Lions Bring Back Veteran Offensive Lineman to Practice Squad

Dan Skipper

Getty Dan Skipper celebrates a score with the Lions in the final game of the 2021 regular season.

The Detroit Lions are once again facing injury issues for Week 11, and are having to take steps to patch a big hole that could be emerging up front.

Once again, Taylor Decker is facing injury, having missed practice on Thursday with an elbow ailment. Late in the week, that’s bad news for the Lions in terms of the health of their line, so it only makes sense that the team would need some help up front for stability. That help came on Friday morning in the form of Dan Skipper.

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The Lions revealed they had signed Skipper to their practice squad early Friday morning with a Tweet:

Skipper returns at a time where the Lions are already facing a somewhat desperate situation up front. Decker may or may not be healthy, so the Lions could have to rely on calling Skipper up to the roster at some point if Decker is hurt again.

Skipper’s Stats & Highlights

If it’s direct experience the Lions want at this point, Skipper brings only a little to the team given he has played in 12 games to this point in his NFL career with no starts. Skipper does however know the system and scheme given he has played in Detroit before.

Skipper was an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas in 2017, so he undoubtably has a good relationship with Frank Ragnow, Detroit’s center who is out injured. Ragnow is a fellow Razorback and both he and Skipper’s time overlapped in Fayetteville while in college. Skipper also joined the team in 2019 where he played briefly for the Lions.

Skipper started his career with the Dallas Cowboys, but quickly signed on with the Lions after that. He has played in Detroit before, and was on the Lions roster in 2017 and 2018. Following spending that brief time with the Lions, he was snatched up by the New England Patriots, where he managed to be on the practice squad for the team that captured Super Bowl LII.

Interestingly enough, at 6-10, Skipper is one of the tallest players in the NFL, which is why teams have appreciated his tools up front. With a body that size, he can move around and serve as a key blocker, even though he has yet to carve out a role up front in the league consistently. Here’s Skipper at work in college:

Likely, the hope for Skipper is that he can become a quality reserve offensive lineman and be a rotational player to give a team snaps and depth along their front. Skipper returns to Detroit this week at a pretty dramatic time of need for the Lions along the offensive front to add some future depth.

Why Lions Brought Back Skipper to Team

Skipper has been known around the league as a good depth piece for offensive lines who is capable of coming in and filling in when a team is down a key player. That’s the reason the team is adding him in an emergency role. The Lions have a major complication brewing with the health of Decker, and their offensive line has been in a state of injury peril most of the season this year. With that in mind, a player with NFL experience and size like Skipper can come in handy for a team.

The Lions will hope they don’t have to use Skipper, but if they do, he at least has some experience and has been with the team before.

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