Lions QB Matthew Stafford questionable to play against Bills
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is listed as questionable to play at Buffalo.
He was limited Friday in practice because of a back ailment. Stafford says he has played with the injury previously and plans to do that again against the Bills on Sunday. He has started 125 regular-season games, the third-longest streak active QB streak and sixth-longest in league history.
Allen Park — Over the next several days, leading up to the NFL draft, we'll take a position-by-position look at the Detroit Lions' roster situation and evaluate how the team might address these positions during the event. Today: Offensive line
■ Current roster: Taylor Decker, Graham Glasgow, T.J. Lang, Rick Wagner, Joe Dahl, Kenny Wiggins, Wesley Johnson, Leo Koloamatangi, Corey Robinson, Brian Mihalik, Dan Skipper
The Detroit Lions lost some depth along the offensive line on Tuesday when the team announced Emmett Cleary has been placed on the reserve/retired list.
Cleary, 27, signed with the Lions last September, after he had been waived by the Cowboys. The 6-foot-7, 320-pounder appeared in seven games in 2017, including starting in place of T.J. Lang in the team's Week 6 loss to New Orleans.
It's the calm before the storm that is the NFL draft. We're three weeks out from the crown-jewel event of the NFL offseason, so while we're waiting, let's knock out a mailbag.
What do the Lions really need to improve the run game? Better O-line, blocking TEs, scheme, or of course trading up to number one overall to draft Saquon?
This is the fourth in a series looking at positional needs for the Detroit Lions in free agency. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on March 12. The signing period opens March 14 at 4 p.m.
Allen Park — During his two years on the job, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has poured more attention and resources into his offensive line than any other position group. Unfortunately, he has yet to see a return on that investment.
The Detroit Lions' running game has been a weak spot throughout former head coach Jim Caldwell's tenure, hitting rock bottom this season.
Never finishing higher than 28th in the league in rushing, the Lions finished last for the second time in Caldwell's four seasons in 2017.
Allen Park — Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter wouldn't talk directly about the running game's struggles Thursday afternoon.
The Lions are last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (78.0), and tied for last in rushing yards per attempt (3.4). When the Lions lost on Sunday to the 6-9 Cincinnati Bengals, knocking them out of playoff contention, Lions running backs only ran for 80 yards on 21 carries, a 3.8-yard average.
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions had all five of their starting offensive linemen practicing Wednesday, although two, guard T.J. Lang (foot) and right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle), remained limited.
Center Travis Swanson, who has missed the past two games with a concussion, was a full participant.
Rick Wagner joins T.J. Lang, Travis Swanson on Lions sideline today
Cincinnati – The Detroit Lions will be missing the entire right side of their starting offensive line for Sunday's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Along with center Travis Swanson, who was ruled out Friday with a concussion, and guard T.J. Lang, who was listed as doubtful with a foot injury, right tackle Rick Wagner will remain sidelined for the third consecutive week with a sprain ankle.
Live updates: Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Detroit Lions will try to keep their playoff hopes alive in a 1 p.m. game Sunday in Cincinnati. Follow the action here with live updates throughout the game by Connor Muldowney of The Detroit News.
Allen Park — It's looking more and more unlikely Travis Swanson will be able to return to the lineup Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Detroit Lions center remained in concussion protocol on Thursday, his fifth consecutive missed practice.
Swanson was in attendance during the session, standing on the sideline. A concussion ended his season last year, costing him the final four games of the regular season as well as the team's wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions got one starting offensive lineman back on the practice field, but remained without two others on Wednesday.
Right tackle Rick Wagner practiced for the first time since injuring his ankle in the team's Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The prized free-agent addition had arguably been Detroit's most consistent lineman prior to suffering the injury.
Allen Park — It was unfamiliar territory for Lions fans after the big free agent signings of T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner looked like the final pieces to bolster an improving offensive line heading into the 2017 season.
Suddenly, it looked like the men protecting Matt Stafford were going to be a strength of this football team.
Detroit – The Lions lost three players to injury in Saturday's victory over the Chicago Bears, including another blow to the team's offensive line.
Guard T.J. Lang, who has been battling a foot injury the past three weeks, had to leave the game early in the second quarter because of the issue, leaving the Lions to rely on three backups the rest of the way. Right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) and center Travis Swanson (concussion) had been ruled out before the game.
Lions offensive guard T.J. Lang to start vs. Bears
Detroit – The Lions announced they would be down two starting offensive lineman earlier in the week, but at least it's not three. Guard T.J. Lang, who had been listed as questionable with a foot injury, is active and will start against the Chicago Bears.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle), who was the other starter listed as questionable, is also active.
Allen Park — The Lions got one of their three injured offensive linemen back at practice Thursday, when guard T.J. Lang returned to the field. Center Travis Swanson (concussion) and right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) remained sidelined.
Also returning to action was cornerback Nevin Lawson, who missed two days with an illness. Wide receiver TJ Jones was also back after tending to a family emergency on Wednesday.
The Lions will announce game status designations Thursday afternoon.
3 starting offensive linemen sit out Lions practice
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions continue to battle injuries up front. The team was down three starting offensive linemen during Tuesday's practice as Rick Wagner, T.J. Lang and Travis Swanson sat out.
Wagner missed last week's game with an ankle injured he suffered against the Baltimore Ravens. Lang has been playing through a foot injury. And it was announced Swanson had reported concussion symptoms following the team's victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Tampa, Fla. — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who entered the day questionable with a hand injury, will make his 109th consecutive start on Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Stafford practiced on a limited basis throughout the week after having his hand accidentally stepped on by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs last Sunday.
