The Detroit Lions have some problems to fix on the defensive side of the ball. But linebacker Alex Anzalone is not one, in the midst of the best season of his career. So it was more than a bit disconcerting when he suffered an arm injury late on Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers, with more news sure to come at the earliest time possible.
On Monday, head coach Dan Campbell did not have the greatest update on Anzalone, with something more definitive to come.
"Alex could be a little bit, that’s possible," Dan Campbell said Monday,
Anzalone has 87 total tackles (58 solo), three sacks, nine quarterback hits and five pass breakups this season, while playing 98 percent of the Lions' defensive snaps. He is Pro Football Focus' 19th-ranked linebacker (76.6 overall grade). This coaching staff and front office maintained faith in him during two prior years that weren't as good, and he was rewarded that faith all season.
Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone may miss Saints' game, and beyond?
Week 13 happens to be against Anzalone's former team, the New Orleans Saints. That's were Campbell first knew him, as the Saints' tight ends' coach, and Anzalone followed Campbell to Detroit.
Anzalone's availability for Sunday's game against the Saints had a shadow of doubt anyway as it has gotten closer. His wife is due to have their second child this week, on Thursday. Now, this wrist or hand injury is in line to sideline him for the game anyway-as small as a football game is compared to the birth of a child.
Luckily, the Lions are fairly deep at linebacker. Derrick Barnes and rookie Jack Campbell would be in line for bigger roles for any games Anzalone misses. Malcolm Rodriguez and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who have both hardly played defensive snaps this season, would be in line for more action.
In other injury news, Campbell had an interesting update on left guard Jonah Jackson, who has missed five of the last six games with two separate injuries.
"I’m assuming Jonah’s not playing until he tells me he’s playing, and then I’ll know," Campbell said.
Safety Kerby Joseph was clearly favoring his arm or shoulder during the loss to the Packers. But on Monday Campbell said "Kerby should be good."