It’s Week 6 in the NFL, but the Detroit Lions continue to execute the same strategy for protecting practice squad players that they have all season. This week, the Lions have elected to protect the maximum four players, and it’s the same four players that were protected last two weeks:
- Steven Montez, QB
- Bruce Hector, DL
- Jalen Elliott, S
- Ryan Santoso, K
Protecting Santoso despite Austin Seibert being removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list suggests the Lions kicker battle is not yet settled.
Last week, Seibert was three for three on field goal attempts, connecting from 39, 40, and 52 yards. In Weeks 1 and 2, Seibert went two of three, connecting from 43 and 49 yards, with his only miss on the season coming from 51 yards away. In Weeks 3 and 4, Santoso only attempted one field goal, from 35 yards, but he made it in a clutch situation.
Tim Boyle is still expected to be on IR a bit longer, and therefore Montez's run of being protected by the Lions continues. Until Boyle is healthy and cleared from IR, they will need him in order to assure they have three quarterbacks available.
Hector and Elliott continue to be protected as presumed value players because they stood out during training camp, but when the Lions needed depth at their positions, they signed Eric Banks (at defensive tackle) and Daryl Worley (a corner they converted to safety) suggesting Hector and Elliott may not be ready to contribute. If the Lions are playing the long game with the pair, they could be protected all season while coaches work on developing their skill sets for 2022.