In Week 2, Skipper was brought up from the practice squad and started at left guard in place of injured Pro Bowler Jonah Jackson. Skipper was the belle of the ball against the Washington Commanders, clearing holes in the running game—earning a 70.4 run blocking grade from PFF—and garnering praise from coach Dan Campbell in the locker room after the game. With Jackson still unable to play, Skipper has been elevated once again and is expected to start at left guard against the Vikings.
At 6-foot-10, Skipper is a natural offensive tackle and hadn’t played guard during live action since his early college days, but he was effective in Week 2, primarily because of what the Lions ask their guards to do: maul people.
Skipper is inherently aggressive on the football field, and the Lions want to harness that aggression on the interior in their gap scheme. This is also why Logan Stenberg has fit in so well as a replacement at right guard, and why he and Skipper will likely get the nod over Evan Brown, who is arguably a more balanced blocking lineman. The Lions are willing to sacrifice some balance in order to dominate on the ground because it is such an important factor in their offense.
Pittman offers the team depth at linebacker but he is more impactful as a starting special teams player. He plays on all four phases of special teams, and because of that, has been elevated for every Lions game this season.
Practice squad players are only allowed three elevations per season. After that, a team must sign a player to the active roster if they want them to play in another game. For Skipper, this is his second elevation, but for Pittman, this represents his third and final elevation of the season. Therefore, if the Lions want Pittman to suit up again after Week 3, they would need to sign him to the 53-man roster.
The Lions also provided an update on safety Tracy Walker, who has spent the last few days with his wife as she gave birth to their child. Walker will travel separately from the team, but is expected to play:
Lions S Tracy Walker (not injury related) will travel to Minnesota today separately from the team. There is no change to the Game Status Report regarding his availability for Sunday’s game vs. the Vikings.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 24, 2022