Breaking down the Lions unofficial depth chart for Week 4

Breaking down the Detroit Lions unofficial depth chart for the Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks

This week’s unofficial Detroit Lions depth chart is out. Compiled by the Lions’ PR department, it updates how the crew sees the positional breakdowns entering Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The most notable thing from the chart is the absence of Tracy Walker at safety. Walker was placed on IR on Tuesday with a torn Achilles. Juju Hughes is now listed as the starter in Walker’s place, which keeps with how the Lions replaced Walker during the Week 3 game after his injury.

D’Andre Swift is still the first-team RB despite dealing with injuries to both his shoulder and ankle. Head coach Dan Campbell cast some doubt about Swift’s availability for the Week 4 matchup. Jamaal Williams, who ran for 87 yards and two TDs in Minnesota, is the listed No. 2, followed by Craig Reynolds and Justin Jackson.

Logan Stenberg remains the projected starting right guard. Stenberg was benched in favor of backup center Evan Brown in Week 3. At left guard, Jonah Jackson is on the starting lineup even though he has not played or practiced in the last two weeks with an injured finger. Dan Skipper has started in Jackson’s place, though the big veteran is on the practice squad. Drew Forbes is listed as the backup LG, with Kayode Awosika in that role on the right side.

 

Unofficial depth chart via the Lions P.R. team

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Lions sign LB Anthony Pittman to active roster, place Tracy Walker on IR

Lions sign LB Anthony Pittman to the active roster and place Tracy Walker on IR

The Detroit Lions have signed linebacker Anthony Pittman to the active 53-man roster. Pittman was on the Lions’ practice squad for the first three weeks of the season but has been with the organization since 2019. The Wayne State product played in all 17 games for Detroit in 2021.

Pittman has been elevated from the practice squad in each of the last two weeks and has played extensively on special teams, as well as four defensive reps. Players are allowed to be elevated three times from the practice squad for active gamedays, so signing Pittman ends any concerns about that.

As expected, the Lions placed safety Tracy Walker on the injured reserve list. Walker tore his Achilles tendon in his left leg during Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He is out for the season.

Detroit also added WR Josh Johnson to the practice squad to fill Pittman’s spot. Johnson is an undrafted rookie from Tulsa who spent training camp and preseason with the Lions.

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Odds watch: Lions are early favorites over the Seahawks in Week 4

The Detroit Lions are early favorites over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4

For the second time in three weeks, the Detroit Lions are favored by the oddsmakers to win on Sunday. The Lions are an early 4.5-point favorite in Week 4 against the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

Both teams are 1-2 and coming off losses in Week 3. Seattle fell at home to the previously winless Atlanta Falcons, 27-23. The Lions lost their first road game of the season, 28-24, at Minnesota.

The Lions are 3-0 against the spread this season, including a 9-point win in Week 2 as 1.5-point home favorites over the Washington Commanders. That game marked the first time Detroit was favored to win in 24 games.

From our colleagues at Sportsbook Wire and Tipico SportsBook,

  • Spread Favorite: Lions (-4.5)
  • Moneyline: Lions (-216), Seahawks (+178)
  • Total: 50 Points

The line could change with injury updates throughout the week. This point spread was as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Gannett may earn revenue from Tipico for audience referrals to betting services. Tipico has no influence over nor are any such revenues in any way dependent on or linked to the newsrooms or news coverage. See Tipico.com for Terms and Conditions. 21+ only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO).

Lions slide back to reality in most NFL power polls after Week 3 loss

A week after climbing up most NFL power rankings, the Lions’ Week 3 loss sends them back down the polls

After the stirring Week 2 win over the Washington Commanders, the Detroit Lions roared up the charts in most NFL power rankings. The ladders of supremacy were fleeting, however.

With the loss in Minnesota in Week 3, a game where the Lions held a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter, last week’s ladders have become this week’s chutes in the power poll roundup.

At Touchdown Wire, the Lions dropped back from 20th to No. 24. It’s a logical landing spot after blowing a potential win in Minnesota,

The Lions appeared to get on track with a win over Washington in Week 2, but they are still having trouble winning close games. If the Lions can ever stack wins, it will validate the Dan Campbell way and the Lions could be a tough matchup that teams won’t be able to count on for an easy win.

