It’s been one injury after another for the Lions lately, especially at the linebacker position. After numerous players went down in Sunday’s 16-15 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Lions are considering their options leading up to this weekend’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
As it stands right now, the only two healthy linebackers on the roster are Tahir Whitehead and Thurston Armbrister. There hasn’t been any word as to whether DeAndre Levy (quadriceps – did not play against the Titans), Kyle Van Noy (calf – left Sunday’s game early, missed practice Thursday), and Antwione Williams (thigh – left Sunday’s game early, missed practice Thursday) will be healthy enough to play this weekend.
Linebacker Zaviar Gooden, who was with the team during training camp, was signed to the practice squad earlier this week and could be promoted to the active roster before Sunday. “Obviously, it’s a possibility (that I’m activated this weekend),” Gooden told the Detroit Free Press. ‘But it’s a possibility that it doesn’t happen, so just got to be ready either way.”
Gooden hasn’t played a snap in the NFL since 2014 with the Titans. In his career, he has played in 24 games and has racked up a total of 36 tackles. He and Steve Longa are the only two linebackers on the Lions practice squad.
“You prepare like you’re a starter even if you’re a backup because you never know if you’re going to have to step in that role and the same thing on practice squad,” Gooden said. “So I’m preparing like I’m playing so I’ll be ready.”
With Eddie Lacy and James Starks in the backfield for the Packers this weekend, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers reeling a bit, the Lions can ill-afford to have too many defensive holes in their run-stopping game. If Rodgers continues to struggle early in Sunday’s game, it’s likely that Green Bay will be relying on the run game.