After losing cornerback Bill Bentley for the season, with a torn ACL, the Detroit Lions announced Wednesday, that they have now lost offensive tackle Cory Hilliard for the season, after he suffered an injury to his lisfranc, which will require surgery and cause him to be place on injured reserve.
Hillard, who suffered the injury in the Lions’ Monday night win against the Giants, while filling in for right tackle LaAdrian Waddle (who also suffered calf injury), actually played a quarter and a half with the injury, which clearly showed Hilliard’s toughness and heart. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, even called Hilliard’s play while being injured “inspiring,” and head coach Jim Caldwell followed that up with his own statement about Hilliard.
“Corey is an unusual guy.” said Caldwell. He’s really tough-minded mentally, he hung in there despite a very difficult situation. He just kept going and did a nice job. He not only just kept going and survived, he thrived and excelled during that time period and did a nice job for us.”
“I think it sets a great precedent, I don’t think there is any question about that. I think all of [the offensive line] has that mentality…their a different breed, they have a great leader right at the apex of if right in the middle, Dominic [Raiola] has been around the league a long time and he does a great job in terms of indoctrinating all of our young guys and even older guys who have come into the program. Just tremendous, Jeremiah Waburn, Bobby [Johnson] and [Terry] Heffernan do a great job of getting those guys prepared but they know how to hang in there and battle, their tough. Corey was a quality guy for us in every way.”
As I mentioned above, Hilliard suffered the injury in the Lions’ Monday night win against the Giants, while filling in for right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who hurt his calf during the first half and now both are sidelined for the time being. However, for the time being, it does seem that Waddle’s injury may not be as serious as Hilliard’s, which is good news but if your hoping to see Waddle back on the field this Sunday, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that Waddle will play this Sunday, causing coach Caldwell to say that “We’ll check the injury report and we’ll see.”
While it would be nice for Waddle to be able to play this week. I’m sure the Lions don’t want to rush him back. That being said, the season injury to Hilliard and the current injury to Waddle puts the Lions in a little bit of snafu considering they are now short at right tackle. However the Lions have already made a point to address the need, as they went out and re-signed offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds on Wednesday morning.
Now Reynolds, was with the team during training camp and saw time at guard and tackle before being released by the team during final teams cuts. Although, he didn’t make the original 53-man roster, this is a good opportunity for him to step in help this Lions teams and coach Caldwell couldn’t be happier about what he brings to the table.
“Obviously, it was very close when we were making up the final numbers, whether or not he would be with us. The great thing was that he was still available which we will feel fortunate in that regard . He knows our system, he has a good feel for what we do and how we do it. He has the ability to play both inside and out, and that makes him extremely valuable.”
While it is good to see the Lions addressing the weak point of their offensive line considering they will be going up against a stout Carolina front line this Sunday. It doesn’t change the fact that the Lions haven’t yet made a move to improve their depth in the secondary, specifically at cornerback. Remember without Bentley, the Lions are left with just four healthy cornerbacks.
Now when it comes to replacing Bentley, who was the starting nickel-back before tearing his ACL, it is safe to say that the Lions could go with fourth-round pick Nevin Lawson, who played most of the game in Bentley’s place on Monday, to add depth to that position moving forward.
As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press brought up, veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis and safety Don Cary could be used more as well in the absence of Bentley.
The Lions also could use Mathis in the slot in their nickel defense and play Vaughn outside, or use backup safety Don Carey as a third cornerback in nickel situations.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Lions worked out multiple cornerbacks last week, including Chris Clemons, Roc Carmichael and Champ Bailey. Plus, the Lions could also look to their own practice squad for help, considering, former Nebraska cornerback Mohammed Seisay is on the Lions practice squad, patiently waiting for an opportunity.
So while the Lions have made it official when it comes to the signing on offensive lineman Garrett Reynold. Nothing has been said about what the Lions plan to do, to in terms of adding depth at the cornerback and/or safety position.
“We have a number of different alternatives. At this point, we are where we are and Lawson is still going to slide in but we will handle out a depth chart a little bit later in the week after we filter some things out a bit.”
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
For more of L-Beasley’s (Lauren Beasley) sports news and in-depth sports content, click here.
Report: Lions Lose OL Corey Hilliard For The Season; Sign OL Garrett Reynolds was originally published on wchbnewsdetroit.com