There were similar disappearing acts for the Lions rankings at NBC Sports (19th to 21st), ESPN (20th to 25th), Sporting News (21st to 25th) and  CBS Sports (26th to 28th)

The are some exceptions, the most prominent of which is USA TODAY, where analyst Nate Davis manned the battle station of Lions support. Detroit remains at No. 14 even with the loss to the Vikings. Detroit also sticks at 16th in the latest from NFL.com.

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Amon-Ra St. Brown dealing with an ankle injury

Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown dealing with an ankle injury but is not expected to miss long-term time

Add bourgeoning star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to the lengthy list of Lions players dealing with injuries. St. Brown is battling through an ankle injury suffered in Detroit’s Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

After the game, St. Brown told Eric Woodyard of ESPN that he rolled his ankle and “I think I’ll be alright.”

Brown, who normally plays every offensive snap, was on the sideline for 21 reps after rolling the ankle. His burst off the line was clearly limited after the injury.

Tom Pelissero from NFL.com reported on Tuesday morning that the Lions’ medical team tests on St. Brown’s injured ankle were “encouraging overall” and that the second-year standout is not expected to miss long-term time.

The Lions host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, followed by a trip to New England to face the Patriots in Week 5. Detroit gets a much-needed bye week in Week 6. It’s after that bye when first-round pick Jameson Williams is projected to enter the lineup and further bolster the WR corps.

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Awful red zone defense equates to the Lions’ league-worst scoring defense

The Detroit Lions defense is last in points allowed through the first three weeks and a big reason why is the woeful red zone defense

Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, no team has allowed more points than the Detroit Lions. The Lions have surrendered an average of 31 points per game to the Eagles, Commanders and Vikings to start the season.

There are a number of reasons for the prodigious points allowed total, but there’s one that jumps out with coordinator Aaron Glenn’s defense.

The red zone.

When opposing offenses get inside the Lions’ 20-yard line, it’s time for the kick return team to get ready to run onto the field. Detroit has allowed 10 touchdowns in 11 red zone possessions through three weeks, a 90.9 percent rate that is handily the worst in the league. The NFL average is 53 percent.

It’s been an ongoing problem for Glenn and the Lions. Last year, Detroit’s defense finished 31st in red zone touchdown percentage, allowing a 70 percent TD rate inside the 20. Only the Raiders (81.4%) were worse.

From coverage gaffes to missed tackles, blown containment to just getting plain old punched in the mouth, the Lions red zone defense has been brutal. Glenn’s defense has been pretty good at preventing big plays; just two TDs have come on plays longer than 20 yards. That figure is tied for 8th-best in the league entering Monday night’s game. But foes have had their way once they get inside the 20.

All stats are from NFL GSIS

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Dan Campbell offers a message to Lions fans after the rough loss in Week 3

Detroit head coach Dan Campbell offers a message to Lions fans after the rough loss in Week 3

In the aftermath of a disheartening Detroit loss that brought more than a few cries of “Same Old Lions” from a lot of fans and media members (both local and national), head coach Dan Campbell offered up some words of encouragement.

During his press conference back at the team headquarters in Allen Park on Monday, Campbell was asked if he had anything to say to the long-suffering fans. Campbell played in Detroit during the Matt Millen era, so he’s acutely aware of the agony of defeat.

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Here’s what Campbell had to say,

“Yeah, listen, I get the road that everybody’s been down. Listen, I’m not sweating it. I’m not sweating it, this team’s not sweating it. We’ve got a long season. You look out throughout this League, and it happens this way every year, and I feel like what happens to you early in the season is – it really molds who you’re going to be as the season goes on and late in the season. Those ones that can endure the adversity of the season, the ups and downs and just stay in the race are the ones that have success. And that’s all we’ve got to worry about is our own – we’ve just got to – let’s clean up all the little errors.

And I told them, I said, ‘Look, failing isn’t failure unless you don’t learn from it.’ And so, that was a tough one. We were up two scores. Should have won that game, but you know what, we didn’t earn the right to win that game. Minnesota did, and we’ve got to look long and hard in the mirror to ourselves, and we’ve got to clean up these errors. And it’s not an excuse, but we are still young, and we’ve got some guys that even though they’re not old players, they haven’t played a lot of football, or they’re not young players, they haven’t played a lot of football.

So, we’ve got to learn from it, and we’ve got to move on and be better the next time it comes up, but I’m not – listen this is not time to go into panic mode. This is not the time to worry. This is time to do just what we did from Philly to Washington. Let’s just get better. Let’s just focus on the little details, so that’s what it’s about.”

