The Lions placed veteran wide receiver Tyrell Williams on injured reserve Thursday with a concussion, meaning Detroit's top receiver entering the season will miss at least the next three games.
Williams was injured in the fourth quarter of Detroit's Week 1 loss to San Francisco, when he took an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit by 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt trying to make a catch down the left seam. Williams caught two passes for 14 yards before the hit. He hasn't played since.
Through two games, the Lions have been led in receptions by tight end T.J. Hockenson (16), running back D'Andre Swift (12) and running back Jamaal Williams (11). The team's leading wide receiver is second-year player Quintez Cephus, who has seven receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
"I think he's put some positive things on tape, some things he can build on," offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said of Cephus' start to the 2021 season. "We know there's definitely room for improvement, but I think he's doing a good job."
The Lions will continue to look to get more out of that receiver room from players like Trinity Benson, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Kalif Raymond.
Another transaction that could impact Sunday for Detroit is the team placing kicker Austin Seibert on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Seibert's return depends on his vaccination status.
Vaccinated players who test positive can rejoin the team, once asymptomatic, by testing negative twice in a 24-hour span. Unvaccinated players who test positive must stay away from the team a minimum of 10 days.
If Seibert isn't available to play Sunday, the Lions would most likely elevate kicker Ryan Santoso from the practice squad. Seibert is 2-for-3 on field goal tries this year and has made all four of his extra-point tries.
If Santoso is called up, he will be the fifth kicker the Lions have had on the active roster this season.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOCKING
Running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley made it clear from the very first time he spoke to the media that a running back who can't block and protect the quarterback is a running back who will never play for him.
That message has been emphasized in Detroit's running back room this week with the Baltimore Ravens and their aggressive blitzing scheme coming to town to play the Lions at Ford Field Sunday.
The Ravens have blitzed more than any team in the NFL through the first two weeks (44 percent), and Staley knows his backs need to step in front of a few of those and make blocks in Sunday's game.
"Very important," Staley said Thursday. "Got to be able to protect the quarterback. We talked about it, we've been harping on it. This (Baltimore) defense does a good job of coming from all over the field so we have to make sure our eyes are in the right place, just not the backs, that's everybody, make sure our eyes are in the right place and make sure the calls are right."
PRICE IS RIGHT
Fellow rookie cornerback A.J. Parker had a simple message for Bobby Price ahead of what could be Price's first career start at cornerback Sunday.
"Football is a game of confidence, especially out there playing defensive back," said Parker, Detroit's rookie starting nickel cornerback. "Confidence is key. I just told (Price) to trust himself and play with the utmost confidence and he'll be fine."
Price, who was converted from safety to cornerback in training camp, was thrown into the mix late Monday night in Green Bay after Ifeatu Melifonwu went down with a thigh injury and didn't return.
"At first I was a little nervous," Price admitted. "Just being out there started to get comfortable after a few plays. I just realized it's football at the end of the day."
He finished allowing three catches for 20 yards on five passes thrown his way on the night.
"For Bobby to come in, to understand his responsibility for our special teams and then be able to operate, understand the game plan, be it operate the way we want the game plan, and as physical as he was, we put him in some tough situations, now," defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said of Price Thursday.
"There were some zero coverages that we ran that, listen, I was going to get after the quarterback, and Bobby did a really good job of holding up in coverage.
"But that's who Bobby is. You try to take each person and try to make sure their skill set matches exactly what you want to call and that's something that Bobby can do."