Lions’ offense takes big hit with multiple injuries

Lions coach Dan Campbell

ALLEN PARK — While the LIons’ offense has been steps ahead of the defense through three games, injuries could take a toll on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

Two Lions wide receivers missed practice with injuries on Wednesday and D.J. Chark (ankle) was limited. Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) and Josh Reynolds (ankle) were sidelined along with tight end T.J. Hockenson (foot), running back D’Andre Swift (shoulder/ankle), center Frank Ragnow (foot), left guard Jonah Jackson (finger) and kicker Austin Seibert (right groin).

Ragnow is expected to play on Sunday, per coach Dan Campbell. He started against the Vikings after missing the previous week. It’s turf toe and Ragnow is frustrated but expected to fight through it.

Campbell read the long list of the injured before practice.

“Look, I don’t feel like it’s something we did different. I don’t feel it’s because of the way we went about stuff. Things happen in this game,’’ Campbell said. “Some teams don’t put everybody on the injury reports, some of them will practice or won’t practice. I’m just trying to be open and put everybody out there. So I know it obviously looks worse than maybe it is at times. We looked at everything and it’s not like I’m blind to the fact that we have injuries. I pay a lot of attention to that, I look at all the data…. I don’t feel like it’s something that we’re doing.’’

Even with a 1-2 record, the offense is ranked second in the NFL for points per game and third for overall offense.

Campbell said Swift and St. Brown are kind of day-to-day, but St. Brown is closer to playing on Sunday.

“Swift would have to be significantly better to play. It would have to be when the skies open up and the bright light comes down, it feels unbelievable and here we go,’’ Campbell said.

Last week Swift played a limited role due to an ankle injury.

“We leaned on Jamaal (Williams) and he did a helluva job. Craig (Reynolds) will take a little more and so will (Justin) Jackson. It will be by committee, we’re confident,’’ Campbell said.

If wide receivers St. Brown and Josh Reynolds are sidelined, expect to see more of Quintez Cephus and Kalif Raymond.

“We don’t play today. That’s the best way to look at it. We’ll see what Sunday brings,’’ wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El said. “We’ll just keep working at it that way.’’

Randle El said that Cephus was coming on last season before he got hurt.

“It was early but he was coming along. He’ll pick up where he left off if we need him to be out there Lif (Kalif) is Lif, he’s going to do his thing,’’ Randle El said.

They’ve all practiced at different spots for situations that arise like these.

“I think the biggest thing that changes is run blocking. Those guys don’t do some of that stuff. Although you see the guys blocking in the run game, they don’t do some of the going up and catching the linebacker and safety from the inside. They mostly do that from the outside unless it’s Saint,’’ Randel El said.

The coach played wide receiver for nine seasons in the NFL but hung up the cleats years ago. When asked if he would suit up Sunday, he had a quick answer: “I can run. It’s stopping that’s the problem,’’ he said.

(Next up: Seattle Seahawks (1-2) at Lions (1-2), 1 p.m. on Sunday at Ford Field.)


Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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