The Detroit Lions were back at practice on Thursday as they prepare for their Week 16 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. There were not a lot of changes from yesterday, but the team was able to remove a couple of players from the reserve/COVID-19 list and took a few small positive steps with injuries.
Let’s take a look at the Lions’ official injury report for Thursday, noting that the new injuries, changes in status, and new reserve/COVID-19 additions are bolded.
- QB Jared Goff - added on December 20 — Mild symptoms and “feeling good”
- WR Quintez Cephus (injured reserve) - added on December 20
- OT Matt Nelson - added on December 20
- CB Chris Williamson (Practice Squad) - added on December 22
Goff remains out and with each passing day, it’s looking more and more like the Lions may be leaning on Tim Boyle under center.
“I’ll tell you, he looked good in practice,” offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said of Boyle on Thursday. “There was some concern the first time around because he was coming off that injury, but he’s had three good weeks of practice since then and I’m excited to see—if he’s the guy, I’m excited to see him play.”
Of note: The Lions announced Thursday afternoon that they have removed corners Corey Ballentine and Nickell Robey-Coleman from the reserve/COVID-19 list and they will rejoin the practice squad.
UPDATE: The Lions announced they added WR Trinity Benson to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Injured reserve updates
- DL Jashon Cornell (non-football illness) Day 16 of 21 day evaluation period
Nothing new to report at this time, a decision by next Tuesday is looming.
- LB Josh Woods (neck)
- CB Amani Oruwariye (thumb)
Woods was forced from Sunday’s game and is still unable to practice on Thursday, which is not a good sign for his availability this weekend. With Alex Anzalone being placed on injured reserve on Monday, the Lions will likely turn to Jalen Reeves-Maybin and rookie Derrick Barnes to start.
Oruwariye is fresh off yet another stellar game and had defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn singing his praises on Thursday, but a second missed practice is not a great sign for his availability. If he can’t play, that likely means safety Will Harris will start at outside corner yet again, and rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu will be promoted to the starting lineup on the outside. AJ Parker will man the slot per usual.
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder)
- WR Josh Reynolds (thigh)
- WR Kalif Raymond (shoulder)
- LG Jonah Jackson (back)
- DL Michael Brockers (knee)
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder)
- EDGE Julian Okwara (ankle) — upgraded from no practice on Wednesday
Swift is still working his way back from his shoulder injury, and as noted in yesterday’s injury report, they’re going to take it slow with him.
“It was good to see Jamaal (Williams) and Swift back on the practice field,” Lynn said. “Jamaal looked like himself and Swift is still—he increases his reps every day. So, we’ll see if he’ll be ready to go and if not, I think we have a pretty good stable of backs.”
Reynolds played through his injury last week, and a second day of limited work for him and Raymond seems to suggest both receivers are in a good spot right now, despite being limited.
Jackson getting in more work is an encouraging sign he will be able to star at left guard this week. Something Lynn believes will make a big impact on the offense.
“He’s been very valuable,” Lynn said of Jackson. “Just his whole mentality that he brings to the offensive line room. His mindset, he’s very aggressive and on game day, he plays very—I mean, he plays really aggressive. I don’t want to say dirty, but he plays really aggressive. He just brings that grit that you want in the offensive line. That’s part of his intangibles and his leadership... I mean, you look for that and that stuff is contagious to a football team.”
Brockers continues to see limited practices as he nurses a knee injury. This is standard business for the veteran, who should be in line to start again this week.
Reeves-Maybin continues to take his recovery slow, as he is expected to take on a large role for the remainder of the season and the Lions don’t want to push things too much. Looks for him to start and wear the green dot helmet (relaying defensive play calls).
Okwara was limited to running with the training staff yesterday, but he was finally able to get back in the mix today, for the first time in over two weeks. Charles Harris has been on a tear off of one of the EDGE spots, but the other could use a boost—and Okwara can help with that, even if it’s just in a pass-rushing role.