Detroit Lions RB Ty Johnson and S Tracy Walker return; Stafford out vs. Cowboys

DETROIT — While Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford, Da’Shawn Hand and Rick Wagner were ruled out on Friday, Romeo Okwarais is also inactive in today’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.

Running back Ty Johnson, who sustained a concussion last week at Chicago, will return which will be a boost to the running back bunch. On Saturday, the Lions signed RB Bo Scarbrough to the active roster from the practice squad and released RB Paul Perkins.

Damon “Snacks” Harrison (groin), Sam Martin (abdomen) and Tracy Walker (knee) are active. They had all been listed as questionable on Friday. 

It’s the second straight game that Stafford (back/hip) will sit out. Coach Matt Patricia said on Friday that he is following a doctor’s plan and doing well. Jeff Driskel will start his second consecutive game. He took first-team snaps in practice this week so should be more prepared.

Right tackle Rick Wagner, who sustained a concussion in the loss at Chicago last week, will miss his first start this season.

Defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (ankle) has played in just two games this season. This will be his second straight game sitting out.

Other Lions inactives: T Dan Skipper, G Beau Benzschawel and CB Michael Jackson.

The Lions (3-5-1) have lost five of their last six while the Cowboys (5-4) are coming off a loss to the Vikings.

 

Detroit Lions lack of depth shows in 31-3 preseason loss to New England Patriots

DETROIT — It wasn’t that the Lions lost to the New England Patriots 31-3 in the preseason opener, it was how they lost.

Of course, most starters did not play but that’s the way it was for both teams in the game at Ford Field on Thursday.

So no matter how you paint it, it was not pretty. Camp is not over and depth at certain positions (including the offensive line) seems to be an issue

The Patriots scored four touchdowns while the Lions managed just eight first downs.

Lions quarterbacks Tom Savage (who started) and backup David Fales were sacked nine times losing 81 yards. To start the second half guards Kenny Wiggins and Graham Glasgow were in, giving Fales a little more protection.

At the end of that ugly first half New England had amassed 262 yards while the Lions could only manage 28. When it was over the Patriots had 459 total net yards while the Lions had 93.

Need more examples?

Patriots rookie wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, who was not drafted, caught two touchdown passes — once beating safety Miles Killebrew in coverage and then getting past cornerback Mike Ford on the second score. 

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

“Obviously a long night for us here, with the game not obviously how we wanted it to go. Give the Patriots credit, they came out and played hard, they did a great job of executing plays they ran tonight,’’ coach Matt Patricia said. “We have to do a better job of going out and competing and we have to do a better job of executing the plays we need to execute at.’’

Patricia didn’t seem angry, just more determined. He knows what needs to be done.

It’s a loss but it’s a preseason game and, like he mentioned, it was their first game in seven months.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re in the middle of camp, we’ve got to keep grinding away and get better,’’ said Patricia whose team will head to Houston next week for joint practices before the preseason game at Houston on Aug. 17.

A few times he mentioned that the improvements have to start with the coaches.

“You always try to evaluate the first game and some of the things you’re working on when you go through practice,’’ Patricia said. “Things you see in practice you want to make sure that transfers over to the game, that will be a big part of the evaluation.’’

Not too many highlights but running back Ty Johnson had a few nice runs — officially three carries for 22 yards but he had a long scamper called back. While Killebrew got beat on one touchdown he had six tackles which was tied with safety Andrew Adams and rookie cornerback Amani Oruwariye. 

In case there was any question to why most starters did not see action, the Lions had two go down with what could be serious injuries before the end of the first quarter.

Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was carted off with a left leg in jury less than three minutes into the game. Patriots’ Terrence Brooks rolled onto Kearse’s leg and twisted it. The veteran had a chance to make the Lions’ roster as the fourth wide receiver. No word on the severity of his injury, but the replay did not look good. 

Backup quarterback Tom Savage was sacked on back-to-back plays, hitting the top of his head on the second one. He left the game and didn’t return. It looked like it could have been a concussion but no official word.

Patricia said they are in an evaluation process for all the injured players so no updates.

Then in the second quarter, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo suffered what appeared to be a left leg injury. He was helped off the field by trainers.

Zach Zenner was taken into the popup blue tent on the sideline likely to be evaluated for a concussion but he was soon back on the bench.

The Lions have Friday off and then will continue training camp on Saturday and Sunday.

UPDATED: Detroit Lions draft WR Travis Fulgham, RB Ty Johnson in 6th round

Lions turn to offense after 4 defensive picks

ALLEN PARK — The Lions drafted wide receiver Travis Fulgham (Old Dominion) with the 184th pick in the sixth round, then took a breath and selected running back Ty Johnson (Maryland) with the 186th pick.

Fulgham, who is 6-2 and 215 pounds, walked on to Old Dominion with only two years’ playing experience in high school and worked his way into a scholarship quickly. Fulgham contributed as a redshirt freshman (6-89-8.9) and then started all 13 games in 2016 (29-478-16.5, eight TD). His game took a step back in 2017 (30-394-13.1, one TD) with only seven starts in 12 appearances.

Fulgham formed a strong duo with Jonathan Duhart in 2018, joining his teammate on the second-team All-Conference USA squad and leading the conference with 1,083 receiving yards (63 receptions, 17.2 average) and scoring nine times in 12 games (eight starts) for the Monarchs.

Growing up his favorite wide receiver was Randy Moss.

“But over the past few years, Larry Fitzgerald, ‘Megatron’ (Calvin Johnson Jr.) of course, Detroit Lion, you know. I definitely watched a lot of his film throughout my career and I’ve tried to pick out little things from numerous amounts of receivers,’’ the wide receiver said.

“Fulgham is a big, competitive target with above-average ball skills, but a lack of separation traits could limit his ability to uncover against NFL press corner,’’ per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.

Johnson, who is 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, had success returning kickoffs for touchdowns both at Michigan Stadium and at Ohio State. He became just the fourth Terrapin to surpass 4,000 all-purpose yards last October.

He’s not sure what his role will be with the Lions.

“It could be anything. I just want to come in and if it’s at kick return, that’s fine. If it’s at running back, it’s fine. I just want to come in and be one of the biggest contributors on the team and just play and win,’’ Johnson said in a conference call.

He’s already familiar with Ford Field where he played with the Terrapins in the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl. He scored on runs of 62 and 30 yards.

“It was a great experience. I’m just really excited to be a part of that and be a part of that field as a Lion. Just keep the games going, keep that performances going. I’m just ready to get there and learn and do what I can,’’ Johnson said.

He is one of four players in Maryland history to record at least 10 100-yard rushing games. He rushed for 1,004 yards as a sophomore in 2016 setting the Maryland record for yards per carry (minimum 100 attempts) at 9.1.

As a senior started in nine games, missing the final two due to a calf injury.

In earlier rounds the Lions drafted tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round (eighth overall), linebacker Jahlani Tavai in the second (43rd overall), safety Will Harris in the third round (81st overall), defensive end Austin Bryant in the fourth round (117th overall) and cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the firth round (146th overall).