Jamal Agnew

Lions Activate CB Jamal Agnew

The Lions have activated cornerback/return man Jamal Agnew from injured reserve, the club announced today.

Agnew, 23, earned All-Pro honors as a specialist during his rookie season in 2017 after leading the NFL in punt return yardage and average, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. His prowess in the kicking game had continued into this season, but Agnew had also been asked to play more on defense, where his playtime percentage had jumped from just 7.8% a year ago to 36.3% in 2018. Pro Football Focus gave Agnew poor marks for his coverage abilities, however, grading him as a bottom-10 cornerback.

Detroit has no chance at making the postseason, so it’s fair to wonder why the Lions would risk Agnew’s health in a lost year. But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com wrote earlier this month, Agnew could use the final two weeks of the 2018 campaign to get more experience playing cornerback. Detroit can certainly use all the help it can get, as the club has been deploying lackluster options Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford (an undrafted rookie free agent) alongside Darius Slay. The Lions currently rank 32nd in pass defense DVOA and 31st in opposing passer rating allowed.

Agnew will take the roster spot of running back Kerryon Johnson, who was placed on injured reserve earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Designate CB Jamal Agnew For Return

The Lions have designated cornerback/returner Jamal Agnew to return from injured reserve, the club announced today.

Agnew was originally placed on IR on October 15, and given the NFL’s requirement that IR/return players miss six weeks, the earliest Agnew can return is Week 15. He was allowed to return to practice today, however, opening a three-week window during which the Lions must decide whether to activate Agnew to their 53-man roster, or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Agnew, 23, earned All-Pro honors as a specialist during his rookie season in 2017 after leading the NFL in punt return yardage and average, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. His prowess in the kicking game had continued into this season, but Agnew had also been asked to play more on defense, where his playtime percentage had jumped from just 7.8% a year ago to 36.3% in 2018. Pro Football Focus gave Agnew poor marks for his coverage abilities, however, grading him as a bottom-10 cornerback.

Detroit has no chance at making the postseason, so it’s fair to wonder why the Lions would risk Agnew’s health in a lost year. But as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes, Agnew could use the final three weeks of the 2018 campaign to get more experience playing cornerback. Detroit can certainly use all the help it can get, as the club has been deploying lackluster options Nevin Lawson and Mike Ford (an undrafted rookie free agent) alongside Darius Slay. The Lions currently rank 31st in both pass defense DVOA and opposing passer rating allowed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions To Place CB Jamal Agnew On IR

The Lions will place cornerback/return man Jamal Agnew on injured reserve with a knee injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Agnew, 23, earned All-Pro honors as a specialist during his rookie season in 2017 after leading the NFL in punt return yardage and average, and also scored two touchdowns on special teams. His prowess in the kicking game had continued into this season, but Agnew had also been asked to play more on defense, where his playtime percentage had jumped from just 7.8% a year ago to 36.3% in 2018. Pro Football Focus gave Agnew poor marks for his coverage abilities, however, grading him as a bottom-10 cornerback.

While he’s heading to injured reserve, Agnew could potentially return later this season if the Lions are making a playoff push, per Schefter. NFL rules stipulate a minimum eight-game absence for Agnew, meaning he could return in mid-December if Detroit is in contention. At present, the Lions aren’t a likely playoff team, as FiveThirtyEight.com gives the 2-3 Detroit club just a 25% chance of earning a postseason berth.

With Agnew out, cornerbacks Teez Tabor and DeShawn Shead could see more snaps behind starters Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson. On special teams, running back Ameer Abdullah could potentially be activated for only the second time this season in order to take over on kick and punt returns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.