The Lions announced Wednesday that they placed guard T.J. Lang on Reserve/Injured with a neck injury.
"T.J. is a good guy and was a good friend of mine and a great player," center Graham Glasgow said in the locker room Wednesday. "He was a good veteran leader and that's somebody all of us will need to pick up the slack."
Lang had been splitting time with guard Kenny Wiggins as he battled with injuries this year, and Wiggins started in Lang's place when he was unable to go at all. Wiggins is the likely replacement now that Lang is on IR.
"He's a great teammate, great in our room, a bunch of experience," Wiggins said. "Right now we just have to stick together and keep playing. (This week) is same way I always approach it. I'm preparing all year like I'm a starter and now it's just going to be (that way) from now on."
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Vikings and six by the Bears the past two weeks, so it's important for the Lions' offense to better protect him, even without Lang in the lineup.
"Obviously offensively, I have to do a better job and we have to do a better job of protecting our quarterback through play-calling, scheme, execution, all those things," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. "At the end of the day, we have to get that (sack) number down and do a better job with that.
"Stafford hangs in there, Stafford's a tough guy. He'll take a hit when needed. We just need to do a better job of protecting him. It starts with me, I have to improve the way we're going about doing that and fix some of those errors."
PREPARING FOR THE PANTHERS
This week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, are coming off a tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football.
"It sure enough was a humbling piece of pie," Panthers quarterback Cam Newton told reporters after the game. "Not only that, it was a learning experience for a lot of guys. If we expect to be as good as we expect us to be, we have to find ways to win games like this in a hostile environment.
"We had our noses bleeding early on. We've got to stop it – stop it and find ways to keep things going in our favor – offense, defense and special teams."
The Panthers still have a winning record at 6-3 following the loss, but they don't plan on taking the 3-6 Lions for granted. Just ask Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
"I think they're very dangerous," he said in a conference call with Lions reporters Wednesday.
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Panthers, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- Click here for the full Lions-Panthers injury report and game designations.
- Has head coach Matt Patricia considered taking on a bigger role in play calling? Tim Twentyman covers that and more in the latest Key Questions.
- Catch up on all the news from Jim Bob Cooter and Paul Pasqualoni's Tuesday media sessions.
- Take a look at the biggest headlines surrounding each of the four teams in the NFC North.