If you were to have made a list of edge rushers the Detroit Lions could sign after they had one or zero sacks for the sixth time in nine games last Sunday, Bruce Irvin might have been on it. On Tuesday, the Lions signed the veteran edge rusher to their practice squad.
Irvin adds experience to the Lions' defensive line, and while his prime is behind him at 36 years old he was fairly effective last season back with the Seattle Seahawks (the team that drafted him). He should bring something to a Lions' pass rush that needs help in the sack department. Aidan Hutchinson leads the team with 4.5 sacks, which matches the sack total Charles Harris, John Cominsky, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara and Josh Paschal have combined.
After the move was made official on Wednesday, head coach Dan Campbell talked about signing Irvin (via MLive).
“For a guy like Bruce, for example. He came in and gave us a little workout yesterday, enough to see where he’s at,” the Lions head coach said. “He’s got superhuman genes, by the way. I mean, this guy. He takes great care of himself. But he’s not in football shape. He’s in shape. But he’s not in football shape. We got to get him there first, and then we’ll see where it goes.”
Campbell used a common narrative when explaining why Irvin was signed, saying "you can never have too many rushers in your building."
There's a big difference between being in good shape and being in "football shape." Via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Irvin acknowledged that himself on Wednesday.
"I don't care how much you work out, there's nothing like wearing pads and a helmet," Irvin said. "Once I get a couple days with that, I think I should be good to at least contribute next week in some type of way."
When will Bruce Irvin make his Detroit Lions debut?
Irvin of course last played, and put on pads, in Seattle's playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 8. He was not in training camp with anyone. So in terms of the aforementioned "football shape", he would seemingly be at square one before his first practice with the Lions.
Sunday against the Chicago Bears could be Irvin's Lions' debut, if he's elevated from the practice squad, though he surely wouldn't play a ton of snaps. Then it's a short week before Thanksgiving Day against the Green Bay Packers, and the Lions won't have a normal practice on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
With him only coming in this week and the short week that follows Sunday's game, Irvin's Lions' debut could come as late as Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints. But it feels more likely it will come in one of the next two games, even if he doesn't play a whole lot right away.
Update, Nov. 17, 12:23 p.m. ET: Lions head coach Dan Campbell strongly hinted Irvin will not play Sunday against the Bears.