The Detroit Lions have comfortably fallen into a rhythm of who they want to protect on the practice squad each week. After identifying key spots on the roster that are vulnerable due to lack of depth, the Lions invest in players with upside.
This week, per the NFL transaction report, the Lions have elected to protect the maximum four players, and it’s the same four players that were protected last week:
- Steven Montez, QB
- Bruce Hector, DL
- Jalen Elliott, S
- Ryan Santoso, K
Santoso was a COVID-19 roster elevation in Week 3, and with kicker Austin Seibert still on the reserve/COVID list, Santoso could be called up again in Week 4. If he is, that would be his second and final elevation of the season, meaning if they wanted to have him suit up on game day again, they would need to sign him to the active roster. There’s also a chance Santoso continues to perform well and simply “Wally Pipp’s” Seibert, stealing his job while he is on the shelf.
In Week 3, Santoso was only called on to kick two extra points and a 35-yard field goal, but he nailed the field goal in a clutch moment, which surely sits well with coaches. Additionally, he handled kickoffs well, as all four of his kicks were unreturnable, averaging 63.8 yards per attempt. For what it’s worth eight of Seibert’s 10 kickoffs have been returned and he has averaged 51.1 yards per attempt.
Tim Boyle is eligible to return from injured reserve but he is not expected to do so for several more weeks. Expect Montez to be protected by the Lions as long as Boyle is on IR, thus assuring that they will have three quarterbacks available to practice and potentially available for the game.
The Lions continue to see upside in Hector and Elliot and have protected them all season.