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NOTEBOOK: Whitehead leaves game with knee injury

The Detroit Lions are waiting to hear back on the status of linebacker Tahir Whitehead and the knee injury he suffered in Friday night's 30-28 preseason loss to Patriots.

Whitehead was injured in the first half and didn't return to the game.

View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions' preseason Week 3 game vs. New England Patriots.

"I wouldn't know exactly until we have an opportunity tomorrow to sit down with the doctors and kind of see where he is," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Whitehead's injury after the game.

Whitehead led the Lions in tackles last season and is expected to play an important role in Teryl Austin's defense switching from the MIKE to the WILL. If his injury will keep him out any extended period of time, veteran Paul Worrilow or rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin could step in and fill the void.

Also leaving the contest due to injury was tight end Cole Wick, who injured his chest after taking a big hit attempting to catch a short crossing route. Wick was down the on the field for several minutes before being helped off.

Running back Zach Zenner and safety Miles Killebrew didn't play in the game as both are dealing with undisclosed injuries.


For the second straight contest, Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones Jr. hooked up for a touchdown. Last week it was a perfectly timed fade route. Friday night, against a very good New England defense, it was a perfect pitch and catch on a 23-yard go route.

Stafford and Jones have been on the same page all throughout training camp, and it certainly seems from watching Jones over the last month that he's much more comfortable in this offense and much more in sync with Stafford.

"I think there's always room for improvement, from both of us, and we'll continue to try and keep getting better," Stafford said. "But you know, it's nice to throw and complete some balls down the field."

Jones was targeted seven times by Stafford. He caught four passes for 62 yards.


Detroit still has one more preseason game to figure out who will be returning kickoffs and punts Week 1, and Caldwell plans on using all the data available to him before making a final decision.

"Yeah, fortunately we have one more week, one more week to kind of make those decisions and we'll kind of look at it and see who we need to see more of, make our evaluations from this game, and try to get in position where we can come to some final conclusions here shortly," he said. "So, next week's going to be a big week for us."

Rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew has gotten a long look at punt returner. He's been solid handling the ball up until Friday. He tried to make a difficult catch along the sideline and muffed one, but it went out of bounds. He had two returns for 10 yards.

Second-year running back Dwayne Washington has gotten the most reps at kickoff return. He had two returns for just 38 yards (19.0 average) against the Patriots.

It still looks to be Agnew and Washington as the top candidates for either job, but next week's preseason finale in Buffalo could be the determining factor.


Not taking part in Friday's contest were: TE Eric Eborn, RB Zach Zenner, S Miles Killebrew, WR TJ Jones, S Don Carey, T Cyrus Kouandjio, CB Adairius Barnes, LB Thurston Armbrister, WR Dontez Ford, WR Noel Thomas and WR Dez Stewart.

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