The Detroit Lions announced their Saturday roster moves, and it’s surprisingly bare. Detroit is simply elevating offensive lineman Michael Niese from the practice squad.
That specific move isn’t all that surprising. With center Frank Ragnow already declared out, the Lions were likely to elevate an offensive lineman to raise their gameday roster to eight active linemen. That allows Detroit to carry 48 players to the game, instead of the standard 47.
However, it is quite surprising to see the Lions not elevate or sign a defensive lineman from the practice squad. Bruce Irvin was an elevation last week and helped create a sack and additional pressure on just 11 snaps. Even coach Dan Campbell said the plan was to get Irvin more playing time—provided that his body could handle it.
“We would like to work him in more,” Campbell said on Wednesday. “And that was the plan last week was give him some opportunities and then see where he’s at there, see how he handled it, see how his body is, and then potentially get him some more. So we’re looking into that. But yeah, I would say he’s earned that.”
That said, it’s worth noting Irvin was battling an ankle injury. He missed Wednesday’s practice but was on the field for both Thursday and Friday. He told the Detroit News earlier in the week he would be able to play. So at this point, it’s not exactly clear if this was a coaching decision or an injury-related choice. Either way, Irvin will not play against the Chicago Bears. That could mean more opportunities for players like Charles Harris and Julian Okwara this week.
Equally surprising is that Quinton Bohanna was not signed to the 53-man roster this week. He has played for the past three weeks as a practice squad elevation, but that is the maximum for a season. If Detroit wants to play Bohanna again, he’ll have to sign to the 53-man roster.
If he’s not being elevated—and with Alim McNeill already on injured reserve—it seems likely that Isaiah Buggs will get a shot again after missing four of the past five games. Look for Levi Onwuzurike and/or rookie Brodric Martin to get a shot against the Bears on Sunday, as well.