Injuries have hindered the Detroit Lions wide receiver room of late.
DJ Chark has missed the last two games with pain in the same ankle he fractured last September while playing with Jacksonville. He didn't practice Wednesday.
Also sitting out practice to begin the week was wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who has played through some nagging injuries the last couple weeks, but is now dealing with a knee injury suffered in the Week 5 loss in New England.
Amon-Ra St. Brown has been dealing with a high ankle sprain since Week 3. It forced him to miss the New England game, but the good news is he was back at practice Wednesday as a full participant.
But as banged up as the Lions are at receiver, that will not influence the timetable for the return of rookie first-round pick Jameson Williams, according to head coach Dan Campbell.
"We really felt like he's turning the corner over the last month," Campbell said of Williams, who's been rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in the National Championship Game back in January. "He's really – we feel like he's really coming on, and so, I would say we're pretty optimistic he's going to play this year.
"Now, that being said, the injuries are not going to have any bearing on when he plays. We're not going to let that affect us. When he's ready, then we'll get him up and ready to go, but we don't want to press that just because we have a number of injuries in the receiver room."
Count quarterback Jared Goff among those patiently – but also eagerly – awaiting Williams' return. Williams hauled in an Alabama single-season record four touchdowns of 70-plus yards last season, a number that led all Division 1 receivers. He totaled 11 touchdowns of 30-plus yards or more, which also led the nation.
"He's been doing a good job as far as I know with his rehab and staying engaged on the field," Goff said Wednesday of Williams. "He's asking good questions. He's a very smart guy. He's very inquisitive and very interested in what we're doing at all times. I know they are being careful with him, but I know they'll do their best to get him on the field as soon as they can."
MEETING WITH OWNERSHIP
Campbell sat down with principal owner and chair Sheila Hamp over the bye week to go over the state of the team. Campbell said they talked about things he felt they needed to be better at offensively, defensively and on special teams.
"I would say that she understands," Campbell said. "She's very supportive, but she's frustrated, I mean, and she should be. We all believe we should be better than where we're at. But I do know that she's all in, and I know that she believes in what Brad (Holmes) and I are doing."
The Lions put the pads back on for practice Wednesday and the physicality did ramp up.
"It was definitely more intense," Goff said of practice. "It was fun. Those guys (on defense) were flying around, and when their intensity raises, so does ours."
Campbell wanted to focus on more padded one-on-ones and competitive periods in practice this week, hoping that would spur more consistent play on Sundays.
"It felt like a camp practice out there," running back D’Andre Swift said. "Every time we have the pads on everybody is competitive. It was good though, we needed it."
Despite the offensive clunker in New England Week 5 before Detroit's bye week, the offensive numbers for the Lions heading into this week's matchup with Dallas are pretty darn impressive.
The Lions rank third in points per game (28.0), second in total offense (411.8), eighth in rushing (151.4) and seventh in passing (260.4).
Through Week 6, the Lions have produced 28 plays of 20-or-more yards, tied for the third most in the NFL behind only Buffalo (31) and Kansas City (29).
Detroit's offense is right there among the top offenses in the NFL in just about everything they do. They'll be tested again this week against a Dallas defense that ranks third in points allowed (16.3) and eighth in total defense (304.2)
The Cowboys have a plus-20 point differential in the first quarter of their six games this season. That's fourth best in the NFL. The Lions will have to find a way to start fast Sunday.