During his Monday press conference, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell named two starters who could miss this week’s game due to injury: left guard Jonah Jackson and linebacker Alex Anzalone.
Jackson has missed five out of the last six games. During the first three, he was dealing with a knee injury. For the past two weeks, he’s been sidelined with a wrist issue. Campbell’s announcement that he may miss this week was certainly worded... interestingly.
“I’m assuming Jonah’s not playing until he tells me he’s playing. Then I’ll know,” Campbell said.
In Jackson’s absence, the Lions have started rookie Colby Sorsdal in each of the past two games. But after struggling against the Packers, the Lions benched Sorsdal before halftime in favor of Kayode Awosika. Combined, Sorsdal (3) and Awosika (7) allowed 10 pressures against Green Bay.
As for Anzalone, it sounds like he could be dealing with an injury that could sideline him beyond this Sunday.
“Alex could be (out) a little bit. That’s possible,” Campbell said.
Anzalone missed just two plays last week against the Packers, but he was attended to by trainers on the sideline. He appeared to get his hand/wrist area taped by the medical staff before returning to play. It would be a tough break for Anzalone to miss this week, as he’s making his first return to New Orleans since his four-year career with the Saints—the team that drafted him. Though his status was already a bit in doubt, as his wife is due to give birth to his second child on Thursday, November 30.
While the Lions are relatively deep at the linebacker position, Anzalone was in the midst of the best season of his career. He not only leads the team in tackles (87), but he ranks third on the team in sacks (3.0), he’s fourth in passes defended (five), and third in tackles for loss (five). He is also PFF’s 19th-best linebacker by overall grade (76.6).
It will be interesting to see how the Lions respond if Anzalone does miss time. Derrick Barnes and rookie Jack Campbell have been sharing middle linebacker duties with Anzalone playing the WILL. The Lions like to cross-train their linebackers, however, so it’s possible those two remain on the field. They could also give the role to second-year linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who has helped out on special teams and as a fullback this season after getting demoted on defense.
Campbell also provided a bit of good injury news. Safety Kerby Joseph, who didn’t miss a snap, but was clearly favoring of arm/shoulder during the game, is not expected to miss the game this week.
“Kerby should be good,” Campbell said.