The Detroit Lions are riding high after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round. But a couple notable injuries happened during the game, perhaps most notably left guard Jonah Jackson exiting with a knee injury and not being able to return.
After the game, head coach Dan Campbell was not optimistic about the availability of Jackson or tighr end Brock Wright (forearm injury) for the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
"It doesn’t look real good for next week," Campbell said. "But we’ll see."
Campbell will surely have injury updates during his Monday press conference, but ESPN's Jeremy Fowler had an update on Jackson before that.
So if the Lions should win next Sunday, Jackson could be available for the Super Bowl after having surgery for a slight meniscus tear. It certainly could be a lot worse, especially as Jackson heads for free agency in March.
Jonah Jackson's absence will be noticeable in NFC Championship Game
Right after the game, Campbell credited Kayode Awosika for how he stepped up in place of Jackson.
“Yeah, I thought Yode (Kayode Awosika) stepped up,” Campbell said. “That was good to see. He went right in there, and I think we had a five-step drop first play out of the gate, and he just went in there and did really good. Yode’s continued to get better really over the last two years. He’s just kind of grown and grown. And last time we played Tampa, he was in there for us, so. But I thought he did some really good things."
Upon further review of the film, Campbell should have seen that Awosika struggled against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Pro Football Focus credited him with five pressures allowed on 28 pass blocking snaps, and Next Gen Stats credited him with seven pressures allowed. His run blocking was also a drop-off from Jackson, who was having a nice game before going down (third-highest graded Lions offensive player, zero pressures allowed on 18 pass blocking snaps).
Buccaneers defensive tackles Vita Vea and Calijah Kancey are a tough challenge, The 49ers defensive tackle group-Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw-won't be any easier next Sunday night in San Francisco.
To be fair to Awosika, he came into Sunday's game cold after having not played an offensive snap since Week 14. A practice week working as a starter will only help, but Jackson's absence in the conference title game will naturally be noticeable for the Lions' offense.