The Detroit Lions have declared their Week 11 injury designations for their Sunday matchup against the Cleveland Browns. They have ruled out three players, including starter Trey Flowers (EDGE), and listed Jared Goff (quarterback) as doubtful.
Jared Goff listed as doubtful, Tim Boyle preparing to start
After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, coach Dan Campbell said Goff was feeling better on Friday and the plan was to test out how much his injury was impacting his throwing motion.
“He’ll throw today, just see where he’s at,” Campbell said. “Until we know more from there, we’re planning on (Tim) Boyle and then certainly (David) Blough is ready.”
The Detroit media has limited access to the early portions of practices, and our own Jeremy Reisman was in attendance. He reported that, “Jared Goff’s throw session prior to practice apparently did not go well, because the Lions quarterback was not suited up to practice on Friday. It appears very unlikely he plays.”
Boyle is still technically on injured reserve, but all indications are that he will be activated to the 53-man roster in roughly the next 24 hours and start against the Browns.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Boyle could handle “all of the playbook” and the team would be able to operate their game plan without issue. Lynn would go on to say that Boyle was “a pretty sharp kid”, who has been mentally focused on what the Lions have been doing, and coaches had “full confidence in him that he gets the job done.”
Boyle met with the media on Friday.
“Yeah, opportunities especially in the NFL come very few times, unfortunately, but that’s the beauty of the NFL, it’s so competitive,” Boyle said. “It’s been a long journey. Just kind of reminiscing on my story, starting football when I was six years old and here I am as a 27 year old and still blessed to have this opportunity. So it really is, it’s about preparation and always staying ready so yeah, I’ll be ready to go.”
- RB Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle)
- OL Matt Nelson (ankle)
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
Jefferson was active the previous two games and scored a touchdown in each. Fortunately for the Lions, Jamaal Williams is set to return and re-assume RB2 duties, which should allow the Lions to take their time and let their rookie running back heal properly.
Nelson injured his ankle during last Sunday’s game, missed practice on Wednesday, returned to a limited practice on Thursday, then was downgraded to no practice on Friday. It’s likely something happened on Thursday that the Lions were concerned about, because later that day they released CB Parnell Motley from the practice squad and worked out a deal with offensive tackle Dan Skipper to join the practice squad, which was announced early Friday morning. Look for Will Holden or Skipper (if elevated for the game) to fill Nelson’s OT3 and sixth offensive lineman role.
Flowers injured his knee last weekend, exited the game, but returned and recovered a fumble in overtime. Unfortunately, he has been unable to practice since and won’t be available this Sunday. Look for Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant to split reps opposite Charles Harris—who has been starting for the injured Romeo Okwara most of the season.
- RB Jamaal Williams (thigh)
- WR Trinity Benson (knee)
- LT Taylor Decker (elbow)
- SAF Tracy Walker (concussion)
Williams missed the last two games but is expected to play this week, which is good news with Jefferson on the shelf. Godwin Igwebuike will assume RB3 duties.
Benson was not on the injury report on Wednesday or Thursday, but showed up limited on Friday. Mid-week injuries are typically not good for a players availability, but being listed as questionable leaves the door open for him to find the field. Benson starter last week and it’s very possible the Lions will turn to newly acquired Josh Reynolds to start.
Decker missed practice on Thursday, but was back on the practice field on Friday and is expected to start at left tackle on Sunday.
“I think he’s good,” Campbell said of Decker’s injury. “I think it was not as bad as we thought it could be. I think we are fine. I think he’s going to be good to go. Look, he’s tough, man. So, he’s going to handle this well. He got it checked out and should be good.”
Walker got in a full practice on Friday and asl long as he is cleared by an independent doctor—the final step in the league’s concussion protocol—he will be ready to start against the Browns.
Not listed with an injury designation
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder)
- EDGE Austin Bryant (shoulder)
- CB Jerry Jacobs (groin)
- CB Mark Gilbert (illness)
- CB/Ret Corey Ballentine (hamstring)
Swift was limited Wednesday and Thursday this week as he recovered from a heavier workload against the Steelers, but he got in a full practice on Friday and is ready to start this Sunday.
Bryant was limited all last week and eventually missed the game against the Steelers. He started the week limited again, but got in two full practices and will be an important depth player with Flowers ruled out.
Jacobs has practiced in full all week and is in line to continue starting at outside corner.
Gilbert missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but was back at practice on Friday and appears ready to go. He will be a reserve option, and likely CB3 on the outside, against the Browns.
Corey Balentine was removed from injured reserve and placed on the active roster on Thursday and got in a full practice on Friday. The cornerback/return man will have a chance to jump right back into the mix on Sunday, potentially providing depth at corner and pushing current return man Godwin Igwebuike.
Returned to practice, Still on IR
- QB Tim Boyle (thumb on right hand) — Day 10 of the 21-day evaluation period
- CB Ifeatu Melifonwu (thigh) — Day 10 of the 21-day evaluation period
As noted earlier, Boyle is expected to be activated either Friday or Saturday, and start on Sunday.
Melifonwu’s status is less clear and their have been no updates on when he will return to action. The Lions will have until the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 30) to make a decision on if they will activate him to the 53-man roster or return him to injured reserve, thus ending his season.