The Detroit Lions announced on Saturday afternoon that they’ve elevated seven players from their practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos. Those players are:
- CB Corey Ballentine
- LB Curtis Bolton
- DT Bruce Hector
- RB Craig Reynolds
- CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
- TE Shane Zylstra
- CB Parnell Motley
During a normal week, teams are permitted to promote just two players from their practice squad for a game, but a new temporary rule in the age of COVID allows team to promote an unlimited amount of practice squad players if they are replacing someone who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. This week, the Lions placed six players on reserve/COVID—center Evan Brown, safety, running back Jamaal Williams, safety Tracy Walker and cornerbacks Ifeatu Melifonwu and Mark Gilbert—giving them six additional spots, or eight total, to fill temporarily with practice squad players. Motley is a standard elevation. The other six are COVID replacement elevations. All will revert to the practice squad after the game.
It’s no surprise that the Lions nearly all eight spots, seeing as they’re also dealing with a flu outbreak that has caused 12 players to be listed as questionable for Sunday.
The elevation of running back Craig Reynolds was an easy move for Detroit. With Williams out with COVID-19 and starter D’Andre Swift still recovering from a shoulder injury, Reynolds will join third and fourth stringers Godwin Igwebuike and Jermar Jefferson to roundout Detroit’s backfield.
The elevation of Shane Zylstra is to help Detroit’s thin tight end room. With T.J. Hockenson listed as doubtful with a hand injury, only undrafted rookie Brock Wright and fullback/tight end Jason Cabinda are left healthy. Zylstra, too, is an undrafted rookie who has not made an NFL appearance yet on offense.
Detroit’s addition of three cornerbacks—Ballentine, Motley and Robey-Coleman—comes as little surprise, too. With Melifonwu, Gilbert, Walker and Price currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Lions need all the help they can get in the secondary. With nickel options like Ballentine and Robey-Coleman available, don’t be surprised to see Will Harris back at safety this week.
In addition to these moves, the Lions also announced that practice squad linebacker Tavante Beckett has been placed on COVID-19/reserve for the practice squad, making him the seventh player to go on a COVID list for the Lions this week.