The Notebook

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NOTEBOOK: Scarbrough to face toughest test yet in Bucs' run defense

Running back Bo Scarbrough has 301 rushing yards in four games since taking over as Detroit's lead back a month ago. He's brought toughness, physicality and production to Detroit's run game. He's averaging just a touch over 75 yards per game on the ground.

Scarbrough's been productive even against tough defenses in Chicago and Minnesota the last two weeks. It doesn't get any easier for Scarbrough this week. Tampa Bay and their No. 1 ranked rushing defense come to Ford Field Sunday, and they might be Scarbrough's stiffest test yet.

"I think the Bucs have done an unbelievable job with the run game," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said. "It obviously starts inside. They have great players at the line of scrimmage, (Vita) Vea is doing a great job of holding the point. He's a big body guy, he's explosive, he's strong. (They're) really kind of built around him.

"Obviously, (Ndamukong) Suh, we know what a great player he is. You know, (Jason) Pierre-Paul – I just think they have some really outstanding guys in the front."

View photos from Detroit Lions players handing out holiday gifts to students at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle School as part of the Meijer Season of Sharing Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 in Detroit.

Those players upfront allow linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White to play fast, free and aggressive, and it's resulted in the Bucs having the league's best run defense, which, coincidentally for Scarbrough, is giving up just over 75 yards per game on the ground (75.5).

Sunday will be a terrific test to see if Scarbrough can continue to be one of the good storylines for the Lions in a season that's had too few of them up to this point. 

"I think this is a big challenge for me," Scarbrough said Wednesday. "Tampa Bay, they have a really good front seven. Those guys fly to the ball. The linebackers are really fast side to side and they get downhill. They do a lot of moving.

"It'll be a challenge for me, but for me, we just got to do what we do and run the ball efficiently, try to run the ball downhill and try to hit them early."

WR DEPTH

With the news Tuesday that wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. was headed to IR, coupled with the fact that the Lions have just three healthy receivers on the roster (Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and Chris Lacy), it won't be the least bit surprising if the Lions sign another receiver to the active roster sometime this week.

With no signing taking place up to this point, it seems like a logical conclusion the Lions could decide to sign one of their three practice squad receivers to the active roster later this week.

That group consists of Travis Fulgham, who the Lions drafted in the sixth round this offseason, former professional lacrosse player turned receiver Tom Kennedy and Victor Bolden, who spent the last two seasons with the 49ers and Bills before Detroit signed him to their practice squad on Dec. 3.

"We'll do the best job that we can to put whoever it is, whether it is a wide receiver, another skill position, whatever that sort of game plan calls for, in positions to try to make plays," Patricia said.

SUH RETURN

For the second straight season, former Lions No. 2 overall pick in 2010, Ndamukong Suh, will return to play at Ford Field, this time as a member of the Buccaneers' terrific defensive front. Suh played for the Los Angeles Rams last year, who beat Detroit at Ford Field in Week 13.

Lions center Frank Ragnow said Wednesday he's anticipating a tough matchup inside with Suh. Ragnow talked about Suh's power and strength still being a big part of his game.

Suh's played in every game for the Bucs this year, just like he's done in each of the last nine years with the Rams, Dolphins and Lions, though his tackle (31) and sack (1.5) numbers are on track to be below his career averages.

"He's still big, long, explosive, powerful, all those things, and I'm sure he'll be extremely fired up to come here and play," Patricia said of Suh.

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