Bob Wojnowski and John Niyo discuss the Lions' upcoming game with the Buccaneers and look back at the debacle of having only nine defenders on the filed to face the Ravens. Detroit News
Allen Park — Matthew Stafford continues to trend in the right direction heading into Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.
Stafford, who still has his pinky and ring fingers taped on his injured throwing hand, threw the ball with plenty of zip and was precise on intermediate and deep throws during the open portion of Friday’s practice.
Prior to practice, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Stafford’s injury is “progressing” but fell short of saying he expected the quarterback to start his 109th consecutive game.
“(We’ll) just to continue to see how he feels, and see what the doctors say,” Caldwell said. “But he practiced a decent amount yesterday, so we’ll see.”
Stafford was a limited participant in all three practice sessions this week and is one of 10 Lions listed as questionable to play against the Buccaneers.
While all signs point to Stafford suiting up, the bigger concern is with the offensive line and the protection he'll receive.
The Lions have ruled out right tackle Rick Wagner, who will miss his first game of the season with an ankle injury. Wagner was knocked out of the game last week against the Ravens and never returned as he was replaced by Brian Mihalik.
Starting guard T.J. Lang (foot), starting center Travis Swanson (knee) and backup tackles Emmett Cleary (ankle) and Corey Robinson (foot) are all listed as questionable.
Lang missed the Wednesday and Thursday sessions before returning to practice on a limited basis Friday. Swanson, meanwhile, is working his way back from an injury that kept him out of last week’s game and sidelined him for the second time this season.
When asked of the possibility of keeping lineman Graham Glasgow at center even when Swanson is able to return, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said, “we’ll evaluate that whole thing.
“Graham has done a nice job,” Cooter said. “Graham’s played a lot of center in his time. He’s got a good comfort level in there, but I think he’s got a pretty good comfort level going at guard as well, so we’re going to look at the big picture.
“We’re going to play our best five at the best spots that they all fit, and try to keep evaluating those guys as we go.”
Additionally, running back Ameer Abdullah (neck), cornerback/return man Jamal Agnew (knee), defensive ends Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and Cornelius Washington (shoulder) and punter Sam Martin (foot) are all listed as questionable.
Ansah returned to practice Friday after missing Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions, while Abdullah and Agnew are looking to return to action after being sidelined for last week’s game.