Just two days before their big showdown with the Minnesota Vikings, the Detroit Lions made an interesting roster move. On Tuesday, the team waived defensive tackle Khyri Thornton. Detroit did not announce a corresponding move, meaning they now have a free spot on their roster.
The move comes after poor back-to-back performances from the Lions defensive line. Against the Browns and Bears, Detroit gave up an average of 211.5 rushing yards per game. The Lions have also struggled to generate any sort of consistent pass rush from both the interior or edges.
There was hope that Thornton could provide some help after he served his six-game suspension from a substance abuse policy violation. However, in four games this year, Thornton has just four total tackles. Last week against the Bears, Thornton barely saw the field (10 snaps), while A’Shawn Robinson and Akeem Spence saw career-highs in playing time.
So what are the Lions going to do with that extra roster spot? They now have just three defensive tackles on the roster, and it’s unlikely a guy off the street would be ready to go by Thursday, given they only have one practice to go. One potential option for the Lions would be to promote defensive tackle Christian Ringo from their own practice squad.
Ringo signed to the team’s practice squad back on September 14, after the Bengals waived him. He was a sixth-round pick in 2015 and made eight game appearances in 2016 with the Packers. In those games, he racked up two tackles and one forced fumble.
Considering Ringo has spent over two months on the practice squad, he certainly has enough familiarity with the defense at this point in the season. Has he impressed enough to earn a spot on the 53-man roster? Or will the Lions bring back a familiar name like George Johnson or Datone Jones? We’ll see.