Donovan Peoples-Jones is from Detroit, went to Cass Tech High School and played his college football at Michigan. He said Thursday he's excited and blessed to be back in Detroit playing for the Lions after the team traded a 2025 sixth-round pick for him at the trade deadline last week.
Having the bye last week was big in terms of helping him get an extra week to get acclimated to the playbook and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's scheme. He's hopeful it will allow him to help the offense and potentially special teams as soon as Sunday's game in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
"Very helpful," he said of the bye. "Give me a chance to settle in and get adjusted to some things. I think it was very helpful."
Peoples-Jones gives the Lions more size (6-2, 204), speed (4.48) and versatility at the wide receiver position with his ability to play the X, Y and Z. He said he's following the coaches' plan for him and thinks he's acclimating to his new surroundings and new teammates pretty quickly. He thinks the locker room is an amazing culture fit and he's fitting in nicely in the receiver room.
"I mean you're talking about 6'2, 210 and can run under a 4.5. So, those guys don't grow on trees, and I think so far what we've seen from him is exactly that," Johnson said of Peoples-Jones. "Really fluid route runner, strong hands, big catch radius and I think he can work both outside and inside.
"And probably, even better than that at least from my perspective, is everyone talks about how smart he is. And so, that's something that we really need in that room. We ask a lot out of our guys lining up in different areas and being very detailed. So, I think he'll fit in really nicely."
Johnson also said the addition of Peoples-Jones could really help them in the red zone, one of the few areas where the Lions have struggled at times this season, ranking just 24th in the NFL.
The Lions are on the road this week but then they come home to face the Bears on Nov. 18. Something tells me Peoples-Jones will have a lot of ticket requests from family and friends who will be eager to see him play in his hometown once again.
GLASGOW AT RIGHT GUARD
Veteran interior offensive lineman Graham Glasgow has been one of the most consistent and important free-agent signings for Detroit this season.
The Lions signed Glasgow this offseason to be their backup center and compete for a starting spot at right guard. Glasgow lost a close camp battle for the starting right guard spot to fellow veteran Halapoulivaati Vaitai but it wasn't long before Glasgow was called into a starting role due to injury.
So far through eight games he's started six games total – one at center, one at left guard and four at right guard. Pro Football Focus currently has him as the eighth highest graded guard in the NFL.
With Jonah Jackson set to return from a high ankle sprain that kept him out of the last three games and Frank Ragnow's return after missing a game due to a calf injury, Lions head coach Dan Campbell was asked Wednesday if Glasgow has earned the right to start at right guard moving forward.
"Yeah, I think so. I think that's fair," Campbell said. "We're always assessing (Vaitai) Big V and V's still working at it, but Graham's certainly been productive for us.
"He's been productive in three different spots. I mean, left guard, center and then certainly, right guard before that, so he's been a big asset for us. I mean that was a good signing for us to get and fortunate to have him. So, he's a steady, reliable piece for us."
One of the areas earmarked for improvement by Campbell after the self-scout over the bye week was improving Detroit's turnover numbers. Campbell said the Lions' zero turnover differential (10 takeaways vs. 10 giveaways) 'isn't good enough.'
The turnover number is the biggest statistic in deciding wins and losses in most football games but this week the Lions are certainly more aware of it given the opponent. The Lions play the Chargers in Los Angeles Sunday, and they currently lead the NFL with a plus-nine turnover differential. The Chargers have forced nine fumbles (leads NFL) and picked off six passes to record 15 takeaways. Their offense has turned it over only six times (four interceptions, two fumbles) all year.
"For the most part, when we've had these turnovers, we've been able to overcome them. I mean, we're sitting here at zero margin right now, which isn't good enough. We've got to be better than that," Campbell said.
"But it will be everything because this team has proven that when they get these takeaways, they're very dangerous because they have a potent offense and they have a defense that's able to – they're creating them, right. So, it's going to be very important, particularly on the road."