Finally, some positive news on the Detroit Lions. On Saturday, the organization announced that they have activated nickelback AJ Parker from injured reserve, and removed cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, safety Tracy Walker and defensive back Bobby Price from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Interestingly, though, Walker has been added to the injury report and is listed as questionable with an illness. I’ll leave you to figure that one out.
Parker injured his ankle in Week 11 against the Browns and spent the last three weeks on injured reserve. On Monday, coach Dan Campbell announced Parker would be returning to practice this week, with the expectation that he would be activated ahead of this weekend’s game. His return to action could not come at a better time, as the Lions’ secondary has been hit by injury and a run of players designated as out by COVID-19 protocols.
Three of those players were Melifonwu, Walker, and Price, who landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week and were unable to play in Denver. Their activation is a huge boost to the Lions' secondary, as they were working with a bare-bones roster right now. It’s possible Melifonwu and Walker will be thrown right into the starting lineup, returning the Lions' secondary almost to full health... relatively speaking.
While the defensive back trio was removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list, five Lions still remain and appear unlikely to play in Sunday’s game, including:
- RB Jamaal Williams
- CB Mark Gilbert
- NB Corey Ballentine (practice squad) - added on Tuesday
- NB Robey-Coleman (practice squad) - added on Monday
- S Jalen Elliott — added on Thursday
They’re in good enough shape that they did not elevate any defensive backs from the practice squad this week.
However, they did add three players from other positions from the practice squad. Running back Craig Reynolds was elevated as a COVID-19 replacement and will get an opportunity to build on last week’s solid performance. Although, the Lions are expected to involve rookie running back Jermar Jefferson more this week.
Additionally, the Lions elevated linebacker Curtis Bolton and offensive tackle Dan Skipper from the practice squad. With both Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Alex Anzalone listed as questionable, the Lions could use the extra depth with Bolton active.
As for Skipper, the Lions like to keep eight offensive linemen active on gameday, so that they can expand their available roster from 46 to 48 players on Sunday. With Jonah Jackson and Will Holden listed as questionable, Skipper gives them the extra insurance to reach eight offensive linemen.