After making changes to the protected practice squad each of the last two weeks, the Detroit Lions stood pat in Week 12, protecting the same four practice squad players.
Here is who the Lions elected to protect in Week 12:
- Steven Montez, quarterback
- Bruce Hector, defensive lineman
- Shayne Zylstra, tight end
- Aldrick Rosas, kicker
With Tim Boyle healthy and off injured reserve, it wasn't clear if the Lions would continue to protect Montez as QB4 on the roster. But with starter Jared Goff dealing with an oblique injury, Montez gets protected for another week. If Montez continues to prove himself a valuable player on the scout team, and with the importance of the quarterback position being what it is in the NFL, he could very well stay protected through the remainder of the season.
With Kevin Strong being released over the weekend—he subsequently signed to the Tennessee Titans practice squad—Da’Shawn Hand landing on injured reserve for the fifth time in four seasons, and Jashon Cornell still on reserve/non-football illness list, Hector suddenly finds himself as DL6 on the roster—a spot worthy of protection.
Zylstra technically remains TE4—if you consider the fact that superback Jason Cabinda has spent quite a bit of time in an H-back role—but as one of the top three pure tight ends, he could be called up if an injury occurs to T.J. Hockenson or rookie Brock Wright. Tight end is a thin position the Lions have felt the need to protect since releasing Darren Fells.
Rosas was elevated to the active roster for last week's game after presumably outperforming Riley Patterson in the Lions' weekly kicking competition. He connected on both his kicks—a field goal and an extra point—and converted three kickoffs without error. The kicker position will be protected as long as the Lions continue to prioritize holding kicking competitions during the week, and if Rosas continues winning those competitions, he may find himself on the active roster.