The Detroit Lions were playing a close game on the road on Monday Night Football, and their undermanned defense in the second level took another hit during the contest.
After allowing a long 50 yard completion on third down, rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu came up lame and was not able to come back to the game. Quickly after that, his return was called questionable to the game in an update that was provided by the team.
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Here’s a look at the announcement as it happened, which included the diagnosis of a thigh injury in real time.
After the injury, the Lions rolled out youngster Jerry Jacobs, who was flagged for a penalty in subsequent drives. Safe to say the young players the Lions have might not scare anybody on the other side, so the hope for the team is Melifonwu can return, or at the very least, the team doesn’t have to be without him for very long on the field.
So far, this isn’t a good development for the Lions and their undermanned defense on the field moving into Week 3.
Lions Thin at Cornerback Already
The Lions had a tough week at cornerback, losing Jeff Okudah to a season-ending injury. The team was already thin in the second level given the age and experience level of the other players on their roster, so losing Melifonwu would be a very bad proposition for the Lions in this game and moving forward. The team would almost assuredly have to bring in veteran players if they were faced to be without Melifonwu, who was off to a decent start in the game and not scared to face the Green Bay weaponry.
If Melifonwu cannot return, the Lions will have to consider elevating someone else from the practice squad, perhaps veteran cornerback Darryl Worley. That could be key in a short week for the team and another game on Sunday.
Melifonwu Stats and Highlights
If the last name sounds familiar to fans, that’s because Ifeatu’s brother Obi Melifonwu played in the NFL recently as well. The older Melifonwu didn’t have nearly as much success, but that doesn’t mean the younger one can’t be great. Melifonwu has solid size at 6-3 and is the type of player who can be a better cornerback than some of the options that may go higher than him in the NFL Draft. In college, he put up 88 tackles, 3 interceptions, 19 passes defended and 1 sack. Melifowu might end up being one of the better cornerbacks that comes out of this draft process, and the Lions hope they will look smart to have nabbed him given their major needs at cornerback.
Here’s a look at some of Melifonwu’s best highlights:
Melifonwu will need to come packing the big play ability in his future as well as show an ability to get over the injury bug.