Reinforcements are on the way coming out of the bye week for the Detroit Lions.
Running back David Montgomery, center Frank Ragnow and guard Jonah Jackson all took part in Tuesday's practice in Allen Park after also taking part in a light practice Monday morning. In fact, all 53 players on the active roster took part in practice for the Lions on Tuesday.
Being on the field Tuesday is a good sign that Montgomery, Jackson and Ragnow are trending toward playing Sunday in Los Angeles when the Lions take on the Chargers.
"Yeah, I think so," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Monday on the likelihood all are available to play this weekend as long as there are no setbacks this week.
"We'll see (Tuesday) when we pad them up, but they've been trending the right way now for a while, so certainly hopeful."
Montgomery has missed the last two games due to a rib injury suffered in Detroit's Week 6 win in Tampa Bay. He had back-to-back 100-yard, one-touchdown performances the two weeks prior to getting injured. He's averaging 4.1 yards per carry on the season with six touchdowns. His return would give the Lions a terrific one-two punch in the backfield with rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, who is coming off a 152-yard rushing performance with a touchdown in Detroit's Week 8 win over Las Vegas.
"Certainly, we know what David can do, but we know that Gibbs has gotten better every week, so we're going to ask those guys to do things they do well and that help our offense move the football," Campbell said of the two backs sharing the backfield.
"So, I don't think, necessarily sitting here talking to you right now, that I see Gibbs getting 65 plays. I don't see that, but he's going to get his fair share, now. We know what he can be and he's growing. So, I think it'll be a little bit by committee and make sure we get those guys touches. Gibbs will get his touches."
Jackson has missed the Lions' last three games with a high ankle sprain and Ragnow sat out the Raiders game before the bye week with a calf injury. Getting Ragnow back would allow veteran Graham Glasgow, who has filled in for both Ragnow and Jackson over the last few weeks to move back over to right guard. Glasgow is currently graded in the top 10 among all guards by Pro Football Focus halfway through the season.
"We're finally back. The band is back together and it's time to put on a show," Jackson said Tuesday of the offensive line being back healthy after the team has started seven different combinations upfront in their first eight games.
"How do we keep it together? Staying healthy and keeping 330 pound men off your ankles."
The Lions face a Chargers' defense that ranks 30th in total defense, sixth against the run and 32nd against the pass heading into Sunday.
Edge rushers in the NFL are judged mostly on the impact they make on the opposing quarterback with sacks being the No. 1 stat people look at to judge that effectiveness.
For coaches it's a little different. Lions defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said Tuesday he looks more at the impact the rush had overall. Did it affect the quarterback? Move him off his spot? Speed up his clock to lead to a bad decision or bad throw? Did a rush not get all the way home but set up a sack for a teammate? All factors used in grading edge performance.
Lions defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson is on a little bit of a sack drought going his last three games without a sack, but over the last three games Hutchinson has 11 tackles and nine quarterback hurries. The Lions are 2-1 over that stretch having played really good defense in wins over Tampa Bay and Las Vegas.
"My goal every game is to just rush as good as I can win my one-on-ones and I feel like as long as you control the controllable and you focus on that that's always been my mentality my entire career," Hutchinson said Tuesday.
"The sacks come when they come and if you try to start forcing sacks – I'm happy with everyone getting production and as long as we're getting wins. I'm looking for the playoffs. I'm looking at that run."
Hutchinson's 4.5 sacks on the season are tied for 35th in the NFL. His pass-rush win rate of 18.7 percent is top 10 in the NFL and his 35 quarterback hurries are tied for the second most behind only Maxx Crosby (40).
CHARGERS PASS RUSH
Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa shined in primetime Monday night in Los Angeles' win over the New York Jets, finishing the game with a stat line of 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and tackle for loss.
The Chargers finished with eight total sacks, four tackles for loss, seven passes defended and three takeaways in the win over the Jets. It was the team's fourth game of five-plus sacks this season, tied for most in the NFL as they are now tied for the second most sacks in the NFL at 31.
"Good front," Lions quarterback Jared Goff said of the Chargers' defense. "Good at every level. Good front, good backers, good in the back end. Really talented. Fly around. (Khalil) Mack and (Joey) Bosa are the guys that you have to be really worried about and what they can do in the pass and run game."
Lions tight ends coach Steve Heiden on Sam LaPorta's football IQ: "He processes fast. He's done a nice job. It's probably as good as I've seen from a rookie."