while Akeem Spence and Jeremiah Ledbetter each have just six tackles so far.
And that’s why I think it’s kind of a big deal the Lions lost Ngata. Detroit just doesn’t have much of any depth at the position now. This week the Lions added both Datone Jones and Caraun Reid to help a desperately thin unit. Jones, a former first-round pick, probably has the higher ceiling of the two, but he’ll have to be given time to adjust to Detroit’s defense, considering he’s spent his first four year in the NFL in a 3-4 system. Reid, on the other hand, is extremely familiar with the Lions’ scheme, but was cut by Detroit when they had a mediocre defensive line last year and he has been jobless since September.
So while the Ngata wasn’t at the peak of his career, the Lions were getting the best they could out of him, and any time you lose a starter—especially at such a thin position—it’s going to hurt.
How big of a loss is the Haloti Ngata injury?
This poll is closed
Kind of big
Not that big
Not big at all