Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions
LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Cornerback Darius Slay (knee) and offensive guard T.J. Lang (neck) were ruled out by the Lions on Friday after not practicing this week.

Slay, an All-Pro last season, has played every game the past two seasons for the Lions. He had his second interception of the season last week against Minnesota.

Lang has been battling a number of injuries this season and did not make it through last week’s game against Minnesota, for which he was questionable with a hip injury. 

Kenny Wiggins has been playing right guard when Lang has been unavailable this season.

In addition, running back Kerryon Johnson was listed as questionable Friday because of an ankle injury.

The Lions listed linebacker Eli Harold as doubtful for the game. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and tight end Luke Willson also were questionable.

Ellington ready

In the slot, on the outside and in the return game, Bruce Ellington said he’s ready for whatever the Lions throw at him.

Even now, in the cold.

Ellington got his first taste of November in Michigan on Friday as the Lions practiced in snow flurries to simulate whatever weather will come Sunday in Chicago.

The newly signed wide receiver thawed out in the locker room and said he’s been fielding punts for the Lions this week since being signed on Tuesday.

“Little cold, but I’m making it,” said Ellington, who grew up in South Carolina and has played for Houston and San Francisco. “I’m not used to it at all, but I can adapt.”

Ellington caught eight passes for the Texans this season before he was placed on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury.

He said playing with the Lions, who traded Golden Tate last week to Philadelphia, fits his versatility.

“A lot of freedom and a lot of plays that fit my style,” Ellington said. “I’m just ready to get back on the field.”

A shifty player in the open field, Ellington could fill a return game void created by an injury to Jamal Agnew, the release of Ameer Abdullah on Tuesday and the Tate trade.

Lions coach Matt Patricia said Wednesday that Ellington’s role would be determined by at practice this week. 

“You want to get him out at practice and put him in a couple different situations and evaluate it and go from there,” Patricia said.

Ellington worked out Saturday for the Lions and was in Indianapolis on Monday when the call from the Lions came.

“I had a couple other workouts, but they called first and told me they wanted to sign me, so I took it,” he said.

A fourth-round pick out of South Carolina, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Ellington has 56 catches for 637 yards and five touchdowns in four seasons.

“Just a playmaker,” Ellington said about what fans can expect. “Get them hyped. Just going out there, just having fun, being into the game.”

Mack attack?

Linebacker Khalil Mack, traded to the Bears from Oakland in the preseason, is expected make his return after a two-week absence with an ankle injury.

One of the premium edge rushers in the league, Mack had five sacks in his first four games with Chicago and a forced fumble in each contest.

"He’s just so smooth on the edge that he can kind of just reach around some of those offensive lineman that are blocking him at the same time,” Patricia said. “It’s more than just knocking it down, a lot of times he’ll just take it away, just grab it and pulls it out.”

In his only career game against the Lions, Mack had a season-high eight solo tackles, including two for a loss, for Oakland in an 18-13 Detroit win in 2015.

In Chicago, he’s teamed up front with defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who Patricia coached with New England in 2015.

“I think he’s probably one of the most disruptive guys in the league,” Patricia said. “He’s a guy that has unbelievable strength and power.

“He kind of gets in some of these awkward alignments or stances and you think, 'Alright, he’s not going to be able to really kind of generate any power off the ball.'

"All of a sudden, he just gets into you and kind of knocks you back. He does a great job with his hands. He’s very violent with his hands.”

Hicks has 18.5 sacks in 2.5 seasons with the Bears.

Getting there

Take out one play, and the Lions held Minnesota to 58 yards rushing on 22 carries on Sunday.

Oh, but that 70-yarder.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook, in his first game back after missing four because of an injury, went up the middle for a 70-yard carry to the 5-yard-line late in the second quarter, setting up a touchdown as the Vikings took control in a 24-9 win.

“It just goes back to the details,” middle linebacker Jarrad Davis said Friday. “You got to make sure you’re locked in at all times. If you’re not, then you let 70-yarders go.”

Davis was engaged with an offensive lineman on the play and couldn’t shake him to make the tackle.

“I definitely know I didn’t play it well enough because he came through the middle,” Davis said.

The Lions are 30th in the NFL in allowing 142.5 rushing yards per game.

However, the team is showing improvement when defensive tackle Damon Harrison, acquired last month in a trade from the New York Giants, is on the field.

“He’s eating up a lot of gaps up front,” Davis said. “This is a system that fits him and he’s honestly doing really well.”

Familiar faces

Lions linebacker Christian Jones will be playing his former team for the first time.

An undrafted free agent out of Florida State, Jones was signed by the Bears in 2014 and played four seasons in Chicago, starting 31 games.

A free-agent signing by Detroit this offseason, Jones has 29 tackles and one sack this season.

The Bears coaching staff also has a surname familiar to Lions fans.

Donovan Raiola, younger brother to longtime Lions center Dominic, is the assistant offensive line coach under head coach Matt Nagy.

Donovan Raiola, a former standout center for Wisconsin, is in his first year with the Bears.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE