The Detroit Lions have a losing record, and one of the best teams in the NFL is coming to town.
And the Lions won’t be at full strength when they face the Los Angeles Rams this weekend.
Detroit put wide receiver Marvin Jones on injured reserve Monday after he missed the past two games with a knee injury. Jones’ absence leaves the Detroit receiving corps down another player. The Lions traded Golden Tate earlier this season.
Jones has 35 catches for 508 yards and five touchdowns this season.
“We just have to figure it out, roll with the next guy in there and see how it goes,” coach Matt Patricia said. “We can’t look back in those situations, we just have to look forward, and we have to keep pushing. There’s nothing we can do about it. From that standpoint, it just gives other guys opportunities to go out and perform and go out and play at a high level.”
Second-year receiver Kenny Golladay has been impressive and figures to be the team’s most dangerous target for the rest of the season.
“I think Kenny’s done a good job all year,” Patricia said. “I think it’s something that we talked about, probably going back to the spring, and then identified his ability, and his skill set that we think can help us win in certain situations. Certainly, finding different ways to get him the ball is important for us, but he’s certainly a focal point for a lot of teams that we face. That puts stress on other areas that we have to be able to come through with.”
The Lions (4-7) signed linebacker Nicholas Grigsby to the active roster from the practice squad and signed defensive end Eric Lee to the practice squad.
After spending years trying to build a dynamic offense around quarterback Matthew Stafford, Detroit is suddenly hoping its quarterback can lead a more limited group. Not only does he not have Tate or Jones to throw to, but the Lions were also without rookie running back Kerryon Johnson (knee) in their Thanksgiving loss to Chicago.
Stafford threw for only 236 yards in that game. Now Detroit will have more time to adjust to playing without Jones.
“Going through these NFL seasons, guys go down for injury, guys go down for different reasons,” offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “We make adjustments. We adjust to fit the players.”
The Rams (10-1) come into Sunday’s game after a weekend off. Their most recent game was a 54-51 win over Kansas City on Nov. 19.
So the Lions may need to score a lot to win this game — with whoever is healthy enough to play.
“I think it’s important for us to kind of look forward to this opportunity,” Cooter said. “We’ve got five games. We’re going to go play ball, and we’re going to go kind of see what certain guys can do and how we play.”
NOTES: Jamal Agnew, who went on IR earlier this season with a knee injury, said he hasn’t been cleared to practice. Agnew, who earned All-Pro honors last season as a punt returner, would not say if he is running yet, and it’s not clear if he’ll be able to come back this season. “I’m always feeling good, but that’s not my decision to make,” he said. “I’m just going to put myself in the best position to try to come back and help the team win.”
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