Lions Week 13 injury update: Steps forward for Jonah Jackson, David Montgomery

Detroit got some good news on the injury front in Thursday’s practice ahead of the game against the New Orleans Saints

After an initial practice report on Wednesday with a few key pieces not participating in full, Thursday saw the Detroit Lions get a lot closer to full strength. In fact, only one player was not a full participant due to injury.

Linebacker Alex Anzalone continues to sit out with a hand/wrist injury. Head coach Dan Campbell indicated earlier this week that Anzalone is not expected to play in the Week 13 matchup in New Orleans against the Saints, Anzalone’s former team.

The only other player who was not a full participant was center Frank Ragnow, who took his customary veteran rest day on Thursday.

Running back David Montgomery (foot), left guard Jonah Jackson (wrist) and safety Tracy Walker (shoulder) all upgraded from limited on Wednesday to full participation on Thursday. Rookie QB Hendon Hooker was also listed as a full participant as he works to get activated from the NFI list.

That development bodes well for Jackson, Montgomery and Walker to all play in Week 13, barring any final setbacks on Friday.

Snap count notes and observations from the Lions loss to the Packers

Breaking down the notable snap counts from the Detroit Lions in their Week 12 loss to the Green Bay Packers

Looking at the Detroit Lions and their team snap counts from the Week 12 loss to the Green Bay Packers, a few things stand out. Many help provide more content behind the Lions’29-22 loss in Ford Field.

Take the total offensive snaps. Green Bay ran just 56 plays on offense, while Detroit snapped 84 offensive reps. The Packers outscoring the Lions despite running 28 fewer snaps indicates the inefficiency and giveaways from Detroit.

The offensive line saw an in-game xhange at left guard. Colby Sorsdal, who was replacing injured Jonah Jackson, was himself replaced by Kayode Awosika after 32 snaps. The change came after center Frank Ragnow left for one play and right guard Graham Glasgow kicked inside to cover.

At running back, Jahmyr Gibbs was on the field for more than double the reps of David Montgomery, 60 to 23. Considering Montgomery played seven of the first eight, that’s a stark shift to Gibbs, perhaps dictated by the early deficit and Montgomery’s recent pass protection issues. Craig Reynolds played exactly one snap.

Dan Skipper played a season-high nine snaps as an extra tackle. That’s more than Malcolm Rodriguez (6) st fullback or James Mitchell (4) as the third TE.

Josh Reynolds earned 54 snaps at WR, outpacing Jameson Williams (53) and Kalif Raymond (24) behind Amon-Ra St. Brown (77) on the pecking order.

Defensively, the first thing that stands out is Aidan Hutchinson playing 53 of the 56 snaps. That’s an absurdly high rate for a pass rusher; elites like Myles Garrett and Micah Parsons rarely top 80 percent.

Josh Paschal was next in line at EDGE with 29, followed by John Cominsky (23), Charles Harris (13) and Romeo Okwara (8).

The linebacker usage factors in that mix as well. Alex Anzalone left with a hand injury for two snaps but played the rest of the game. Derrick Barnes (40) and Jack Campbell (31) both playing over half the snaps while facing a Packers team with one healthy TE and playing a base 3-WR offense is an interesting choice.


David Montgomery not worried about sharing RB duties with Jahmyr Gibbs

Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs each have over 500 rushing yards through 10 games

David Montgomery is having a very good season in his first year in Detroit. The Lions running back has rushed for 577 yards in seven games, avergning just over 4.9 yards per carry and scoring eight touchdowns.

Jahmyr Gibbs is also having a very good first season in Detroit. The Lions’ top pick in the 2023 NFL draft has 512 rushing yards on 98 carries in eight games, while also catching 37 passes for 259 more yards. Gibbs has cored five touchdowns.

The backfield combination is working great for both players and also for the Lions, who are 8-2 and rank fifth in the league in both rushing yards and yards per carry. While others might worry about the shared workload, Montgomery doesn’t have any issue with splitting duties with Gibbs.

