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Tuesday open thread: Which injured Lions player does Detroit need the most?

Which currently-injured Detroit Lions player would help the team the most upon return?

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The bye week is a week for healing, and no team needs it more than the Detroit Lions. Currently, the Lions have five players on injured reserve, one on non-football injury reserve, four on physically unable to perform reserve—to go along with five players who were ruled out of Sunday’s game with an injury and the handful of players who left Sunday’s game with a new injury.

The Lions are 1-4, beat up, and desperate for healthy bodies. It may not be enough to turn the season completely around, but Detroit could certainly use some help from these reinforcements to turn the 2022 season into a respectable season and play with a little more competitiveness than they did against the Patriots.

Here’s a list of players who are currently injured or limited by an injury:

  • Quintez Cephus (IR)
  • Tommy Kraemer (IR)
  • Levi Onwuzurike (IR)
  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai (IR)
  • Tracy Walker (IR)
  • Jameson Williams (NFI)
  • Jason Cabinda (PUP)
  • Jerry Jacobs (PUP)
  • Romeo Okwara (PUP)
  • Josh Paschal (PUP)
  • DJ Chark (ankle, out)
  • John Cominsky (wrist, out)
  • Charles Harris (groin, out)
  • Matt Nelson (calf, out)
  • D’Andre Swift (calf, out)
  • Saivion Smith (concussion protocol)
  • Will Harris (groin, left game)
  • Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle, left game)

And that’s not really including players like Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Frank Ragnow, and Evan Brown who are fighting through injuries that are clearly limiting them on the field.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Which injured Lions player does the team need back the most?

My answer: For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to limit my choices to players who have missed a minimum of two games and have a realistic shot of coming back. So that takes Tracy Walker off the list, even though he is clearly someone the team is missing right now.

My first inclination is to pick Romeo Okwara. This team is in desperate need of some pass rush, and Okwara is the only player on the roster who has ever produced 10 sacks in a season on the team. However, the problem is that he would overlap with Charles Harris and wouldn’t really free up Aidan Hutchinson from the big defensive end position—which is clearly what the Lions want to do right now.

So that’s why my answer is Josh Paschal and/or John Cominsky. We saw the Lions have a lot more efficient pass rush with Cominsky in the lineup, and Paschal will likely serve an identical role. Getting both back—and it seems like both are on the verge of returning soon—allows the Lions to move around their defensive line parts and scheme up plays to get their best pass rushers into one-on-one matchups.

Will that completely transform the Lions defense? Probably not. Will it make a noticeable difference? I think so.

Your turn.

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