Matthew Stafford didn't take part in Detroit's indoor practice in Allen Park Wednesday as the Lions began on-field preparations for Sunday's matchup in Tennessee against the AFC South leading Titans (9-4).
Stafford suffered a rib injury late last week in the loss to Green Bay, and the Lions are taking a cautious approach with their veteran quarterback this week in hopes he could still play Sunday.
Stafford said Wednesday he's resting up and hasn't ruled himself out yet.
"I think I just need to be able to function," Stafford said of what he'll need to see from himself at the end to week to decide if he can play or not. "I need to be able to play and play at a high level. It's going to take some time. Going to have to rest, but I'm not counting myself out."
Bevell said Stafford won't need to practice this week to play Sunday in Tennessee. We saw that earlier in the year when Stafford was placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list in early November after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive. He didn't practice at all ahead of the team's Week 9 matchup in Minnesota, and played in the game after coming off the list the Saturday before. He threw for 211 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss to the Vikings.
This is obviously a little bit different situation in that it's an injury Stafford's dealing with this week. Rib injuries can be painful, and Bevell said they'll take it right down to the end of the week to see if Stafford can play or not.
"He's going to have to make sure he can handle whatever the level of pain he's in, that's going to be a big factor in it," Bevell said. "And can he function with that pain level? Those are really going to be the two things."
Speaking of injuries, Lions center Frank Ragnow sat out practice Wednesday with a throat injury.
Stafford said Ragnow told him about the injury and how it was affecting his speech and how he'd have to make the line calls. Stafford said it was crazy how Ragnow stayed in the game. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel, who also took snaps from Ragnow Sunday, agreed.
"It's pretty impressive what he was able to do," Daniel said. "It's pretty incredible when your throat is fractured and you're used to making all the calls."
STILL NO GOLLADAY
Bevell said Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay will also miss practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with a hip injury suffered Week 8 in the loss to Indianapolis.
"I don't have any update right now in terms of anything different than what he's been doing," Bevell said. "He's still continuing to rehab trying to get himself back to play, he's just not quite all the way there yet."
The injury has prevented Golladay from playing in the team's last six games.
Through his first 48 career punts, Lions punter Jack Fox is averaging 49.5 gross yards per punt and 45.5 net yards per punt, both of which lead the NFL. Fox is on pace for the highest gross average and net average through a player's first 50 punts in NFL history.
His current marks would eclipse the record of Seattle punter Michael Dickson set in 2018, when he recorded a 48.80 gross average and 44.10 net average through his first 50 punts in 2018.
NOT JUST HENRY
A lot of focus this week will be placed on the Lions' defense having to contain NFL leading rusher Derrick Henry for the Lions to have a shot at upsetting the Titans in Tennessee Sunday, and for good reason. Henry is a beast.
But maybe flying under the radar a bit is the talented receiving duo of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis on the outside for the Titans. While a lot of talk in Tennessee is surrounding Henry's chances for a 2,000-yard season entering Sunday with 1,532 yards with three games to go, Brown and Davis also have a pretty good shot this year to be dual 1,000-yard receivers for the Titans.
Brown has caught 51 passes for 837 yards (16.4 average) with nine touchdowns. Davis, a former Western Michigan Bronco, has caught 56 passes for 835 yards (14.9) with four scores.
"Derrick Henry is the leader and that's how they want to build the thing, and kind of the same thing that I've been preaching here is, when you have a solid run game in the way that they're able to use him, it really opens up the explosions in the pass game in terms of play action and that kind of thing," Bevell said.
- The Lions are averaging 7.9 scrimmage yards per touch on 609 offensive touches this season, tied with Green Bay for fourth highest in the NFL. They trail only Kansas City (8.5), Houston (8.3) and Seattle (8.0).