Lions won’t fret if Slay is out: ‘Our job is to win’

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions cornerback Darius Slay grabs his leg after going down in the second quarter against Washington.

Allen Park – The Detroit Lions aren’t sweating the potential absence of top cornerback Darius Slay, despite the next opponent on the schedule, the Houston Texans, possessing two dangerous vertical receiving threats.

Detroit lost Slay in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over Washington to a hamstring injury. It’s uncertain when he’ll be able to return, but the team is prepared to overcome his absence.

“We had five guys missing last week,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “This week will be no different, we’re going to have some guys missing. Our job is to win games. We don’t look at what we can’t do and who’s not there, all that kind of stuff. We just look at the fact that we’ve got to get our guys ready to play and play well, regardless of who we face.”

If Slay can’t play, he’ll be replaced in the lineup by Johnson Bademosi, who played a career-high 51 defensive snaps against Washington.

The Texans have a passing attack built around DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, two of the league’s premier deep threats.

Hopkins is off to a slow start this season, but is tied for seventh in the NFL with 19 receptions of 20 or more yards in 2015. Fuller, the team’s first-round pick, already has seven such plays through five games this season.

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“It’s a well-worn phrase, but we expect the next guy to step up and keep the standards high,” Caldwell said. “You have to win under all circumstances. Nobody is looking for any excuses or things of that nature.”

The Lions have called upon the next guy often this season, especially on defense. Linebacker DeAndre Levy has missed six consecutive games, defensive end Ziggy Ansah missed three in a row and Haloti Ngata has been sidelined the past two contests.