Because they play on Thursday in Week 12, the Detroit Lions ran walkthroughs on Monday and Tuesday as they prepare to face the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. With only walkthroughs on the books this week, all injuries are projections, estimated by the coaching staff.
With the Lions’ quarterback spot unsettled at the moment, let’s get an update on the injury status of Jared Goff.
Jared Goff believes he will be “a game-day decision”
Last Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter called it “unlikely” for Goff to play this week, but after getting an opportunity to practice two days in a row—even limited to walkthroughs—things are trending up that he will start this Thursday.
“I thought he was better today,” coach Dan Campbell said at his Tuesday press conference. “I think it’s leaning that way, to Goff (starting). We’ll see.”
Coach's update on Jared Goff's status for Thursday. pic.twitter.com/PnWtw8iNE9— Detroit Lions (@Lions) November 23, 2021
“I feel good, better every day,” Goff told the media on Tuesday. “We will see. I don’t know what (Campbell) has said (to the media) but I would probably categorize it as a game-day decision. I feel really good though.”
Let’s take a look at the Lions’ official injury report from Tuesday, noting that any projected changes from yesterday’s report are bolded.
Estimated to have not practiced
- RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (concussion)
- OL Matt Nelson (ankle)
- EDGE Trey Flowers (knee)
- NB A.J. Parker (ankle)
- WR Trinity Benson (knee) — downgraded from limited on Monday
- DL Da’Shawn Hand (groin) — placed on injured reserve
Vaitai and Nelson would not have participated on Monday or Tuesday in regular practices, and their status for Thursday is very much in doubt. Vaitai’s chances of passing the league’s concussion protocols are slim at this stage and Nelson has not practiced in two weeks. With Vaitai and Nelson likely to miss the game and reserve Logan Stenberg on injured reserve, the Lions signed offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer off the practice squad. Kraemer will likely start at right guard on Thanksgiving.
To take things a step further, if the Lions want to have eight offensive linemen active so they can take advantage of the game day roster expansion rule, they need to sign/elevate another offensive lineman to reach the minimum. Just adding Kraemer will not get them there, so line depth remains something to watch leading up to Thursday.
Like Nelson, Flowers has also not practiced in two weeks. If he misses the game, Austin Bryant would likely fill in at SAM, with a healthy dose of Julian Okwara.
Parker’s starting nickel role could be up for grabs. The last time Parker missed a game, safety Will Harris filled in at nickel, with Dean Marlowe and Jalen Elliott filling in at safety when Harris shifted around.
Hand lands on injured reserve for the second time this season, and the fifth time in his four-year career. Since this is the last year of his contract, it’s fair to speculate if his days in Detroit are over.
Estimated to have had a limited practice
- QB Jared Goff (oblique)
- RB Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle)
- DL Michael Brockers (knee) — not listed on Monday's report
Jefferson continues to trend in the right direction, but this is a short week and the team has three other healthy running backs on the roster. It’s possible the Lions may give him more time to rest and target a Week 13 return to action.
Brockers was not listed on Monday's report, but with both practices being estimates, this isn’t as worrisome as if he’d injured his knee on a day with an actual full workload. That being said, if he tweaked it during the week, having less time to recover for a Thursday game could be a problem.
Estimated to have practiced in full
No one is currently listed in this section.