“I’m happy that we’re winning,” Montgomery told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk after Sunday’s win over Chicago. “I’m happy with everything right now and we’re doing a great job right now. Jahmyr’s playing great ball and I’m playing some good ball, too. We also understand that we hold great value to this team, to this offense. We both know that they need us both, so whatever it may be, we’re ready for it.”

It might ruffle the feathers of fantasy football aficionados or old-school traditionalists who favor a single bell-cow back, but the success of the Lions speaks for itself. There is zero sign of dissension or unhappiness from either Gibbs or Montgomery.

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Key quotes from players and coaches after the Lions defeat the Bears

Some great quotes from Goff, Sewell, Hutchinson, Montgomery and more after the Lions Week 11 win

When it felt like all was lost for the Lions, they scratched and clawed their way back for their 8th victory of the season. This one was even better because not only was it against the Chicago Bears, but the Lions were down 12 points with 4:15 left in the game.

Even with time working against them and the inability to get out of their own way, the Lions didn’t quit. The credit goes to the players for fighting until the end and to the coaches for getting this team to buy in no matter the situation. Now we see a Lions team with their first 8-2 start since 1962.

Plenty of smiles were on the faces of players, coaches and fans after this win over the Bears. Here are some key quotes from players and coaches after the Lions’ 8th win of the season.

While Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw three interceptions, he showed his resiliency. He led the Lions down the field not once but twice as the game was in its closing minutes. He even admitted that he didn’t play great. After the game, Goff said, “not my best ball for about three and a half quarters, but found a way to make it work there at the end.”

Goff added, “It’s a sign of a good team. We’re a resilient group. We’re tough. We have a lot of courage and we don’t back down from anything.”

As the Lions inched closer, one of the key plays in the fourth quarter was a 32-yard touchdown pass from Jared Goff to Jameson Williams. While it’s been some up-and-down for Williams in Detroit, he seems to make a big play whenever he gets his hands on the football. Today was no different as he record two receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Here’s what was said about Williams and what he had to say after the game:

  • “He’s part of the herd, he’s been accepted. The way he goes and blocks and he’s starting to run some pretty good routes. He’s making some catches. There’s a lot of guys that are beginning to trust him.” — Dan Campbell
  • “The last couple weeks for him have been so good. He’s practiced so well, and we do trust him now. I trust him a lot. I trust him to make that throw.” — Jared Goff
  • “But it’s open, after that, we make that read it’s on the corner, is he going to go high or low. It’s me or it’s a corner route under me. So, it’s either or, Jared made the read and we just got on the board quick. We got a stop, we got back on the board again. So, it was good.” — Jameson Williams

To take the lead, the Lions relied on Goff to string together a 73-yard drive that ate up just over two minutes of clock. On that drive, Goff completed passes to Sam LaPorta, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery and Amon-Ra St. Brown. To cap that drive off, the Lions handed the ball off to former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery with 31 seconds left on the clock.

As Montgomery jogged into the end-zone, Ford Field erupted in a way that I’ve never heard before. After the game, Montgomery got plenty of praise from his teammates. Here’s what was said about Montgomery and what he had to say after the game:

  • “David is a stud. I know this game meant a little extra to him. He showed up. He really did. Him getting that touchdown at the end is kind of poetic. He played well all day.” — Jared Goff
  • “I knew this one was on his bucket list the moment I met him. 5, I’m with you all day. Shoot, wherever you go, I’m there. If you wanna get dirty, we can get dirty, I don’t care. But, uh, I told him I had his back no matter what. I was going to match his energy and his stamina, too. I’m glad that he got the touchdown at the end and the win.” — Penei Sewell
  • “I call this place the land of the misfit toys. You get lot of guys that been told no they whole life, been told they’ve never been good enough. People look at this city for a while as not taken serious, and now we’re getting to be serious. The city of Detroit is behind us and you can feel it, ya know? We have a bunch of guys in this locker room, the coaches, high character guys, gritty guys, ya know? You see what it’s like, for a long time, when you done got beat down. The tide begins to change.” — David Montgomery

One of the final plays of the game was a strip sack from Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson. After going four straight games without a sack, the streak was finally broken for the talented defensive end. After he knocked the ball out of the hands of Justin Fields, the ball was kicked into the back of the end zone by Darnell Wright for a safety.

