The Detroit Lions announced on Saturday afternoon that they have elevated two players from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons: offensive lineman Dan Skipper and safety Brandon Joseph. Both players are eligible to play on Sunday, but these are not signings to the 53-man roster, meaning they will revert back to the practice squad after Sunday’s game.
These moves are clear direct responses to injuries the Lions are dealing with. Skipper will help add depth to the offensive line, which will be missing starting left tackle Taylor Decker and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, both of whom were declared out on Friday. The expectation is that Penei Sewell will fill in again at left tackle, Matt Nelson will replace Sewell at right tackle, and Graham Glasgow will step in at right guard.
Skipper was signed to the practice squad earlier this week. He’ll be a valuable depth piece on the active roster because he has experience at both tackle and guard. Additionally, Skipper allows the Lions to have eight active offensive linemen on gameday, which permits Detroit to have 48 players active for Sunday—whereas if a team only has seven or fewer offensive line active, the team can only dress 47 players.
Joseph is an undrafted rookie who just missed making the 53-man roster. With both starting safeties out this week—C.J. Gardner-Johnson was placed on injured reserve and Kerby Joseph will miss Sunday with a hip injury—Joseph gives Detroit much-needed depth at the position. Currently, the Lions’ only healthy safeties on the 53-man roster are Tracy Walker and Ifeatu Melifonwu. However, Will Harris is also capable of it, and now Joseph could also play in a pinch.
It’s also worth noting that the Lions did not downgrade running back David Montgomery from doubtful to out, giving the veteran back a small chance of playing this week. However, the Lions did sign Zonovan Knight to the 53-man roster earlier in the week and Montgomery didn’t practice all week, so he’s still a bit of a longshot.