Levy's status unclear for game vs. Ravens
Allen Park – While the Lions third exhibition against the Ravens on Saturday serves as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, it remains unclear whether linebacker DeAndre Levy will suit up and play.
Levy was activated off the non-football injury list Aug. 16 and was in uniform for last week’s exhibition against the Bengals. He went through pregame warmups with the team but didn’t see any game action.
Levy practiced throughout the early offseason programs before unexpectedly being placed on the NFI list the day training camp started. He played only 17 defensive snaps in Week 1 of the 2015 season before missing the rest of the year with a hip injury.
Despite the long layoff, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said he doesn’t have any concerns about Levy being rusty when the regular season begins.
“He’s still — in terms of how he sees the game and how fast he reacts, that hasn’t changed,” Austin said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “It’s like anything, until he gets out there we won’t know.”
When asked about the risk-reward of Levy getting some reps in the preseason, Austin said there’s always an inherent risk anytime a player steps on the field but the reward would be Levy getting to play full speed for the first time since Oct. 11, 2015.
“Does he need it?” Austin said. “Does he absolutely have to have preseason to be a good player? No.”
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said while he’s concerned with the overall health of all his players, he has no concerns about Levy’s play. In fact, Caldwell said he expects Levy to be better than he was in 2014, when he ranked second in the NFL with 151 tackles.
“I think players get better all the time,” Caldwell said. “His knowledge of the game is expanding. I think his sense has gotten better even though you haven’t seen it. I’m just telling you these guys get better. You can see it in his eyes, in his quickness and in his ability to read and those kinds of things.
“I would not expect him to stand still. I’m not going to make a comparison. We expect him to be better than he was, which he’s certainly capable of being.”
Along with Levy, tight end Eric Ebron and running back Ameer Abdullah have yet to play in the preseason. Ebron returned to practice Tuesday after being sidelined since suffering a leg injury in the team’s mock game on Aug. 6 and Abdullah (shoulder) shed the no-contact red jersey he had been wearing throughout training camp on Saturday.
Abdullah said he feels like he’s ready to play and hopes to get the opportunity in the final two exhibitions.
“I think it’s always valuable for players to get reps. I think that’s the best way to learn,” offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said. “We can all sit back and say, ‘Hey, stand with me and let’s talk through your plays and talk through your assignments.’
“But those of us that have played sports and played football, it’s a lot easier to learn when you’re getting those reps. So whether that’s practice or games, I do think they are valuable, but we roll with the punches on that.”
One day after returning to practice and wearing pads for the first time in a little over two weeks, Ebron was one of seven Lions who sat out Wednesday’s practice.
Also out were offensive tackles Michael Ola and Corey Robinson, linebackers Josh Bynes and Jon Bostic, rookie center Graham Glasgow and safety Isaiah Johnson.