The Detroit Lions are headed to Chicago for a bout with the Bears, and they’ve already made some interesting personnel choices. Whether it’s due to injury or something else, Detroit has opted to keep defensive end Bruce Irvin on the practice squad this week, despite him adding some juice to the pass rush against the Saints. He will not play.
At the defensive tackle position, after being elevated from the practice squad for three weeks straight, Quinton Bohanna will also be out this week, as he remains on the practice squad this Sunday.
Especially with Alim McNeill out for the next four week, that means the Lions are likely relying more on some players who have had limited or no roles over the past few weeks. Players like Isaiah Buggs, Charles Harris, Julian Okwara, and maybe even rookie Brodric Martin could be on the field early and often against the Bears.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions DL will step up this week vs. the Bears?
My answer: First, I have to say I’m a bit skeptical that anyone at all will. The Lions have struggled to produce consistent pressure, and this current set of players has been a big part of the problem. Going up against a player as dangerous as Justin Fields is going to up the degree of difficulty significantly. It won’t just be about pressuring Fields, but maintaining discipline in rushing lanes to ensure the Bears quarterback doesn’t have an easy avenue to escape.
So who is capable of doing that?
I’m going to go out on a little bit of limb and say second-year defensive end Josh Paschal. The 23-year-old has been getting more playing time as of late, and I believe he’ll be a big part of the game plan to replace McNeill’s snaps. Paschal is capable of sliding inside, and I believe he’ll play the majority of his snaps there. He’s a capable run defender (71.7 PFF run defense grade), and he’s at least somewhat passable as a pass rusher (four pressures in the past two weeks).
Paschal has also been getting some praise from his coaching staff.
“In the New Orleans game, he had some really good plays,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said this week. “So, the development is coming with that player.”
Glenn also noted how big of a week this is going to be for Paschal.
“Paschal has to do a really good job. Sometimes he’s going to be inside and we’re going to need him to step up.”
Which Lions defensive lineman do you think will step up this week? Scroll down to the comment section and share your thoughts.