Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s squad is fortunate to have a healthy T.J. Lang returning from a concussion in Week 4 against the Cowboys, but the loss of running back Theo Riddick after some missed practices reduces options in crucial third down situations. Riddick is obviously an amazing receiving threat, but our John Whiticar reminded the rest of the staff that he is also the best pass protector in the Detroit backfield.
The Dolphins expect to get starting cornerback Bobby McCain and Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake back on the field for Sunday’s contest against the Lions, so this will not be the same unit that gave Mitchell Trubisky ample time in a clean pocket to look like a legitimate quarterback. This means keeping Matthew Stafford upright to buy time for receivers to get open against good coverage could be a tough challenge in the Miami heat.
Other notable items on offense for the final injury report of the week are that tight end Michael Roberts is ready to go, as is running back Kerryon Johnson. After a full week of rest, the rookie sensation is back from tweaking his ankle against Green Bay. Both Lang and Roberts were full participants at practice on Thursday and Friday despite being listed on the final injury report, and should be available to play on game day.
On the other side of the ball, lingering pain in Ryan Tannehill’s throwing shoulder from an injury against the Bengals earlier in the season means Brocktober rolls on. Pride of Detroit’s Justin Simon thinks Osweiler is the weakest link of the Dolphins offense due to his inability to get the ball down the field consistently. Per Windy City Gridiron’s Robert Zeglinski, “280 of (Osweiler’s 380) passing yards came after the catch with the Bears defense missing 19 tackles as a team.”
That means defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni’s favorite points of emphasis will be the focus against Miami. Stop Frank Gore. Prevent big plays by tackling Albert Wilson right away. Take away Osweiler’s easy reads and make him uncomfortable. The one mystery on Detroit’s injury report is intricately tied to these paths to success: Ezekiel Ansah. The fact that Ziggy has been limited but available all week does not really provide much information:
- Limited and questionable leading up to Week 2 on the road at the 49ers - Inactive
- Limited and questionable at home in Week 3 against the Patriots - Inactive
- No practice and an early out in the Week 4 loss to the Cowboys - Inactive
- Limited but again an early out for the Week 5 win over the Packers - Inactive
- Limited in practice all week heading into the post-bye Week 7 game with the Dolphins
Our Jeremy Reisman has this as a key match-up to watch for Pasqualoni’s unit: “Ansah has now had a full month to recover from his shoulder injury, and it seems logical this would be the week he returns. However, he remains limited in practice, so who knows?” Thankfully for the purposes of crashing Brocktoberfest the defensive front once again has the services of Eli Harold (3.0 sacks in four games so far) — but it sure would be nice to get Ziggy back, too.
The Lions are in surprisingly good health on the back end despite the loss of Jamal Agnew to injured reserve. Both cornerback Teez Tabor (groin injury against the Packers) and veteran safety Tavon Wilson (inactive against the Packers) were full participants all week at practice. Any inactives for the secondary on Sunday will likely be at the discretion of the coaching staff and not due to injuries.
Lions Friday injury report
RB Theo Riddick (knee) - no practice (OUT)
DE Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) - Limited practice (questionable)
G T.J. Lang (concussion) - Full practice (questionable)
TE Michael Roberts (knee) - Full practice (questionable)
RB Kerryon Johnson (ankle) - Full practice
CB Teez Tabor (groin) - Full practice
S Tavon Wilson (back) - Full practice
Dolphins injury report
DE Charles Harris (calf) - No practice (OUT)
QB Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) - Limited practice (OUT)
DE Jonathan Woodard (concussion) - No practice (OUT)
TE A.J. Derby (foot) - Limited practice (questionable)
CB Bobby McCain (knee) - Full practice (questionable)
S T.J. McDonald (knee) - Full practice (questionable)
WR DeVante Parker (quad) - Full practice (questionable)
DE Cameron Wake (knee) - Full practice (questionable)
WR Danny Amendola (not injury related) - Full practice
DE Andre Branch (knee) - Full practice
OT Jesse Davis (elbow) - Full practice
RB Frank Gore (not injury related) - Full practice
WR Jakeem Grant (shoulder) - Full practice
S Reshad Jones (shoulder) - Full practice
Update : Ansah was ruled out for Week 7 against Miami after the Friday report.