SI Lions Roundtable: Which Lions Starter Should Be Most Worried about Losing Their Job?
1.) What is your reaction to Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson and five other Lions players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list?
Vito Chirco: It speaks volumes to the predicament that the NFL is currently dealing with in trying to put on a season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
More players, unfortunately, are going to test positive for the virus or at the very least, be placed on the league's reserve/COVID-19 list due to coming in contact with someone who's contracted the virus.
If the NFL wants to have a regular season, it's going to have to accept that this is the norm from here on out.
As for the Lions, hopefully, they are doing everything in their power to emphasize the importance of wearing masks and social distancing in order to prevent the contraction and subsequent spread of COVID-19.
At this juncture, it's just as important as getting enough practices in before the start of the regular season.
And that's the very level of significance the franchise needs to be placing upon its safety protocols in Allen Park as training camp kicks into full gear this month.
Logan Lamorandier: Not great. I wish we knew if they actually tested positive or they were just close to somebody who has.
It's next to impossible for the NFL to do a bubble like the NBA. But without it, I think we need to prepare for quite a few players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list regularly throughout the season.
2.) How would you react if Stafford opted out?
Chirco: The fanbase would be devastated, and the Lions' chances of making the playoffs would astronomically go down.
As for me, I would totally get it. Stafford and his wife Kelly just welcomed their fourth daughter, Tyler, to the world earlier this month.
Obviously, he has a lot brewing on the homefront. And by opting out, he would ultimately be looking out for the safety and well-being of his family. I have no problem with that whatsoever.
Lamorandier: I wouldn't blame him one bit. It's totally understandable if he wants to protect his wife and four young kids. He is too much of a competitor to opt out in my opinion, though. For the Lions' sake, the season is over before it begins if he doesn't play.
3.) What was your biggest takeaway from Matt Patricia's media session Friday?
Chirco: I think it was his admittance that the cancelled preseason will lead to additional practice time for the organization.
The rookies and first-year Lions players direly need it in order to get up to speed with the team's playbook, especially with the practice portion of training camp not kicking off until Aug. 12 -- almost exactly a month prior to the Lions' regular season opener Sept. 13 vs. the Bears.
Lamorandier: Nothing too much. He is taking this virus seriously, and I do like how the Lions have adopted new technology to help try to mitigate the spreading.
Patricia is also keeping an open mind with any adjustments that need to be made. It's player safety first for Patricia -- as it should be.
4.) Which Lions starter should be most worried about losing their job?
Chirco: Kerryon Johnson. I think that Detroit's 2020 second-round pick D'Andre Swift has a great shot at supplanting Johnson as the team's No. 1 back with a strong training camp and start to the regular season.
Swift enters camp with a high degree of expectations, and could be a special player right from Day 1 in Motown.
Additionally, Johnson has battled the injury bug in past seasons. If he succumbs to an injury once again this upcoming season, there's no doubt that Swift will be the beneficiary of the additional carries.
Lamorandier: The two that come to mind are LB Jarrad Davis and RB Kerryon Johnson. I think both will lose playing time to Jahlani Tavai and D'Andre Swift, respectively.
In saying that, even if they weren't to be labeled starters anymore, they should still see the field plenty while being deployed in a likely rotation.
5.) What is one change the NFL could make to ensure the season is completed?
Chirco: Instituting a "home market bubble." It's a concept which was suggested by Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University.
According to Binney, such an approach would incorporate largely isolating players and team personnel in a local hotel for the entirety of the season while requiring them to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests each week.
Without a bubble, I, unfortunately, think it's unlikely that an NFL season will be able to be completed in 2020.
Lamorandier: I wish I had an answer. The way the NFL is set up right now, there are going to be players that test positive. That is a risk the players are willing to take if they don't opt out, though. It will be real difficult to not call the season off if some teams have a huge spike in cases. We are seeing this exact scenario in baseball right now.
Knowing that, the NFL will have to push on if they truly want to play the whole year. It really becomes an ethical debate at a certain point.