Allen Park — Entering the season, the Detroit Lions were arguably deeper at safety than any position. Now, not so much.
Following last month's trade of Quandre Diggs, plus two injuries, including a concussion suffered by Miles Killebrew in practice on Thursday, the Lions are suddenly short-handed at the position.
Heading into a Sunday matchup with Chicago, there are just three healthy safeties on the roster. That includes the practice squad. And the healthy group includes two rookies, third-round pick Will Harris and undrafted free agent C.J. Moore.
Lions coach Matt Patricia was asked if the team needed to make a roster move prior to Sunday to address the depth issue.
"For us we’re always trying to evaluate those situations when they come up," Patricia said. "That’s why it’s is important for us to work guys in different positions through the course of training camp, through the course of the season. Sometimes we’ll actually work guys into different positions (from) the other side of the ball, when we’re giving kind of our show-team looks. We’ll put guys in spots that maybe we see down the road that something might need to fill in or have some flexibility from that standpoint. So, we kind of work on that stuff well in advance, we’re always trying to problem solve those."
Among the emergency options are Mike Jackson and Mike Ford. Jackson, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound cornerback signed off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad a little more than a week ago, was viewed as a potential safety convert coming out of the University of Miami. Ford, meanwhile, actually took some reps at the position in training camp this year.
"Guys like that that we think can play multiple roles or be in those situations, and there are other guys in the back end that have done a little bit of that, too," Patricia said.
In addition to Killebrew, the Lions were also without safety Tracy Walker (knee), defensive tackle Da'Shawn Hand (ankle) and defensive end Romeo Okwara (groin) for Friday's practice.
Punter Sam Martin returned after missing the previous two days with an abdominal strain, increasing the chances he plays against the Bears.