| Detroit Free Press
Debating what to look for in Detroit Lions next head coach
The guys discuss the Lions’ loss to the Packers, what to look for in next head coach, Matthew Stafford’s future and more, Dec. 14, 2020.
Dave Birkett, Carlos Monarrez and Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Lions are preparing for Matthew Stafford to miss Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, even while holding out hope he is able to play.
Stafford did not practice Wednesday because of the rib injury he suffered in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, and the Lions signed quarterback Jordan Ta’amu to their practice squad as insurance.
While Ta’amu, who starred in the XFL and spent part of this season on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad, provides the Lions (5-8) an extra layer of security at the quarterback position, interim coach Darrell Bevell reiterated Wednesday that the team will not make any determinations about Stafford’s availability against the Titans until later this week.
“You guys know as well as I do the toughness of this guy and how he’s been able to come back from some pretty serious injuries and still play in games,” Bevell said. “So we’re going to take it to the end of the week, we’re going to see how he does and I’m totally comfortable with him not practicing and playing in the game. I’ve seen him do it, so like I said we’ll just take that till the end of the week.”
[ New Lions adviser Chris Spielman: ‘I’ve always respected’ Matthew Stafford ]
Stafford threw for 211 yards and one touchdown in a Week 9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, when he missed the entire week of practice while on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to contact tracing.
Detroit Lions’ Darrell Bevell on the advantages of a mobile backup QB
Detroit Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell speaks to the media on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
Detroit Lions, Wochit
Stafford left that game in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
One of the NFL’s premier ironmen for his most of his career, Stafford had played the last four games through a thumb injury on his throwing hand.
Over the years, he’s also willed his way onto the field through an assortment of back, rib, knee, hand and ankle injuries, starting 136 straight games until he missed the final eight games last season with broken bones in his back,
Stafford was injured on a 6-yard scramble midway through the fourth quarter against the Packers. He stayed in the game for the next play, a handoff to Kerryon Johnson that went for a touchdown, but was in obvious pain when he returned to the sideline.
Bevell said pain management will be a factor in whether Stafford is able to play this week.
“Obviously, he’s going to have to make sure that he can handle whatever the level of pain that he’s in,” Bevell said. “That’s going to be a big factor in it, and then can he function with that pain level, are really going to be the two things.”
Bevell said he will rely on Stafford’s input about whether he’s able to play Sunday.
“We have great lines of communication,” he said. “He’s not going to do something that he’s not going to be able to do. So like I said, there’ll be other things that are in there, but right now I’m going to be trusting him.”
Chase Daniel, who took first-team reps with Stafford out before the Vikings game, likely will start Sunday if Stafford cannot play.
Bevell, though, spent part of his pre-practice news conference praising third-string quarterback David Blough’s preparation and growth — Blough started the final five games of last season — and Ta’amu adds a mobile element to the quarterback position in practice.
Ta’amu threw for 1,050 yards and five touchdowns in five games for the St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL, and led all quarterbacks in that league with 217 yards rushing.
Along with Stafford, Kenny Goladay, Da’Shawn Hand, Frank Ragnow, Tyrell Crosby, Darryl Roberts and Jason Cabinda did not take part in individual drills Wednesday.
Offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) returned to practice from injured reserve.