During his Monday afternoon press conference, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell indicated that two players who have been placed on reserve injury lists could return to practice this week: cornerback Jerry Jacobs (injured reserve) and rookie defensive lineman Josh Paschal (reserve/physically unable to perform).
“We’re talking about starting Jerry’s clock and Paschal potentially Wednesday,” Campbell said.
Jacobs suffered a torn ACL last December and has been working hard to get ready for the start of the season. The Lions contemplated activating him prior to Week 1, but ultimately decided they wanted to give him extra time to rehab and use the roster spot elsewhere. Jacobs was seen last week working hard with a trainer, indicating that his return was imminent.
When both he and Paschal return to practice, it opens a 21-day window (the “clock” Campbell is referencing) for the team to officially activate them to the 53-man roster. If they don’t activate the player in the 21-day window, they are out for the season. Activating them obviously requires a subsequent move to open up a roster spot. Before then, the players can practice without counting against the roster.
Where Jacobs fits in when activated should be interesting. He recently told reporters that the has been working increasingly more at the nickel position. Given that current starting nickel Mike Hughes has struggled through the first quarter of the season, he would be a welcomed help there. That said, the Lions haven’t played particularly well on the outside, either, as Amani Oruwariye hasn’t found his footing after suffering an early back injury.
As for Paschal, we have yet to see him on the practice field since offseason OTAs, where the rookie aggravated a groin injury from college that eventually required hernia surgery this spring. Detroit could use any and all help on their defensive front, as they have struggled in both run defense and pass rush wins.
Although these two may return to practice this week, don’t expect them to be fully activated and play this week against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Detroit typically gives these players a couple weeks of practice before playing.