This was enough to put the Lions up 31-26, and it sealed the comeback win for Detroit. Here’s what was said about Hutchinson and what he had to say after the game:

  • “Hutch goes out and makes the sack-fumble of his life for a safety. To me, those are the moments we’re built for…” — Dan Campbell
  • “Fields was sitting there, didn’t see me, and it all happened really fast. The tackle was trying to pick it up, and I just kinda pushed the tackle and he ended up kicking it. And I booted it into the stands somewhere, so that’s going to be a nice little find.” — Aidan Hutchinson

Tonight, the roars from the crowd still echo inside of Ford Field despite sitting empty until the Lions next game. That game will be on Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers. Regardless of the record, the Lions will need to play better football on all three levels. It feels like they should but we will see how this team responds despite a close call against the Bears.

Lions are 8-2 for first time since Ford family bought team

The last time the Lions started 8-2 was the year before William Clay Ford became the majority owner

The Detroit Lions are a proud franchise with resilient players, a great coaching staff and special fans. The team was established in 1930, and 32 years after that, the team started their season 8-2. That was 1962. They didn’t achieve that again until Week 11 of 2023, a span of 61 years.

The Lions hadn’t ever been 8-2 with the Ford family owning the team. William Clay Ford became the majority owner in 1963. His daughter Sheila Hamp, owner since 2020, is the one who oversaw this piece of team history.

The season for the Lions has been unusual in more ways than this milestone may show. They started it with a win over the defending Super Bowl champions and followed that up with a tough overtime loss to the Seahawks. Mix in some wins over the likes of the Falcons, Packers and Raiders, to name a few. They have done the majority of their work on the road as well, so with them being at 8-2 with four wins being on the road, it is significant.

The Lions now head into Thanksgiving with optimism and hope for the first time in what seems like forever. Dan Campbell and this Lions team overcame a major obstacle Sunday against the Bears. They showed they can win games when they are not at their best, but on a short week, they can’t afford for it to roll over into Thursday.

Lions fans would rather be debating whether stuffing is better in the turkey or a pan instead of “Can Jared Goff win us a Super Bowl?” Enjoy the history we are living in. This team will be remembered, and at this point, it seems to be in a good way versus the latter.

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Quick takeaways from the Detroit Lions comeback win over the Chicago Bears

Quick takeaways from the Detroit Lions comeback win over the Chicago Bears in Week 11

Sunday’s Detroit Lions game was not one for the faint of heart. Down 26-14 to the Chicago Bears with less than five minutes to play, the Lions rallied for a rousing divisional win at Ford Field.

The 31-26 triumph overcame a win probability of over 98 percent for the visiting Bears. It’s the kind of game that good teams find a way to win, further validating the Lions are one of the NFL’s best at 8-2. But it’s also a performance that shows there is a very thin line between success and failure, and the Lions came too close to that line for comfort.

Here’s what I took away from watching the Lions beat the Bears in real-time.

Studs and Duds from the Lions win over the Bears in Week 11

There were some studs for the Lions but also some real duds in the win

In what was a rough go of things for the Lions for 80% of their game against the Bears, they were able to keep things close enough to secure an eventual win.

The Cardiac Lions earned their eighth win of the season and are off to their best start since 1962. While there is no Cuban Missile Crisis during this 8-2 run, there are certainly different reasons to be concerned from a football sense.

The Bears were expected to be a much easier opponent for the Lions, but instead the division rival played up to their competition and didn’t roll over. Justin Fields was a playmaker for them on offense and made the Lions’ front seven look like Swiss cheese. Despite that, some players on defense stood out.

Studs and duds occur every week; this is no different.

David Montgomery makes the Lions-Bears matchup special

David Montgomery makes the Lions-Bears matchup special in his 1st game against his old team

Players leaving a team through free agency is never a fun or easy task for the team or the player. In the case of most they are drafted to a team out of college, and become men in and around that team, before starting families of their own all while playing a game for a living.

