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Discussion: Are the Lions being too cautious with CJGJ?

Is keeping CJGJ in a limited role for Week 18 a smart move, or should the Lions have handled things differently?

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

After suffering a torn pectoral muscle back in Week 2, C.J. Gardner-Johnson is finally making his return to the Detroit Lions in Week 18 against the Minnesota Vikings, albeit in a limited role. Based on CJGJ’s comments, it seems like he might have even been ready to return sooner, but the team wants to take things slowly, perhaps to have him fresh for the playoffs.

Today’s Question of the Day is…

Are the Lions being too cautious with CJGJ?

My answer: I’m completely fine with it either way, but I am leaning towards believing it might be smarter to play him the full game to give him as many reps as possible with his teammates. No matter how good your secondary is, breakdowns in coverage happen when players haven’t gotten a lot of time to play/communicate with each other. The last thing you want to see happen is the Lions giving up a key touchdown in the playoffs due to a miscommunication in the secondary.

I do understand, however, the desire to not rush CJGJ out there, possibly risking another injury. He is a leader on the field and just having him out there is a huge boost for the team. His energy is intoxicating and it fuels the rest of the defense. It probably wasn’t easy for coaches to hold him out for this long and keep him in a limited role this week, but that’s why they get paid to make the tough decisions. It will be interesting to see how CJGJ’s return affects the defense for the remainder of the year. It’s just nice to have him back.

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