The Detroit Lions have declared their inactives ahead of the Week 6 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and after four players were ruled out on Friday, along with reports from earlier in the day suggesting Sam LaPorta would play, there weren’t many surprises.
The Lions entered the week with a full 53-man roster and made a few roster moves ahead of this game. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and running back Zonovan Knight were placed on injured reserve, and in corresponding moves, the Lions activated cornerback/kick returner Khalil Dorsey from injured reserve and signed offensive lineman Dan Skipper to the active roster. Additionally, the Lions elevated running back Devine Ozigbo from the practice squad for this game.
In the end, these moves bring the Lions game-day roster total up to 54 players.
Because the Lions have eight offensive linemen active for Sunday’s game, they are eligible to expand their game-day eligibility roster from 47 to 48 players. Therefore, with 54 players on the game-day roster and 48 eligible to play, the Lions need to declare six players inactive for today’s matchup.
- RB Jahmyr Gibbs (hamstring) — Ruled OUT
- TE James Mitchell (hamstring) — Ruled OUT
- LG Jonah Jackson (ankle) — Ruled OUT
- DB Brian Branch (ankle) — Ruled OUT
- DT Brodric Martin
- CB Steven Gilmore
Gibbs will miss his second straight game, but he has been getting in work with trainers during practices, which is typically a sign he is close to returning. Look for Craig Reynolds to step in as the primary reserve, and Ozigbo to act as RB3.
Mitchell will also miss his second game, and the team will most likely turn to Darrell Daniels for TE3 snaps, in addition to his fullback/H-back role.
Jackson missing this game is disappointing, and while it’s unclear who will replace him as the team's starting left guard, it’s not because the team is void of options. In fact, they have four players who can step in, three of them with starting guard experience—Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Kayode Awosika, and Skipper—as well as rookie Colby Sorsdal.
Branch is also missing his second game, and it is anticipated that he will be replaced by Will Harris in the slot, just like they did last week.
Martin is a healthy scratch for the sixth week in a row, and when defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn was asked what the third-round pick needed to do to get on the field, he identified the areas Martin needs to improve.
“Lateral agility for one, and he’s working after practice on that like every day,” Glenn noted. “Alright, that’s the first thing, the second thing is hand placement. That’s something that’s been different for him on where he’s putting his hands. And just understanding exactly the way that we play defense.”
While there are several things for Martin to work on, Glenn also said he really likes where Martin is at.
“I like where he’s at and I like how he’s improving,” Glenn said. “And that’s what we talk about with that player all the time, as far as his awareness, as far as how we play defense for the most part. Excited about that player still, I mean he’s still a big body that can move, so each week him getting the chance to go against our O-line is the best thing he can ever have.”
With Dorsey back and taking over special teams duties, UDFA rookie Gilmore will also be a healthy scratch.
- LB Anthony Nelson
- DL Patrick O’Connor
- CB Derrek Pitts
- OT Brandon Walton
- TE David Wells