In the case of David Montgomery, this game may be in Detroit but he will be facing a familiar uniform on defense for the first time in a while.

After spending a college career turning into one of the better college running back prospects in recent memory. His career at Iowa State was good enough to earn him being drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. From there he and Tarik Cohen became a more than viable running back duo at a time when the Chicago Bears weren’t bottom dwellers of the division.

Fast forward to 2023 and Montgomery finds himself in another running back duo again but is the elder statesman this time.

What the Lions have built with Montgomery and first-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs could be something special. It took some time, and Montgomery missed of it, but the Lions staff has seen what they can achieve. Montgomery is using his bully running style to attack defenses up the middle once again while Gibbs uses his quick feet to work outside the numbers.

That bullying style is going to be on full display as Montgomery faces his former team on Sunday. The ability to play behind an offensive line that allows him to run with his style is not something he has overlooked since arriving either.

“It’s more of a blessing than anything, just being able to have such a profound group in front of me, I think even when I was in high school and sometimes in college, I never knew what that really felt like, but to have it here and feel it, super, super dope. I think also it gives like me an opportunity to showcase what I can actually do…”

Behind that offensive line, Montgomery has gained 501 rushing yards in five games and is averaging a career-high in yards per game so far. Against the Bears, Montgomery isn’t concerned about his stats, he wants to keep things simple.

“I’m just going to be me, man,” he responded when asked what he hopes to do against his former team. “I’m not going to try to play out of the lines of myself, I’m just going to be me. I think me being who I am is enough. So, I’ll just go out, play the way that I play, play the way that I know how and hope that we execute properly and walk out of there with a dub.”

David Montgomery took himself out of the game so Lions rookie Jahmyr Gibbs could score a TD

Now, that is being a great teammate.

Running back David Montgomery has been one of the key additions for the Lions and their 7-2 start to the season. He’s scored 7 touchdowns in six games this season, which is huge. But he’s also been a mentor for rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Montgomery showed on Sunday that he’s the kind of teammate every player would want to have.

In the first quarter of the Lions’ 41-38 win against the Chargers, Gibbs brought the Lions close to the goal line on a 35-yard run. Given that Gibbs just had three straight touches, the Lions were going to insert Montgomery for the first-and-goal play. That was until Montgomery offered to take himself out of the game and give Gibbs the touchdown opportunity.

Needless to say, Gibbs accepted the offer and punched it in for a touchdown on the next play.

Mic’d-up footage even had the two players joking about the offer when Montgomery scored his own touchdown on a 75-yard run in the second quarter.

“I can’t let you have it all,” he said to Gibbs.

Fans also loved that story from Gibbs (well, besides Montgomery fantasy owners). That’s what leadership is all about right there.

Film Review: Best run blocks from the Lions offensive line versus the Chargers

Film Review: Best run blocks from the Lions offensive line versus the Chargers

Ever since Dan Campbell became the head coach of the Detroit Lions, their offensive line has been the most consistent unit in football. Regardless of who they’ve had playing up front, the physical play from the group has become their identity. Led by players such as Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker, it has done wonders for this team.

Currently, the Lions are the 4th best rushing team in the NFL with 139.0 rushing yards per game. Overall, their 406.4 total yards per game are second best in the NFL. The only team with a better offense right now are the Miami Dolphins.

When watching the Lions against the Chargers in week 10, it was evident that their offensive line was playing some of their best football this season. Much of that is due to the return of Jonah Jackson at left guar , Frank Ragnow at center and Graham Glasgow cementing himself as a solid starter at right guard. Let’s jump into the tape from the Lions game against the Chargers to see why this offensive line is playing at such a high level.

One of the most underrated blocks from the entire game for the Lions was right here. Looking at the play above, the Lions come out in 11 personnel (one tight end and one running back) with a condensed set on the left of the formation.

Prior to the snap, Jared Goff puts Amon-Ra St. Brown on a jet-motion to the right of the formation. As St. Brown hurries across, Goff snaps the football off to Jahmyr Gibbs. Looking at the offensive line, you can see how the entire offensive line steps hard to their left and reaches left. This indicates a zone run and in the process, you’ll see Graham Glasgow highlighted at right guard.

