Defensive tackle Mike Daniels sounds like a man motivated to make an impact when he returns to the football field.
“If you don’t have that feeling, you’re not a competitor,” Daniels said in the locker room after Lions practice Friday. “Any player that’s had to miss any amount of time, whether it’s one game, a quarter, even a series from injury, they feel like, ‘Okay, when I get back out here, I got to get rolling.’”
A foot injury cost Daniels six games to end last season with the Packers.
It’s been a different foot injury this year that’s kept him out of the Lions lineup since Week 3.
Daniels sounds like he's close to returning. The Lions listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game in Chicago.
“I can’t get too upset about it,” Daniels said of the injury. “I just got to keep rehabbing, which I have been doing, and I’m looking forward to getting some work this weekend.”
Daniels was signed this offseason to add a veteran, pass-rushing playmaker to the interior of Detroit’s defensive line. He showed an ability to be that player early for the Lions this year, generating four quarterback hurries over his first two games.
“Mike has a really good explosiveness, vertical into the line of scrimmage,” Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. “He plays with good pad level, he has low hands and he is really strong in the lower body. (He is) a pretty explosive guy out on the football field when he’s out there, and he’s moving at top speed and everything like that.”
Daniels said the big thing the last couple weeks in his return to practice has been getting in some of those familiar unfamiliar positions that football puts a player in.
He says he’s eager to get back to playing again. The Lions defensive front can certainly use the help. Daniels just hopes he can bring a lot of energy and a certain nastiness when he gets back out there that can make an immediate impact and help the Lions’ 31st ranked defense start to right the ship.
“Now’s the time,” Daniels said.
FUTURE PRO BOWLER?
The Chicago Tribune had an interesting note on Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay in preparation for Sunday’s game. The third-year receiver is on pace for 70 catches, 1,280 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.
According to Tribune research, over the last 10 seasons, NFL receivers have topped 1,200 receiving yards with at least 10 touchdowns 41 times and on 34 of those occasions, that production has resulted in an invitation to the Pro Bowl.
Safety Miles Killebrew took a hit in Thursday’s padded practice that put him in the concussion protocol, and he's been ruled out for Sunday's game.
Tracy Walker missed his third straight practice this week with a knee injury and has also been ruled out for Sunday, which leaves the Lions with only Will Harris, Tavon Wilson and C.J. Moore as healthy players at the safety position.
Cornerback Mike Ford played some safety in training camp. Newly signed cornerback Michael Jackson has a skill set that could translate to safety. Still, there’s certainly a possibility Detroit will be low on true safeties come Sunday.
“That’s why it’s is important for us to work guys in different positions through the course of training camp, through the course of the season,” Patricia said. “Sometimes we’ll actually work guys into different positions during the other side of the ball, when we’re giving kind of our show team looks.
“We’ll put guys in spots that maybe we see down the road that something might need to fill in or have some flexibility from that standpoint. So, we kind of work on that stuff well in advance, we’re always trying to problem solve those.”
The weather in Chicago Sunday calls for cloudy skies, temperatures in the low 40s and 11 mph winds. That's not too bad for a city and stadium that’s been known to kick up some high winds in November.
“Usually what the general rule is: The wind affects the kicking game first,” Patricia said. “First and foremost, you’re going to make sure that you really understand how and what phases it affects.”
Speaking of the kicking game, punter and kickoff man Sam Martin returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday and Thursday with an abdominal injury.