Wednesday is the most important day of practice during the NFL week primarily because it reflects who is still hurting from the previous Sunday.
Some key players for the Detroit Lions did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Kevin Smith did not practice on Wednesday and reports are that he will be very limited in practice today and Friday. Smith, who rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries against Washington, was a pivotal part to the Lions success last week.
He injured his shoulder in the game and did not play in the second half. That shoulder is still causing him pain and he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Chicago.
There is a significant drop off after Smith on the Lions running back depth chart. Veteran Maurice Morris is serviceable, but certainly not the type of back that can carry a team’s ground game.
Rookie Aaron Brown has speed, but has yet to show the ability to run between the tackles and create his own space.
I expect Smith to play, but his injury could limit his effectiveness. Smith is a power runner, and lowering a wounded shoulder into the hard-hitting Chicago Bears defense is an all-around bad idea.
Regardless of if Smith plays, expect to see Matthew Stafford throw a career-high number of passes.
Other injuries are on the defensive line, also a position with very little, if any depth. Both Sammie Hill and Dewayne White were kept out of practice today and Wednesday, and are listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game on the Lions official injury report.
Also on the injury report is defensive tackle Grady Jackson, who was kept out of practice today. Jackson is listed as questionable.
That’s three of the four starters on the defensive line, and the starting running back that are banged up. Not to mention linebacker Ernie Sims is still out and not expected to play either. Ouch.
It’d be a different scenario if this was the New England Patriots, were players seemingly come out of the woodworks to fill in for injured starters. But this is the Detroit Lions.
This is the organization were former head coach Rod Marinelli, now a defensive line coach in Chicago, once told columnist Rob Parker that if Parker went out on the street and found a couple guys to bring in for a workout, he would give them a look. Marinelli followed that challenge with “I’m serious”.
The Lions are depleted in talent as it is, the last thing this team needs is injuries to key players. Seriously.