The reason for Glasgow getting highlighted is not for what he did on a brief combo block with Penei Sewell. Instead, it’s for the heads up play he made after he steps down and gets up to the linebacker. As the inside linebacker attacks downhill and looks to fill in the A-gap, Glasgow does just enough to force the defender out of the way. This clears a path for Gibbs to gain five yards and a first down. This play had disaster written all over it but Glasgow made it a positive gain.

Moving to the next play, the Lions have Jared Goff under center. Prior to the snap, he puts tight end Brock Wright in motion. After Wright gets past Goff, the ball is snapped and is tossed to Jahmyr Gibbs. Even though this is a great cut and overall gain from Gibbs, I want to focus on right tackle Penei Sewell.

Despite having Wright in motion, Sewell is able to fire out of his stance and pulls to become one of the lead blockers for Gibbs. As Sewell gets out there, he doesn’t play too fast. In fact, his play speed is perfect. Reason being, if he plays too fast, his angle to the defender will worsen. Meanwhile, he knows the defenders have to come to him because they’re trying to tackle the ball carrier.

As Sewell is on the move, he looks inside and finds the inside linebacker trying to scrape over the top. With great power and speed, Sewell sends the linebacker away from Gibbs and helps keep an open rushing lane for some additional yards.

Going to the next play, it was one of the biggest runs of the day from the Lions. It was a 35-yard run from Jahmyr Gibbs that setup the first touchdown of the day for Detroit. Looking at the play above, the Lions come out in 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) and Jared Goff is under center.

Prior to the snap, Goff puts a tight end in motion and once the tight end gets past him, he snaps the football. On a short toss to Gibbs, there’s two combo blocks that occur on this play. The first one is with Sewell (RT) and Glasgow (RG). They double the defensive end that is aligned as a 4-technique or head up on the right tackle. Meanwhile, look at the combo block from Jackson (LG) and Ragnow (C) on the nose tackle.

The blocks from the entire offensive line is terrific but seeing Ragnow and Jackson turn a defender and drive him 7 or 8 yards downfield is magnificent. It creates a huge rushing lane for Gibbs and he makes a terrific cut to run across the field and towards the end-zone.

It’s unfortunate that Gibbs was out at the one-yard line but on the very next play, he ended up scoring. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Gibbs gained at least three or four yards before any defender put a hand on him during this run. Per Pro Football Reference, the Lions average 2.7 yards before contact per attempt (tied for 11th best in the NFL).

The next run I want to showcase is perfect to describe the Lions and their identity as a team. The play above is the drive following the Kerby Joseph interception in the first quarter. Even though it’s 4th-and-5, it was decided by Dan Campbell that the Lions were going to roll the dice on this play.

Looking at the play, the Lions come out in a shotgun formation with 11 personnel (one tight end and one running back). On the play, they run a trap play where the left guard Jonah Jackson pulls to the play-side. As Jackson turns upfield, he meets a defensive tackle that is aligned as a 3-technique and is crashing inside.

Meanwhile, the right guard Graham Glasgow flips toward that same 3-technique aligned on his outside shoulder. This forces the defensive tackle to hesitate while trying to disrupt the backfield. This gives Jackson time to get into the A-gap and seal off the defensive tackle.

As for Glasgow, he gets out of the way and up to the second level to seal off a linebacker. This trap play is blocked perfectly by the Lions and the way it it’s blocked is key to the gain of six yards and a first down.

Lastly, I want to highlight one of my favorite plays from the entire game for the Lions. Looking at the play above, I simply want to highlight the combo block from Penei Sewell (RT 58) and Graham Glasgow (RG 60).

Once the ball is snapped, watch how they attack the defensive tackle aligned as a 3-technique between them. They drive this defender 10-yards downfield. Before the whistle, Sewell levels the defender into the dirt and looks for another person to hit.

While this wasn’t a massive gain, the block made from Sewell and Glasgow is a thing of beauty. Those types of blocks occur consistently from the Lions offensive line. The performance from this unit on Sunday against the Chargers was one of their best outings on the year so far.