FOXBORO, Mass. — The Detroit Lions will have one of their best offensive weapons back for today’s game against the New England Patriots, and are making a major change on defense.
Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is active after testing his sprained left ankle with an extensive running program during pre-game warmups, and the Lions benched starting cornerback Amani Oruwariye.
Oruwariye led the Lions with a career-high six interceptions last season, but has struggled in the season’s first four games. He was flagged six times in the Lions’ Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and gave up a red zone touchdown with a defensive miscommunication in last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Oruwariye, who is in a contract year, missed the Lions’ Week 2 win over the Washington Commanders with a back injury but was not on the Lions’ injury report last week.
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Lions coach Dan Campbell promised changes to his league-worst defense this week, and Oruwariye’s benching could be one of several moves in the secondary. Will Harris started in Oruwariye’s absence against the Commanders, and the Lions signed slot corner AJ Parker to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Sunday.
The Lions (1-3) are last in the league in points and yards allowed and rank 30th against the pass at 279.3 yards per game. Rookie Bailey Zappe will make his first career start today for the Patriots (1-3).
St. Brown, who sprained his ankle against the Vikings and did not play last week, spent several minutes running sprints and cutting before running routes with his fellow receivers about two hours before kickoff
St. Brown leads the Lions with 23 catches for 253 yards and three touchdowns, and Campbell said his return would be a big lift for an offense that leads the NFL at 35 points per game.
Running back D’Andre Swift will miss his second straight game with a sprained shoulder, receiver DJ Chark is out for the second straight week with an ankle injury, defensive end Charles Harris is out with a groin injury and Matt Nelson (calf), Juju Hughes and John Cominsky (wrist) also are inactive for the Lions.