The Detroit Lions are gearing up to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10, and while Thursday’s practice was positive overall, they are still missing a key contributor on offense. Additionally, defensive lineman Jashon Cornell—who was listed as limited on Wednesday—was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list after yesterday’s report was published, and will not be on today’s update.
Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at the progress of the players on injured reserve who are designated to return and have begun practicing.
Returned to practice, Still on IR
- QB Tim Boyle (thumb on right hand) — Day 2 of the 21-day evaluation period
- CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (thigh) — Day 2 of the 21-day evaluation period
- NB/KR Corey Balentine (hamstring) — Day 2 of the 21-day evaluation period
Not much has changed from yesterday, all three players are on day two of their evaluation process and coaches have given no indication of when they will be ready to return.
Let’s take a closer look at the official injury report from Thursday. (Note: new changes are in bold)
- RB Jamaal Williams (thigh)
For the second day in a row, Williams has been unable to participate in practice beyond working off to the side with trainers. This doesn’t necessarily mean Williams won’t play on Sunday—getting some work in on Friday could go a long way—but things aren’t looking great at the moment. If Williams is unable to play, rookie Jermar Jefferson will likely be active and will split time behind D’Andre Swift with Godwin Igwebuike.
Limited at practice
- EDGE Austin Bryant (shoulder)
- K Austin Seibert (right hip)
Seibert was limited again on Thursday, and it’s becoming clear why the Lions have protected Ryan Santoso each week, as he is an incredibly valuable insurance option. But will they need Santoso this week or will Seibert be able to play?
“I’m not really sure, to be honest with you,” special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “We’ll kinda see how it feels today. (Seibert) kicked yesterday, felt alright. We’ll go out back there again, kick today. Obviously, if he can’t play, we do have Santoso (on the practice squad). So either way it goes, we’ll treat it kind of like every other player.”
- LT Taylor Decker (finger)
- CB AJ Parker (neck)
Decker got in a second full practice for the first time this season and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn is happy with his progress,
“I thought he (Decker) looked good yesterday,” Lynn said on Thursday. “I think today we’ll give him a little more work and see how he holds up. He hasn’t played football this year yet. I think that he can go in and maybe play all four quarters, may be a little aggressive. I’m hoping that he can get on the football field this weekend and help us.”
Getting Decker back would be a big boost for the offensive line and would allow the offense to open up a bit more.
“It would be awesome,” Lynn said of possibly getting Decker back this weekend. “I think he’s one of the best left tackles in the game if you ask me based on what I’ve seen so far. And to have him back on the field, that would help a lot. [...] I do believe he’ll hold up in protection, gives you a little more confidence to throw the ball down the field a little bit, but Decker is just as good in the run game. He is a big game, powerful man. So, with him and Jonah (Jackson) on the left side, if he can go this week, that would be great.”
Parker also appears to be trending in the right direction and his return to action would allow the Lions to go back to their base secondary—with Parker back at nickel, Will Harris could return to his safety position.