The Detroit Lions announced two roster moves ahead of their Week 16 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, elevating safety Brady Breeze and tight end Garrett Griffin from the practice squad to the game-day roster. This is the first elevation for either player during the 2022 season.
Starting safety DeShon Elliott injured his shoulder against the New York Jets in Week 15, was unable to practice this week, and was ruled out on Thursday. His absence left the Lions with just three safeties on the active roster, rookie starter Kerby Joseph, special teams ace C.J. Moore, and converted corner Ifeatu Melifonwu, who has not played safety much, if at all, this season.
While Moore was the in-game replacement for Elliott last week, head coach Dan Campbell said on Thursday, that the plan was for both Moore and Melifonwu to see the field.
“(Melifonwu) is going to get some plays. He’s going to play a little bit. That’s for sure,” Campbell said. “As will C.J. and of course Kerby (Joseph) will be there on the other side.”
Breeze likely won’t see the field on defense much with the above three players ahead of him on the depth chart, but he will surely see time on special teams and will provide insurance against further injury.
Griffin’s elevation is not as clearly defined on the surface because all three of the tight ends on the active roster are healthy and have been regular contributors. That being said, Griffin is an excellent blocker and has been used as an H-back in the past, making him a natural replacement for Jason Cabinda who was ruled out due to an illness. Look for Griffin to fill in on offense when a fullback/H-back is required, as well as contributing on special teams.
“Yeah, I mean. I like Garrett a lot,” tight ends coach Tanner Engstrand said of Griffin during training camp. “He’s done a great job at that position and filling that role. He has a natural feel for that on some of those wide zone plays where he might be inserting on somebody or getting up to a safety. He does that really, really well. I feel very comfortable with him in that role.”