Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown said his injured toe is feeling 'good' and he'll be ready Sunday when the Lions host the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field.
St. Brown said Friday he injured the toe in the third quarter last week when his foot got bent back following a catch and tackle. He was able to battle through the pain and finish the game. He ended up catching six passes for 102 yards in Detroit's loss to Seattle last week. It was his seventh career 100-yard game. He leads the Lions in receptions (12) and receiving yards (173) through the first two games.
"It was sore after the game. Really sore," St. Brown said in the locker room after practice Friday. "But it's been getting better every day. I'm excited and happy that it's nothing too serious."
He said the injury is not turf toe but rather a bruised bone in the toe. He plans to play Sunday with a steel plate in his shoe so his toe can't bend as much.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
"I had one in high school I used to play with all the time, so I'm used to it," he said.
Atlanta has a good secondary and a stout defense overall, ranking third in total defense and second against the pass through their first two wins of the season. St. Brown acknowledged the challenge ahead of them but thinks offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will have a good plan. That plan is likely to lean heavily on St. Brown, especially with the Lions dealing with a number of injuries on that side of the ball.
"When there are injuries, guys have to step up," St. Brown said. "For me, I think that's what excites me that other guys get an opportunity. Some guys are itching for that opportunity, and this is their chance to get it so I'm excited for those guys."
The Falcons finished with the third best rushing offense in the NFL last year with 2,718 yards on the ground. They return four of their five starters upfront along the offensive line from last season and are currently on pace for 2,899 yards rushing this year, averaging 170.5 on the ground through two games.
While the terrific running back tandem of Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier has gotten a lot of the headlines, Lions defensive line coach John Scott Jr. knows everything starts upfront for the Falcons' run game. His guys up front on defense will need to get off the ball and be disciplined with their eyes if they want to limit Atlanta on the ground Sunday at Ford Field.
"When you watch their offensive line their footwork and the speed at which they run the outside zone, they do an outstanding job," Scott said Friday. "To me, that's what really makes them special. The offensive line and the interior guys, those guys' footwork and the speed at which they run side to side on those outside zone plays. They make it really tough on defensive linemen. You have to be locked in and looking at your keys."
The Lions have done a nice job against the run early this year ranking ninth in the NFL at 86.0 yards per game allowed on the ground. Scott said when teams struggle against a good running team like Atlanta it's usually because their eyes aren't in the right place or they are late off the ball. Those two things have been a point of emphasis for Scott and his defensive linemen this week.
When the Lions drafted defensive lineman Brodric Martin (6-5, 330) out of Western Kentucky in the third round of this year's NFL Draft they knew he was going to be a bit of a project early on. Pad level and technique were big buzz words for Martin in training camp.
The rookie has been inactive the first two games for the Lions, but Scott said he is seeing steady improvement from the big rookie.
"We talk about pad level and strike and to his credit we have seen some growth from this guy," Scott said. "He's continued to come on like we've talked about. In this league, you got to have great feet as a D-lineman, you have to be really disciplined with your eyes. Sometimes you can get away with that on another level but here you have to be good with your eyes. And pad level and strike are all important.
"So those are all the basic little things we work on. He's continued to make really good strides. We've been pleased at some of the things we've seen over the last couple weeks with him at practice. It's coming along."