Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss his fifth straight start this week.
The team ruled Stafford out Friday with hip/back injuries, but have not shut the door on the possibility him returning at some point this season.
"Still kind of working in a week-by-week manner with him from that standpoint in conjunction with our medical staff to monitor that situation," head coach Matt Patricia said Monday. "(We're) always trying to give every opportunity we can to just kind of see how it goes with him, understanding his continual competitiveness and wanting to be out there to play football. So that's just kind of where we are right now with that situation, too."
Jeff Driskel made three starts in Stafford's absence, but missed the Thanksgiving Day game with a hamstring injury and was placed on Reserve/Injured last Saturday. Rookie David Blough got the start last Thursday, and is expected to start this Sunday in Minnesota against a talented Vikings' defense.
"I think people will see what you do well and what you don't do well, and they try to play to your weakness," Blough said this week. "It's critical of myself to evaluate myself and see how I've done and know what to expect going forward.
"I think that's in every level of football, and now it's fun that it's going to be up against some great coaches on the other side. I look forward to improving every week and giving my best and helping the team win."
Blough threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his debut, but is still looking for his first win.
"We understand," he said. "Every week, we're going to give everything we have to go and make sure we win for the city and for each other. We fight for one another, and that's what this whole brotherhood and team is about."
JOHNSON RETURNS TO PRACTICE
Running back Kerryon Johnson returned to practice this week after being placed on Reserve/Injured with a knee injury Week 7.
"I think Kerryon has actually looked pretty good out there moving around," Patricia said Friday. "We had an opportunity to kind of get him into some of the different team periods too, which is good and make some reads.
"(There are) some things out there that we have to get back in vision and things like that that we have to see a little bit better. But movement and stuff like that has been really good from that standpoint. It looked good."
With the Lions officially eliminated from playoff contention, some questioned why the team would bring Johnson back to practice so late in the year.
"I mean, I think it's always important to play football and practice football, and do everything you can as much as possible, especially if you're a young player and especially if you're a player that's missed some time," Patricia said.
"I think it's great to get back out there and have that opportunity to get back to work while we have them because there is a lot of time during the season where we don't.
"So, we have a great opportunity in front of us to get better at football, and certainly from Kerryon's standpoint, that would be great for him to do that. We'll take full advantage of that as much as we can."
The Lions have 21 days from Johnson's first practice back to activate him to roster or leave him on IR. He can play in a game as early as Week 16 in Denver.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS
- The Lions announced Monday that they put rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson (ankle) on season-ending injured reserve.
- Watch kicker Matt Prater talk about his journey with the Lions in the latest edition of Under the Helmet.
- View photos of the Lions' 2019 My Cause My Cleats.
- Catch up on all the news from Darrell Bevell and Paul Pasqualoni's Monday media sessions.
- Stafford is among the eight finalists announced for the 2019 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.