As we reach the final days in the Detroit Lions’ 2020 season, three things seem to matter the most: the team’s general manager search, the team’s head coach search, and their draft position for the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, for the players and coaches currently on the team, none of that matters. Just about everyone is fighting for their future jobs or trying to build their resume, and that includes quarterback Matthew Stafford—whose future with the team will be speculated on for the next four months.
And while he has very little to prove on the field, he was quite clear on Monday morning: If he’s healthy enough to play, he’s going to be out there against the Minnesota Vikings.
“If I’m good, I want to be out there. I want to play,” Stafford said.
Stafford added to his injury list—which had already included partially torn ligaments in his hand and rib cartilage damage—after suffering a sprained ankle on the first drive of Saturday’s game against the Buccaneers. As of Monday afternoon, the Lions quarterback didn’t have much of an update on how he feels.
“(It’s) okay. I don’t know... banged up? Just okay. I’m working on it, trying to get it better.”
As always, Stafford’s availability will depend on doctors and what the coaches decide, but it didn’t sound like interim head coach Darrell Bevell was going to stand in his way.
“Obviously it will be health-based, we’re not going to put him out there if he can’t protect himself, or if he’s got a chance of something major happening from the injuries that he already has,” Bevell said. “But as I said, the guy’s tough as nails. The guy respects the game, he loves his teammates, he wants to be out there. Obviously he gives us the best opportunity to be able to win a game when he is out there.”
We’ll see just how far he’s progressed when the team’s first injury report of the week is due on Wednesday.
- The Lions have added more defensive back help to their practice squad, which may come in handy when drawing up some futures contracts next week:
The #Lions have signed DB Josh Hawkins to the practice squad and placed CB Alex Myres on Practice Squad/Injured Reserve.— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 29, 2020
- Speaking of future contracts, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News looked at the Lions’ 18 unrestricted free agents for 2021 and ranked them by who should come back (subscription required).
- The “DE” qualifier is doing some heavy lifting here (these rankings exclude outside linebackers), but these are still some impressive numbers from Romeo Okwara:
Among #NFL DEs this season, @Lions DE @RomeoND45 is top-5 in the following:— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) December 29, 2020
- 3rd-down strip sacks (1st)
- 3rd-down FFs (t-1st)
- Games with a TFL (t-1st)
- Games with a sack (t-2nd)
- Strip sacks (t-2nd)
- 3rd-down sacks (t-2nd)
- Sack yards (4th)
- Sacks (t-4th)
- FFs (t-5th) pic.twitter.com/DqKB8Mx0Ov
- Chris Burke of The Athletic ranked the Lions’ players under 25 years old to get a grasp of how their future looks. Click at your own peril (subscription required).
- Just a daily reminder that finding a franchise quarterback is hard:
First round QBs:— Danny Heifetz (@Danny_Heifetz) December 28, 2020
1. Jameis ❌
2. Mariota ❌
2. Trubisky ❌
12. Watson ✅
1. Baker ✅?
3. Darnold ❌ (for now)
7. Josh Allen ✅
10. Rosen ❌
32. Lamar ✅
1. Kyler ✅
6. Jones ❌
15. Haskins ❌
* Kizer, not Beathard, in 2017. The point obviously stands.— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) December 28, 2020
- The Washington Football Team waived Dwayne Haskins after some poor play on the field in Week 16 and some drama off it. He officially cleared waivers on Tuesday, and Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire talked about his potential fit in Detroit.
- Lions wide receiver coach Robert Prince showed his gratitude for the opportunity to be head coach for a game: