Bad news for the Detroit Lions after the team went to Indianapolis and beat the Colts 24-10. While a victory is always good news, injuries are the complete opposite. Early indications are that DE Kerry Hyder has torn his Achilles and is likely going to miss all of 2017.
Going into last year’s training camp, Hyder was a bubble guy that was at risk of not making the team, but that was before his outrageous 2016 campaign. While most fans expected defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to be the dominant end, it was all Hyder.
Hyder exploded onto the scene, tallying 23 tackles and eight sacks in 16 games. His role was still a rotational player, only starting two games, but Hyder appeared to find his groove and seemed to be blossoming into a solid edge rusher.
According to the unofficial depth chart released by the Lions earlier this week, Hyder was listed as the starting defensive end and was expected to start opposite of Ansah. Instead, the Lions will have to turn to second-year player Anthony Zettel and Cornelius Washington.
In his rookie season, Zettel suited up for 13 games, recording 13 tackles and one sack. Zettel has more length than Hyder, being two inches taller, and a similar length, but he isn’t quite the athlete Hyder is. However, Hyder did make his jump in his second year and coaches are hopeful that Zettel can do the same.
The other option to replace Hyder is Washington, who was added to the squad this offseason. Washington spent his last four seasons with the Chicago Bears, compiling 30 tackles and three sacks. Washington struggled to stay of the field for the Bears, missing 31 games. During his college days at Georgia, Washington was a force, but his game never seemed to transfer over into the NFL.
Don’t rule out the chances of the Lions scouring the free agent pool to find Hyder’s replacement. There are a few decent names out there. Dwight Freeney, Jared Odrick, Trent Cole, Paul Kruger and Mario Williams are just a few of the players without a team. All five of those guys would be an improvement to whatever backup plan is currently on the roster. The Lions would be smart to go after either Freeney or Williams to play alongside Ansah,instead of Zettel or Washington.
There is no official news about the extent of Hyder’s injury, but it’s not looking good. This will be a huge blow to the Lions, specifically to the team’s pass rush. Ansah will have a lot of pressure on him this year and he will need to perform if the Lions want to make a playoff push.
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