Without a doubt, Detroit Lions rookie safety Kerby Joseph was the player of the game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Joseph tallied two interceptions to go along with an impressive pass defensed and 10 tackles to help propel the Lions to a big 15-9 upset over their division rivals.
Unfortunately, Joseph’s day ended early after he collided with teammate Jeff Okudah on a fourth-quarter play in which Joseph’s head snapped back. Both players immediately went into the locker room, and while Okudah returned, Joseph did not. After the game, coach Dan Campbell confirmed that Joseph was in concussion protocol.
But on Monday, Campbell seemed optimistic about Joseph’s ability to clear the protocol before Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
“We’re early in the process. We’re certainly hopeful,” Campbell said. “I feel like he falls into the same category as (Amon-Ra) Saint (Brown) and Brock Wright have over the last two weeks.”
St. Brown and Wright were placed into concussion protocol in the past two weeks and both did not end up missing the next game after clearing through protocols throughout the week. We’ll see how the week progresses for Joseph, but the general pattern for Brock and St. Brown was no or limited practice on Wednesday, one practice with the red no-contact jersey, and a “full” practice on Friday.
It’s worth noting that our own Erik Schlitt saw Joseph in the locker room celebrating with his teammates after the game, and he appeared to be in good spirits on social media:
The immediate future of linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is a little less clear. The rookie defender suffered an arm injury early in Sunday’s game, and while he initially came back into the game, Campbell said he aggravated the injury and they are running tests this afternoon.
“We’re finding that out right now,” Campbell said of Rodriguez’s current status. “He was able to come back in and do a little bit, but I know he irritated it a little. We’ll see where he feels over the next few days.”
He later added that he was “not sure” if Rodriguez would miss any time.
If Rodriguez can’t go, the Lions will likely turn to second-year linebacker Derrick Barnes to start alongside Alex Anzalone. On Monday, Campbell praised the play of Barnes, who stepped in for Rodriguez on Sunday and finished the game with a team-high 12 tackles.
“By far, by far that was his best performance,” Campbell said. “I thought he played well last night. You go back and watch the tape, it was even better than that. So, he played well. He’s continuing to improve every week, and he really stepped up. And really, he and Kerby had two of the best performances on defense yesterday.”