Detroit Lions stock watch: Two impress in rare action as veteran free agent signings struggle

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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MINNEAPOLIS — Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett breaks down the Detroit Lions’ 34-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and looks at three players who helped and hurt their stocks Sunday.

Stock up

Special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs: I said this summer I thought Coombs would be a head coach in 10 years because of the way he carries himself and his coaching pedigree, and his special teams have been a pleasant piece in the Lions’ otherwise dismal season. The Lions blocked two punts Sunday and have three in the last two weeks. Give Austin Bryant and Romeo Okwara credit for those plays, and Coombs kudos for helping to make them happen.

CB Desmond Trufant: The Lions wasted no time getting Trufant back in the starting lineup, and the veteran cornerback showed he belonged Sunday. After missing five of the Lions’ first seven games with a hamstring injury, Trufant had six tackles, one pass breakup and a sack on a cornerback blitz. He was one of the Lions’ few bright spots on defense.

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WR Quintez Cephus: Cephus played as the Lions’ No. 4 receiver Sunday, with Marvin Hall taking Kenny Golladay’s starting spot, but he could be another one of general manager Bob Quinn’s mid- to late-round receiver finds. Cephus caught both passes thrown his way for 31 yards in limited action Sunday. He’s likely destined for the bench when Golladay returns, but I for one would like to see more of the rookie in the second half of the season.

Stock down

LB Jamie Collins: The Lions targeted Collins in free agency as they reshuffled their linebacking corps last spring, but the former New England Patriot had a rough go of things Sunday. He got beat on passes to Dalvin Cook for 17 and 19 yards and was late diagnosing a screen pass to Ameer Abdullah for a touchdown. Collins finished with a team-high nine tackles, but he had zero impact plays on a bad day overall for the Lions defense.

CB Amani Oruwariye: I thought Oruwariye was the Lions’ best cornerback the first seven games of the season, but he was relegated to a reserve role Sunday with Trufant and Jeff Okudah healthy for the first time this season. Okudah left with an ankle injury in the second half, and Oruwariye struggled mightily off the bench. He got beat for a 35-yard gain on third-and-5 by Justin Jefferson in the third quarter and was called for pass interference a few plays later on third-and-6 near the goal line.

Jim Caldwell’s Detroit Lions beat bad teams; Matt Patricia isn’t even doing that ]

DT Danny Shelton and John Penisini: Shelton and Penisini are supposed to be a wall in the middle of the Lions defensive line and instead were at the heart of the Lions’ inability to stop the run. Dalvin Cook ran for 206 yards on 22 carries, and while 70 of those yards came on one play when the Lions had 10 defenders on the field, he had large holes to run through all day as the Vikings offensive line had its way up front.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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