Sep 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Detroit Lions center Travis Swanson (64). Points out a defensive player during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Darius Slay, the Pro Bowl reserve, was back at practice today, along with starting center Travis Swanson. Unfortunately, Theo Riddick still hasn’t practiced which should bring about some serious doubt regarding his status for the divisional showdown with the Green Bay Packers in Week 17.
CB Darius Slay & C Travis Swanson back at the open portion of Lions practice today. RB Theo Riddick & WR Andre Roberts not taking part.
Swanson has been a welcome surprise this season. At times being the best offensive lineman in a year that he entered on rocky ground. Swanson will be back in the lineup after suffering a concussion, which means Graham Glasgow will likely go back to starting left guard. With these changes, Detroit becomes a much stronger offensive line overall.
Darius Slay’s return to the secondary is probably just as big in a game where the Lions will be facing a suddenly explosive Green Bay Packers. That includes a healthy Jordy Nelson at wide receiver. Green Bay has won five straight games, and Aaron Rodgers is back in the MVP discussion.
Detroit’s offense has really fallen off since Matthew Stafford’s finger injury against the Chicago Bears. Not that he’s blamed it, saying today it didn’t affect him. Theo Riddick has been an even bigger reason why, in my opinion. The Lions don’t have a running game, and throughout the year, they’ve counted on Riddick’s elusiveness on quick passes to break tackles and convert first downs. He’s been huge in helping the Lions’ 8 comeback wins.
The Lions had a similar situation going into their season finale in 2014 – a Week 17 matchup for the division against the Green Packers. Some have forgotten, Dominic Raiola (former long-time starting center) was suspended for this game, which at the time forcing a rookie Swanson to play.
The Lions lost that game, but at least this time they won’t be playing at Lambeau field. Detroit has lost two straight games, but still have a chance to make the two previous weeks disappear with a win. Slay and Swanson back healthy without a doubt increases the odds of a Lions win. Keep your fingers crossed for a healthy Riddick.