August 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm

Lions juggle lineup for Jaguars, but Calvin Johnson to start

Detroit — All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson is in the starting lineup for the Lions exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field tonight, but there are a couple of surprise inactives.

Rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a second-round pick, and starting safety James Ihedigbo will miss the game. Van Noy is dealing with an abdominal injury, and Ihedigbo is resting, the Lions announced. Both players participated during all the practice portions open to the media this week.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is also active, but Devin Taylor will start in his place. Ansah and Johnson were both inactive for the first two exhibition games.

Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus will start in Ihedigbo’s place. The Lions want to take a long look at the former Saints safety because he’s played well in the offseason and has a chance to earn one of the final roster spots.

Outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead is also in the starting lineup for Ashlee Palmer on the strong side. Palmer, Van Noy and Whitehead are battling for the starting job.

Veteran Corey Hilliard is starting at right tackle instead of second-year LaAdrian Waddle, another key competition that could come down to the wire.

Safety DeJon Gomes (neck) is also inactive after missing practice all week, and wide receiver TJ Jones, a sixth-round pick this year, is out as he remains on the physically unable to perform list.

Otherwise, the Lions remain one of the healthiest teams in the NFL.

By comparison, Jacksonville has eight players inactive, including Southfield native Allen Robinson, a second-round pick this year.

The other Jaguars out are wide receiver Tandon Doss, tight end Clay Harbor, offensive tackle Josh Wells, linebacker Josh Hull and defensive backs Craig Loston, Deion Belue and Aaron Colvin.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com
twitter.com/jkatzenstein

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has not played yet in the preseason, readies for a reception. / Daniel Mears / Detroit News