Detroit Lions must settle for smaller-than-ever roster for final game against Green Bay Packers | News, Sports, Jobs

The head coach of the Detroit Lions, Dan Campbell examines the matches of the first half against the Falcons on December 26 in Atlanta. (AP file photo)

DETROIT – It’s been a long season for the Detroit Lions, and there’s even more adversity to come.

At 2-13-1, things obviously didn’t go well, but first-year coach Dan Campbell faced a roster decimated by injuries and COVID-19. More than 80 players have been active for at least one game and only one player – rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell – has been able to stay on the field all year.

Over the first 16 games, Sewell has missed only four offensive shots. On Monday, he was placed on the list Covid-19.

“He’s more mature than a normal rookie since the day he got here,” Campbell said Monday. “He is as smart as a whip. »

Detroit’s COVID-19 roster also claimed its other starting offensive tackle, Taylor Decker, who caught a touchdown pass in Sunday’s 51-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and linebacker Austin Bryant.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell speaks to the media after a game against the Arizona Cardinals December 19 in Detroit. (AP file photo)

“We have to prepare as if we are not going to have them on Sunday against the Packers, even if the new rules allow them to come back,” Campbell said.

“We thought we had a good chance of getting (wide receiver) Josh Reynolds back for Seattle, and it didn’t work out, so we’re going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

Reynolds was dropped from the roster on Monday, along with guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai and tight end Brock Wright. That should give Detroit’s passing game some more options against the Packers after they were forced to throw back-to-back passes on offensive tackles against the Seahawks.

“We were using two brand new tight ends last week, so we put together a lineup with seven offensive linemen,” Campbell said. “That’s why we were throwing the ball at them.”

Decker’s touchdown was the second of his career — he caught an 11-yard pass against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 2, 2018 — and he was better prepared this time. After his first score, he enthusiastically threw the ball into the stands at Ford Field, losing the chance to save it for his trophy.

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Charles P. Patton