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NOTEBOOK: Rookie St. Brown building chemistry with Goff

Quarterbacks love having a security-blanket receiver to throw to, a pass catcher they can look to when it's a got-to-have it situation or when they need a key touchdown.

For Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff, that's becoming rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown.

"Sure, I think it's growing," Goff said Wednesday. "That's the role that as a slot guy and what he can do, he'd like to grow into and we're getting there and I'd like him to grow into that too because it's a nice thing for a quarterback to have."

St. Brown was that guy for Goff two weeks ago when the Lions needed a touchdown from the 11-yard line with just four seconds remaining to beat Minnesota. He's been Goff's favorite target the last two weeks, recording 10 receptions against the Vikings and eight last week in Denver, becoming the first Lions rookie to record seven receptions in back-to-back games in franchise history and the first rookie to have three games with seven-plus receptions in their first season.

"I think Saint in particular, you just see these last couple of these games, he's a special a player and has that ability to be really special for a long time and has done a good job," Goff said. "We're excited about him and hope to continue to see his production go."

St. Brown leads all Lions wide receivers in targets (76), receptions (57) and receiving yards (511) on the year.

"I think chemistry is the biggest thing," St. Brown said Thursday. "You can't really teach chemistry. That really just comes with time, being around each other. The more you're around certain players, the more chemistry you get. I think the more we play the more you can tell the timing is getting better each and every week and we're looking forward to keep improving."

St. Brown said two things he's working towards to end the season are recording his first 100-yard receiving game and improving his run after the catch numbers.


The Lions placed a seventh defensive back on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, further affecting their numbers in the secondary.

Currently on the list are: Safeties Tracy Walker and Jalen Elliott, and cornerbacks Ifeatu Melifonwu, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Corey Ballentine, Mark Gilbert and Bobby Price.

Detroit is already without Jeff Okudah (Achilles) and Jerry Jacobs (ACL) the rest of the year.

Still, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn refuses to use illness or injury as an excuse for subpar play from his defense.

"I know it's a cliché and everybody says it, but this league is really like it's a next man up mentality," Glenn said Thursday. "That's how we've got to operate. Even with all of the issues that's going on with the COVID related stuff, it's still next man up. We make no excuses, everybody gets coached, everybody's in the meeting room and we've just got to make sure that we play at a high level.

"Everybody cashes a check, so I expect you to know what to do when you go on the field. And, that's just what it is. In everything that we do, 'If you've been here long enough to understand our system, then we expect you to go out there and operate the way we need you to operate.'"


With D'Andre Swift missing his second straight practice this week and Jamaal Williams still on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Craig Reynolds and Jermar Jefferson were taking the bulk of the first-team reps at running back in the open portion of Thursday's practice.

Reynolds led the Lions with 11 carries last week in Denver for 83 yards in his first action of the season. Jefferson is off the injury report this week after dealing with ankle and illness issues the last couple weeks.

Don't be surprised if we see Reynolds first up with Jefferson and Godwin Igwebuike worked into the mix.

"Craig Reynolds Sunday was the way he's been practicing," offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said Thursday. "He was not a surprise to anyone. That's just who he is. Duce Staley, his coach, calls him 'Netflix' because he was home watching Netflix one day and the next night he was scoring touchdowns. That's just Craig. We love him."


The Lions have certainly missed Frank Ragnow this season. He's one of the best centers in the game and one of the key players for the Lions upfront along their offensive line. It was a big blow when they lost him the first month of the season.

But give backup Evan Brown some credit for the way he's stepped in and played in Ragnow's absence. He's currently the fourth highest graded pass blocker at center by Pro Football Focus and a top 18 player overall at the position.

"As any player should, you got to take pride in how you perform," Brown said Thursday. "Improve my game one area at a time and continue to get better each week."

The Lions really missed Brown last week in Denver when he wasn't available due to landing on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Brown is off the list and back at practice this week. He is expected to assume starting duties Sunday against Arizona.

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