Let’s focus on the second paragraph for a second. Campbell dished out a critical statement,

“Failing isn’t failure unless you don’t learn from it.”

This has been where previous regimes in Detroit have dropped the ball. The failures are painful to deal with, as Campbell well knows. But the ability to build from the failures and learn from the mistakes, implementing changes that will help prevent more losses down the road, that’s where Campbell can be a difference-maker for the Lions. It starts with the coach himself and his in-game decision-making failures.

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D’Andre Swift expected to miss some time with a shoulder injury

Swift also aggravated his previous ankle injury in addition to suffering a shoulder sprain

The injury news from Allen Park after the Detroit Lions Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings keeps getting darker. Already facing the prospect of not having top safety Tracy Walker for the rest of the year with an Achilles injury, reports now indicate that starting RB D’Andre Swift is expected to miss some time with injuries of his own.

Swift aggravated his previous ankle injury during the loss in Minnesota, but that’s not the only malady facing the team’s top rusher. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, Swift also suffered a shoulder injury that could cause him to miss some time.

Pelissero did note that Swift’s sprained shoulder was not expected to require surgery. Swift played just 32 snaps in the loss to the Vikings, carrying the ball seven times for 31 yards. The ankle injury limited Swift to just five carries in the Week 2 win over the Commanders. He has 27 carries for 231 yards and a touchdown on the ground plus eight receptions for 77 more yards and another TD as a receiver in the first three weeks.

Injuries have pockmarked Swift’s NFL career. He has missed seven games in his first two seasons with different injuries and has carried an injury status into 13 others, including the last two weeks.

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Lions have options to replace injured S Tracy Walker

The Lions have some in-house options but none have much NFL experience

With the unfortunate news that Lions safety and team captain Tracy Walker has a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the season, the attention turns to how Detroit can replace Walker. The Lions have a few options for the next man up.

The most likely solution is the one Detroit turned to after Walker’s injury on Sunday: Juju Hughes. The veteran stepped into the Walker role and played acceptably in his 63 defensive snaps in Minnesota. Hughes has primarily played on special teams through his two prior NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, but he earned his spot in the defensive rotation with a solid training camp and preseason. His ability to play single-high in Aaron Glenn’s defense makes Hughes the natural choice.

Third-round rookie Kerby Joseph could be in line for a major uptick in playing time. Joseph played exclusively on special teams in the first three weeks even after Walker suffered the injury early in Week 3. The rookie from Illinois offers range and coverage ability but had some struggles with the strength and diversity of the NFL this summer.

Converted cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu has missed the first three games while dealing with a hamstring injury. The injury has slowed his transition, unfortunately, leading the second-year DB to be inactive on Sunday despite finally not carrying an injury designation into the game. Before his injury, Melifonwu was working primarily as a slot safety in big nickel packages, a role Walker typically has not aligned in this year.

Will Harris started next to Walker at safety for most of the last three seasons before Harris moved to outside CB this season. The Lions like Harris more at corner, and no small part of that is because Harris was consistently one of the worst safeties in the league. It would be surprising to see Harris move back unless the other options flop first.

Should the Lions choose to bring in a veteran free agent, there are a couple of notable names in Landon Collins and Jaquiski Tartt. But neither appears to be any better of an option than what the Lions already have in the younger, cheaper players. Collins has been a liability in coverage for several seasons and misses his fair share of tackles.  For his part, Tartt sure sounded content with not playing anymore in a recent interview. It would be quite surprising to see GM Brad Holmes spend money that usurps potential in-house player development on vets who might not be better than what Detroit already has.

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Lions safety Tracy Walker reportedly has a torn Achilles and is out for the season

Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker reportedly tore his Achilles in Week 3 and will be out for the season

The worst fears about the injury to Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker are coming to reality. Walker tore his Achilles tendon early in Detroit’s Week 3 loss to the Vikings in Minnesota. A report from Ian Rapoport indicated Walker’s presumed Achilles tear did indeed happen.

Walker walked off with some assistance from trainers but was quickly carted to the locker room and ruled out for the game with what the Lions termed an ankle injury. After the game, head coach Dan Campbell did not sound optimistic about Walker’s fate without going into detail beyond saying,

“It doesn’t look real good. Obviously it’s the ankle area, possibly the Achilles.”

The injury came on a non-contact play where Walker attempted to burst forward.

Walker, who missed practices last week to be with his newborn baby, will have surgery and miss the rest of the 2022 season.

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