Wed, 28 Oct 2020

NOTEBOOK: Okudah a full participant in practice

Detroit Lions
17 Sep 2020, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

The situation at cornerback for the Detroit Lions is looking a little better Wednesday than it did Monday.

The Lions lost starting nickel cornerback Justin Coleman to injured reserve this week after he injured a hamstring in the second quarter of Detroit's 27-23 loss to the Bears last week. The team was also without starting outside cornerback Desmond Trufant for the fourth quarter, after he injured a hamstring late in the third quarter. Detroit was already without rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was inactive due to a hamstring injury.

The news was better for the Lions Wednesday, as Okudah was a full participant in practice. That's obviously a good sign early in the week that the No. 3 overall pick might be able to make his NFL debut in Green Bay Week 2.

Trufant didn't practice Wednesday, but the fact that he didn't head to IR this week means the team doesn't initially think it's a serious injury. He could still potentially play Sunday in Green Bay, depending how his rehab goes this week. Backup cornerback Darryl Roberts also sat out practice Wednesday due to a calf injury.

The Lions have a tough task ahead of them Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and Co. The Packers racked up 522 total yards in their 43-34 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. That's No. 1 in the NFL after the first week of football, and their 364 net passing yards were the second most in Week 1. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and had a 127.5 passer rating.

The Lions protected cornerback Dee Virgin on their practice squad this week and he's available to be called up to the active roster, if needed.

The team also signed cornerback Chris Jones off the Arizona practice squad on Wednesday. Jones originally entered the NFL with the Lions in 2018 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Nebraska, spending training camp with the team, so there's some familiarity there with Detroit's defense.

One of the big storylines this week in Detroit will be what their situation at cornerback looks like as we get closer to Sunday.

PRACTICE SQUAD PROTECTION

The Lions selected quarterback David Blough, tight end Isaac Nauta, Virgin and running back Kerrith Whyte as their four protected players from the practice squad this week, meaning no team can sign them off Detroit's practice squad.

The big one here is obviously Virgin, who could get a call up to the active roster this week with the Lions putting Coleman on IR Tuesday, and Trufant, Okudah and Roberts dealing with injuries.

HITTING THE ROAD

The Lions will hit the road for the first time in 2020 as they head to Green Bay Saturday to play the Packers on Sunday. With that brings new challenges as the league tries to implement COVID-19 policies to keep players, coaches and staff safe.

"All of it's just kind of new," head coach Matt Patricia said of the travel. "I think part of it, for us, is good. The guys are used to adapting to all of it, but there is still kind of that, 'First time on the road, let's get it over with,' and then it will be much more comfortable the next time we have to go on the road."

Planes, busses and adhering to hotel protocols and social distancing, while still finding enough space to meet and get prepared for the upcoming game are all things director of team operations Gina Newell and her staff have been working through.

"I mean our operations department; I mean they are just phenomenal," Patricia said. "Gina does a great job of coordinating and just giving us information and making sure that we have a bunch of different choices to keep everything moving in a way that will help the team prepare."

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