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NOTEBOOK: Jacobs excited to play snaps on defense this week

After two games of playing mostly on special teams, the Lions plan to play second-year cornerback Jerry Jacobs a little bit more on defense this week against Green Bay.

"Yeah, we'd like to get Jerry in the game for sure," Campbell said Friday. "He'll continue on special teams, and then we'd like to work him some outside, just see if we can bring him along here – because every week, he's gotten better and better, getting his legs under him, his conditioning, all those things, so we see him working a little bit."

Jacobs has been working back into form the last two weeks after returning to practice from the PUP list last month. He tore his ACL last December in Denver.

The Lions have struggled on defense through seven games, and particularly in the secondary. They've tried to find the right combination of personnel to give them more consistency.

Jacobs, who was an undrafted free agent, earned a starting role last season and played well. In 13 games (nine starts), quarterbacks completed just 59 percent of their passes in his coverage with a 90.5 rating with just one touchdown allowed.

Jacobs said Friday he appreciated how the team approached his return by easing him back into the mix on special teams and allowing him to get his legs and feet under him after so much time off rehabbing the knee. Jacobs played 16 special teams snaps the last two weeks.

Now he's ready to make his mark on the defense.

"We've talked and they are going to give me a shot (on defense) this week and I'm ready," Jacobs said. "I'm so excited. I could run through a brick wall right now. I've just got so much in me right now I want to put out on the field.

"The coaches know what I can do. I'm just ready to go out there and perform like I did last year. I'm going to perform better because I now know what it takes from playing (last year). I'm ready to go. I feel great."

Jacobs plays a physical brand of football at the line of scrimmage, something the Lions are looking to feature more of in the secondary. Maybe Jacobs can provide a spark.


The thing that jumped out the most to Lions quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell when watching tape of the Packers' defense was how well Green Bay has been on third down.

"They are the second best team on third down in the NFL," Brunell said Friday. "That's tough. We haven't exactly been great on third down. So, that's probably our biggest challenge."

Opponents are converting on third down just 29.9 percent of the time against Green Bay's defense this season.

To Brunell's point, the Lions have been pretty good across the board on offense this year, but they're only 23rd in third-down offense, converting just 37.4 percent of the time.

"For us, it's really this third-down package that they present," Brunell said. "For me, big emphasis on third down and our quarterbacks making good decisions, being on time and just getting the ball to the right place. Identifying when they do bring pressure and executing."


We'll see if wide receiver Josh Reynolds is able to play Sunday after missing practice this week with a back injury. If not, the Lions could be a little short at receiver, literally and figuratively.

With DJ Chark (6-4), Jameson Williams (6-1) and Quintez Cephus (6-1) either on NFI or IR and not available Sunday, that leaves just Reynolds (6-3) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (6-0) as receivers currently on the roster at least six feet tall or above.

The Lions could opt to promote Brandon Zylstra (6-2) from the practice squad ahead of Sunday's game to give them some more size at receiver.

"We'll tweak a couple of things," Campbell said of the receiver position heading into Sunday. "You've got to lean on your tight ends a little bit, which we'll have plenty going into the game. We still have Leaf (Kalif Raymond), we've got Saint (St. Brown). We'll see where (D'Andre) Swift goes, and then we'll probably bring a guy or two up."


It was a loose start to practice Friday as the offensive linemen joined the receivers and running backs in the 25-yard takeoff drill the offensive skill position players do every Friday while catching passes from the quarterbacks.

Coaches and teammates talk all the time about right tackle Penei Sewell's athleticism, but it really stood out in those drills. Sewell runs with such ease and after catching one ball he pulled a couple juke moves out of his bag of tricks. He could probably shift to tight end for a game and do well there. The guy is an athletic freak at 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds.

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