The Detroit Lions have played pretty good defense through the first month the NFL season, particularly in their three wins, and could be getting a player on that side of the ball back into the fold Week 5 vs. Carolina.
The team signed veteran cornerback Emmanuel Moseley in free agency this offseason to be their starter on the outside opposite Cam Sutton. Moseley was a starter at cornerback for the 49ers last year but he suffered a torn ACL in October. He didn't take part in training camp for the Lions after undergoing another minor clean-up procedure right before camp.
The Lions didn't put him on the PUP list to start the season, which means they expected him back within a four-week time frame, but a hamstring injury popped up before the Seattle game and he's been working his way back from that since.
Head coach Dan Campbell expects that if practice goes well for Moseley this week, he will make his Lions debut Sunday at Ford Field vs. the Panthers.
"It makes us better," Campbell said of Moseley's potential return to the lineup. "We believe it will make us better. He's another guy we'd like to see if we can get him going this week.
"There again, if he does, he's a guy that we don't feel it would be smart to play him 60 plays, but he's certainly somebody that we like, 'Alright, let's get a look at this week.' Feel like the time is right and he'll get a little bit."
Campbell said third-year cornerback Jerry Jacobs would still get the majority of the load Sunday at one of the two outside cornerback spots. Jacobs has started each of the last four games and had two interceptions in the win over Green Bay last week.
In five starts for San Francisco last year before suffering the knee injury, opposing quarterbacks had just a 66.9 passer rating throwing Moseley's way with no touchdowns allowed in his coverage area.
The Lions were hopeful that an extra couple days of rest following last Thursday's win over Green Bay would be enough to get some of their injured players back.
As of Monday, it's still a wait-and-see game with rookie defensive back Brian Branch (ankle) and second-year safety Kerby Joseph (hip). Branch left the Packers game with an ankle injury, returned and left again. Joseph missed his second straight contest after being injured Week 2 vs. Seattle. Campbell said they'll just have to see how the week goes with both Branch and Joseph.
The news seemed better about left tackle Taylor Decker, however, after his gutsy performance in Green Bay playing on a high ankle sprain and bone bruise. Campbell said Monday Decker should be 'OK.'
Veteran defensive lineman John Cominsky is coming off arguably his best performance of the season in Green Bay with five tackles, seven total quarterback pressures, a sack, three hits on Packers quarterback Jordan Love and four QB hurries. He also made a critical play on a late two-point try by Green Bay that kept them out of the end zone and kept the Detroit lead at two scores at the time.
"He's kind of the secret sauce to all of it," Campbell said of Cominsky. "He's the ultimate hard-hat guy. He's got his lunch pail and his hard hat, and he just comes in and puts in a damn good day's worth of work.
"He handles a lot of jobs for us. He handles the big end. He can play three-technique inside. He's really one of the keys for us setting up our rush game when we get in third down and some of those things. He's physical, he's got push, he can separate, and he can play the run. He's a little bit of the unsung hero for us on the d-line."
FEDEX GROUND NOMINEE
Running back David Montgomery is a nominee for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. Montgomery carried the ball 32 times for 121 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Detroit's 34-20 win over Green Bay last week.
Montgomery was injured in the second half of the Lions' Week 2 loss to Seattle and missed their Week 3 win over Atlanta, but still has five rushing touchdowns on the year, which is second in the NFL behind only Christian McCaffrey (6) and Raheem Mostert (6).