Key Lions Defender Returns To Practice off Injury Thursday

Justin Coleman

Getty Justin Coleman on the field before a Lions game.

The Detroit Lions have been getting healthier in recent days even as they stay dinged up, and Justin Coleman finally made his long awaited return to practice on Thursday.

Coleman had been shelved on IR since the early part of the season with a hamstring injury, and the Lions put him on IR in order to try and get him back by the middle of the season. So far, that plan seems to have paid off with his return to practice and possibly the lineup this weekend.

Coleman is Detroit’s best slot corner, and he would add even more depth for the team on the back end. The Lions are currently dealing with the likely loss of Desmond Trufant this week, so if Coleman were to return, it could be a significant advantage ahead of their road contest.

How Justin Coleman’s Return Helps Lions

The Lions need their backfield to get healthier, and with Coleman coming back, the team is well on their way toward accomplishing that goal. After the first few weeks, players were in and out with injuries, and all of Detroit’s corners have dealt with something this season. So far, the Lions have lost Desmond Trufant for multiple weeks with injury, and Coleman has joined him on the sidelines. Now, with Coleman coming back, the depth is much better for the Lions and their defensive backfield. It’s a spot that needs it in a big way for the team, given how the Lions have struggled at times on the back end this season.

Justin Coleman Stats

Since joining the Lions, Coleman has made a huge impression for his ability to blanket receivers and make elite plays when the ball is thrown his way. In Detroit last season, Colman started hot with 11 tackles and 1 forced fumble. That led those who are watching closely, including ESPN’s Field Yates, to proclaim him one of the best signings of the free agency period early on.

After watching Coleman match up with Kansas City Chiefs, Yates seemed very excited about what Coleman has been providing the Lions early in his tenure with the team.

It’s been a long time since the Lions could count on anything consistent from their defensive backfield, but with Coleman in the mix, they are finally seeing some quality depth shine through.

After the Lions shelled out the 4 year, $36 million deal to Coleman in free agency last March nearly immediately, the prevailing thought was concern about whether a player who only had a mere 119 tackles, 2 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries in his career would be worth the major money. The key, though, was always the fact that Coleman was coming into a defense in which he has a strong background with Matt Patricia. His awareness around the ball is also key.

In New England, Coleman fit Patricia’s plan perfectly, and it was the Patriots who ended up using Coleman the best. When he went to the Seattle Seahawks, Coleman enjoyed a bit more production and more money, but it was easy to see he loved his role in a comfortable defensive scheme when he jumped at the chance to re-unite with Patricia in Detroit.

Even though the Lions paid Coleman in a big way, it’s obvious that he is proving his worth to the team. Now that he can come back healthy, that might be even more of the case.

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