Detroit Lions sign AJ Parker, Maurice Alexander from practice squad; Quintez Cephus to IR

Detroit Free Press

In search of help for their league-worst defense, the Detroit Lions could be turning to a deposed starter from last year.

The Lions signed cornerback AJ Parker and return man Maurice Alexander off the practice squad to the 53-man roster Saturday and placed wide receiver Quintez Cephus on injured reserve.

Parker played in 13 games and made seven starts for the Lions last season, when he was the team’s primary slot cornerback when healthy.

Free agent addition Mike Hughes beat out Parker for the slot corner job in training camp, but has allowed completions on 80% of the passes thrown his way, according to Pro Football Reference.

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Lions coach Dan Campbell said this week he was considering personnel changes on defense and wanted to simplify a scheme that has allowed 35.3 points per game through four weeks.

The Lions (1-3) have given up the most points and yards in the league, and their perimeter run defense has been a sore spot all year.

Alexander made his NFL debut last week, returning three kicks for 62 yards and playing two offensive snaps at receiver. He could help an offense that will be without at least one starting receiver, DJ Chark, and another — Amon-Ra St. Brown — questionable to play.

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The Lions also elevated kicker Michael Badgley to the game day roster from practice squad to handle kicks Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Cephus suffered a foot injury in last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and will miss at least the next four weeks.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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