Detroit began the season with a trio of wide receivers believed to be among the best in football. With a month left in the season, only one remains on the 53-man roster.
First the Lions traded away veteran slot receiver Golden Tate for a third-round pick at the trade deadline. Now veteran Marvin Jones Jr. is being placed on injured reserve because of the knee injury he suffered in the first matchup with Chicago Nov. 11.
The move ends Jones' season after he caught 35 passes for 508 yards and five touchdowns in nine games.
It leaves second-year wide receiver Kenny Golladay as the only member left from that starting trio. It also means Golladay will continue to be quarterback Matthew Stafford's go-to target the remaining five games of the season. Golladay has caught 13 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown the last two games the Lions have played without Jones.
"We'll adapt with whatever we've got to do as far as the latest injuries, whatever they are," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Monday after announcing the move to send Jones to IR. "We have to figure it out, roll with the next guy in there and see how it goes."
Alongside Golladay the last couple weeks the Lions have gotten good production out of veteran wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who was signed earlier this month right before Jones suffered the injury. The four-year veteran has caught 12 passes over the last two weeks and done a pretty good job taking some of the heat away from Golladay.
Running back Theo Riddick is also likely to continue to play a bigger role in the passing game like he has since the Tate trade. He's caught at least five passes in each of Detroit's last four contests.
Receivers TJ Jones, Andy Jones and Brandon Powell will also be in the mix to help out.
"It just gives other guys an opportunity to perform and go out and play at a high level and prepare and get ready to go," Patricia said. "Certainly from our standpoint that's what we're going to do and just do everything we can to figure it out."