Just when you thought the Detroit Lions defense couldn’t get more decimated, the bad news keeps coming. Not only is rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah reportedly undergoing season-ending surgery, but defensive end Everson Griffen has now been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning he will not play Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Per NFL policy, the Lions cannot reveal whether Griffen has tested positive for the virus or if he has come into close contact with someone who has tested positive. Either way, Griffen will not play, leaving the Lions severely shorthanded on a defensive line that will already be missing Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton and possibly even Da’Shawn Hand or John Penisini, both of whom are listed as questionable for Sunday.
To help with some reinforcements, the Lions elevated three players from the practice squad on Saturday: defensive end Kareem Martin, offensive tackle Dan Skipper and safety Bobby Price.
Kareem Martin has quietly spent three months on the Lions’ practice squad without being called up to the 53-man roster. A six-year NFL veteran, Martin has spent time on the Cardinals and Giants before making his way to Detroit in September. He’s started in 21 career games and played in 77 contests, amassing 5.0 sacks, 105 tackles and 18 quarterback hits in his career. At 6-foot-6, 262, Martin certainly fits the bill of the kind of tall, long-armed defensive ends the Lions have shown a liking to over the past few years.
As for Dan Skipper, his elevation is undoubtedly to help the Lions have some depth on game day at offensive tackle. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is already on injured reserve, while backup Tyrell Crosby has been declared out this week. Matt Nelson is expected to start at right tackle, with Skipper being the team’s backup for either tackle spot now.
As for Bobby Price’s elevation, that may be bad news for C.J. Moore, who is listed as questionable. Both players are special teamers, and if the Lions are calling up Price, it probably means Moore needs another week to get fully healthy.
For roster move clarity, both Kareem Martin and Dan Skipper will revert back to the practice squad after Sunday’s game against the Packers. They will not be subject to waivers. As for Bobby Price, he takes up a temporary spot on the roster as a reserve/COVID-19 replacement for Griffen.