Defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike dealt with a back injury last year that prevented him from sitting in a chair at times during meetings. He was still able to play in 16 of Detroit's 17 games as a rookie, but it certainly zapped his explosiveness at times.
Onwuzurike spent the offseason strengthening his body and getting into better shape. He looked terrific to start camp, but injuries have popped up again as he hasn't practiced in over a week with what head coach Dan Campbell referred to as a back/hip issue.
Linebacker Julian Okwara has also been dealing with an undisclosed injury that's kept him out for a few practices now. Onwuzurike and Okwara are expected to be tasked with helping the Lions' pass rush be much more stout from the edge and the interior this season.
The good news is it doesn't look to be something that's long-term for either player, according to Campbell.
"I would say it's not serious but yet it's enough to where I can't tell you, 'Is it going to be a week, two weeks?' Campbell said. "But it's not a serious long-term issue by either one."
Speaking on Onwuzurike in particular, Campbell said he likes where Onwuzurike is at, despite the injury.
"I mean we just got to get it calmed down," he said. "The kid's in good place and he's getting back from it, but he's put in a lot of good work, and so we'll get him calmed down and get him right, get him realigned and I think he'll be fine."
BACKUP QB JOB
While the preseason is more of a tune-up for most of the starters and key reserves, for backup quarterbacks Tim Boyle and David Blough, starting with Friday night's preseason opener against Atlanta at Ford Field, it might be the most important film they put together in camp to decide who becomes Jared Goff's backup in the regular season.
"I feel like they're both better than they were in the spring," Campbell said of the competition. "And I would just say it's somewhat early in camp and until we get in these preseason games, I think that will tell a lot for us."
Goff and the starters are expected to get some work in against Atlanta, possibly around a quarter or so. After that, it will be the Blough and Boyle show with a lot on the line, and only three preseason games and a couple joint practices against the Colts to put good tape in against a different opponent.
Not only is the backup quarterback expected to be able to step in and hold down the fort if the starter goes down, but they also have to be a key voice in that room to help to prepare the starter week in and week out.
"It's seeing looks. I got to see Chase Daniel do it for a year and he was as prepared as our starter. He would study and know every pressure that was coming. He'd see every look," Blough said Tuesday. "Man, if I can help on one play in a game that would go for an explosive or create a first down or create a touchdown, that's a big part of their job."
We'll see in the coming weeks if a front runner emerges between the two.
AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Cornerback Jerry Jacobs was a great story for the Lions last season. An undrafted player who made the roster and eventually earned a starting spot, Jacobs was playing well at the end of last year before an ACL injury ended his rookie season in December.
Jacobs is a pit bull at the corner position and a favorite of Campbell. So when could we see him back on the field?
"Jerry's doing great," Campbell said. "And Jerry is – you talk about pulling the reigns back. We're constantly having to just keep him, 'Easy Jerry.' He is going. He's going, going. We're very pleased with Jerry."
Campbell said Jacobs is ahead of schedule about eight months into his rehab. That could mean we see him back on the field sooner rather than later.