Lions’ Stafford questionable for Bucs because of ailing hand
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is questionable for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay because of his injured throwing hand. He has not missed a start since the 2010 season.
According to the team's injury report, Stafford was limited at practice Friday. His right hand was stepped on during last week's loss at Baltimore.
Allen Park – Matthew Stafford continues to trend in the right direction heading into Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.
Stafford, who still has his pinky and ring fingers taped, threw the ball with plenty of zip and was precise on intermediate and deep throws during the open portion of Friday's practice.
Prior to practice, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Stafford's injured throwing hand is "progressing" but fell short of saying he expected the quarterback to start his 109th consecutive game.
Allen Park — It was a mix of good and bad news for the Lions during Thursday's practice.
The good: quarterback Matthew Stafford was much more active and was throwing passes to running backs and receivers in separate drills for the first time since suffering an injury to his throwing hand in last week's loss to the Ravens.
Allen Park — The Lions offense line is hurting. The team was down two starters, while a third, plus a top backup, were limited during Wednesday's practice.
Right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) and guard T.J. Lang (foot), sat out the session. Center Travis Swanson (knee) and backup tackle Corey Robinson (foot) weren't able to fully participate.
Allen Park — Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was dressed for Wednesday's practice, but did very little, including no throwing, during the portion open to the media. He did have two digits individually taped on his throwing hand — his pinkie and ring finger.
Baltimore — The Detroit Lions suffered a significant loss in the second quarter of Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens when right tackle Rick Wagner suffered an ankle injury.
Wagner was injured on a third-down play where quarterback Matthew Stafford was hit by safety Eric Weddle, coming unblocked on a blitz. Stafford fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Ravens near midfield.
Allen Park — Almost every road game is a homecoming for someone on the Detroit Lions' roster. This week, it's Rick Wagner's turn. The offensive tackle is making his first trip back to Baltimore, the team that drafted in 2013 and developed him for four seasons.
"It's kind of an odd experience," Wagner said. "I'm excited to get back there and see some of my former teammates. But once the first ball is snapped, it's all business."
Allen Park — Thursday's game brings former Lions offensive lineman Riley Reiff back to Detroit.
As it turns out, Reiff has been quite the find for Minnesota after signing a five-year deal that could potentially be worth more than $58 million.
Allen Park — The intent was clear, and on paper the upgrades looked good, but because of injuries the Lions have not had the opportunity to see what their upgraded offense is capable of accomplishing.
That's not an excuse, just a reality, and one most NFL teams have to deal with at some point during the season. Unfortunately, for the Lions, the adversity hit well before the season began.
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions made an end-of-the-roster move along the offensive line on Tuesday, signing former Green Bay Packers guard Don Barclay and waiving offensive tackle Dan Skipper.
Barclay comes with a wealth of experience, having appeared in 62 games, starting 24, over the past four seasons. He suffered an ankle injury this preseason and was waived off injured reserve last week. He'll provide the Lions with needed depth up front, following a season-ending injury to Tim Lelito.
Pittsburgh pass rush poses major challenge for Lions
DETROIT (AP) — A break in the schedule gave Detroit's beleaguered offensive line a chance to rest and recover.
Now comes one of the season's biggest challenges — a matchup with the sack-happy Pittsburgh Steelers.
"There's no one guy to really clue in on. They've got quite a few," quarterback Matthew Stafford said.
"Their guys off the edge do a great job. Their guys in the middle push the pocket well, and they're covering guys down in the back end. It goes hand in hand."
Allen Park — The Lions made a change at the back of the offensive tackle depth chart Thursday, signing Dan Skipper off the practice squad and releasing Bryce Harris. To take Skipper's spot on the practice squad, the Lions re-signed Storm Norton.
Allen Park — At one of the most important positions on the field, the Lions could be starting a relative unknown this week.
Meet Brian Mihalik.
In his second stint with the Lions after being claimed off waivers prior to the start of the regular season, the former defensive lineman is in line to be protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford's blindside if starting left tackle Greg Robinson's ankle doesn't heal quickly.
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions made a trio of transactions Wednesday, including bringing back sixth-round draft pick Brad Kaaya. The Lions claimed the rookie quarterback back off waivers from the Carolina Panthers.
Detroit also announced the signings of defensive end Jacquies Smith and offensive tackle Bryce Harris. To clear room on the roster, the team released three defensive linemen — George Johnson, Caraun Reid and Datone Jones.
Lions Preview Capsule
New faces: OT Rick Wagner, OG T.J. Lang, OT Greg Robinson, DE Cornelius Washington, rookie LB Jarrad Davis, rookie CB Teez Tabor.
Key losses: OT Riley Reiff, OG Larry Warford, LB DeAndre Levy, DE Kerry Hyder, WR Anquan Boldin.
Detroit Lions training camp capsule
DETROIT LIONS (9-8)
OPEN CAMP: July 30, Allen Park, Michigan.
LAST YEAR: Lost last four games, including playoffs at Seattle, after surging atop division with eight wins in nine-game stretch. Made NFL history by rallying from fourth-quarter deficits to win eight games. Matthew Stafford had highest passer rating of career despite Calvin Johnson's retirement and injured finger on throwing hand.
Lions announce signings of Wagner, 3 others
DETROIT (AP) — Rick Wagner is ready for a return to the Midwest.
The Detroit Lions signed the talented offensive tackle — one of four free-agent deals they announced Friday — and when Wagner took part in a conference call with reporters, he said he felt a connection with blue-collar Detroit. Wagner is from West Allis, Wisconsin, and he played college football at Wisconsin.