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Lions make changes to protected practice squad in Week 11

With Ryan Santoso released, another player steps into his spot.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Washington Football Team Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After protecting the same four players on the practice squad for most of the season, the Detroit Lions have made a change for the second week in a row.

Last week, the Lions needed to find a replacement after signing Jalen Elliott to the active roster and added tight end Shayne Zylstra to the list. This week, with kicker Ryan Santoso released on Tuesday, the Lions needed to make another decision, and they turned to their newly signed practice squad kicker, Aldrick Rosas.

Here is who the Lions elected to protect in Week 11:

  • Steven Montez, quarterback
  • Bruce Hector, defensive lineman
  • Shayne Zylstra, tight end
  • Aldrick Rosas, kicker

Montez and Hector have been protected every week this season, so it’s no surprise they are protected again.

Montez has gotten the nod with backup quarterback Tim Boyle on injured reserve with a broken right thumb. But last week Boyle returned to practice and is progressing through his 21-day evaluation clock. Once he is activated, it will be interesting to see if the Lions continue to protect Montez.

Hector has been protected since a terrific preseason and the staff appears to see a future for him despite sporting a plethora of talent along the defensive line. With Da’Shawn Hand in a contract year and Kevin Strong a restricted free agent in 2022, Hector could give them some offseason insurance if he is offered a futures deal—which appears to be the direction he is headed.

Zylstra was protected for the first time last week, after the Lions waived Darren Fells, and signed Brock Wright to the 53-man roster. With only two tight ends on the active roster (Wright and T.J. Hockenson), protecting Zylstra makes sense as he is the defacto TE3 at this time.

Protecting Rosas follows the Lions’ previous strategy of securing an insurance option at the kicker position. Rosas has been in the league since 2016 and actually made a Pro Bowl in 2018, but he has struggled with accuracy since. In his most recent experience with the Saints, he converted on all 13 extra points but was just one of four on field goal attempts over four games.