Lions bring in reinforcements
According to published reports, the Lions brought in nearly a dozen players for tryouts Tuesday, looking for help at a couple of positions hit by injuries.
In the end, after trying out 11 players — including two running backs, five cornerbacks, a safety, a defensive tackles and a pair of wide receivers, according to profootballtalk.com — the Lions signed a familiar face, veteran defensive tackle Chuck Darby, to the active roster, and cut cornerback Marcus McCauley to make room.
According to ESPN.com's Kevin Siefert, the Lions also signed one of the wide recievers, Taurus Johnson, to the practice squad. An undrafted free agent who spent training camp with the Chiefs, Johnson is one of the all-time leaders in kick returns for the University of South Florida.
While the volume of traffic is unusual for the Lions, who no longer get precedence for on waiver wire claims, the positions indicate that there could be some injury issues.
The re-signing of Darby, who spent last year and all of the offseason with the Lions, may mean that the injury to fourth-round pick Sammie Hill may be more serious than it seemed Sunday, when the rookie started, left the game with an injury, then returned but did not look like he was full speed. By bringing in a pair of running backs — one of whom was on-again, off-again Lion Aveion Cason — for tryouts, the Lions may be showing their hand on the seriousness of Kevin Smith's shoulder injury.
Nickel corner Eric King missed Sunday's win with a shoulder injury, as well, while Phillip Buchanon — the starter at corner coming out of camp — missed one game with a neck injury, then was beaten out for the job by Will James last week. After getting a long return on both a punt and a kick against the Saints in Week One, the primary returners — Dennis Northcutt (punts) and Aaron Brown (kicks) — repeatedly put the Lions in bad field position against Washington on Sunday. If the Lions do make another roster move to shore up the return game, it will be further indication of how far third-round pick Derrick Williams has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. Williams was drafted to boost returns, but has yet to be active for a regular-season game.