Monday, August 18, 2014
Calvin Johnson should make debut Friday
By Michael Rothstein
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Four Detroit Lions players have yet to play this preseason.
Only one, though, has been held out of both the Cleveland and Oakland games due to precaution. And barring anything changing, that will not be the case Friday night against Jacksonville. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson should play.
“We plan to get him some work this week, and that’s today I’m telling you that,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “Toward the end of the week, something adjusts and we have to adjust here and there, it could be that with a number of different guys.
“But we plan to get him some work this week.”
The third game of the preseason is typically when teams give their starters a bunch of work, sometimes playing them into the second half. Caldwell wouldn’t indicate how long he plans on playing Detroit’s first unit Friday night and whether he’ll play certain players more than others within that grouping.
When asked specifically about Johnson, Caldwell did say “that’s a possibility, sure,” about whether Johnson would play less than some of the other starters. Johnson had two offseason surgeries, one on his finger and one on his knee. He told ESPN.com last week that he now has a protective splint for his fingers, which have suffered injuries the past two seasons.
Caldwell was less certain about playing defensive end Ezekiel Ansah this week as Ansah continues to recover from offseason shoulder surgery. The Lions removed him from the PUP list last week but sat him against Oakland as he tries to get up to speed.
“The medical staff will look at it,” Caldwell said. “Even though he’s off of PUP, we’re going to bring him along according to what he can handle from a physical standpoint, and so we’ll get a sense of that.
“He’s doing a little bit more today in practice, and he’ll do a little bit more tomorrow and see what happens come game day.”
The other Detroit players to not play in a preseason game this year are rookie wide receiver TJ Jones and rookie quarterback James Franklin. Jones remains on the team’s PUP list as he recovers from surgery. Franklin is the team’s fourth quarterback and has not taken many meaningful snaps in practice, either.