How the Detroit Lions manage their safety rotation.

Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is back in action.Gardner-Johnson, who has been on injured reserve since Week 2 with a torn groin, is close to returning and could see action against Dallas on Saturday. Although his presence is welcome, the recent emergence of Ifeatu Melifonwu has somewhat complicated things.

Melifonwuhas recorded three sacks, 14 tackles, four pass breakups and an interception over the past two weeks. He first started in Week 14 against Chicago when defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn decided to use him as Tracy Walker. With Gardner-Johnson likely to return this week, Glenn is now tasked with figuring out the roles of several talented players in the defensive backfield.

The defensive coordinator consistently delivered the message. The best players will be the ones on the field. With Kerby Joseph playing well in the team’s free safety role and Bryan Branch taking over the nickel spot, the Lions will have to decide how to split the snaps between Gardner-Johnson and Melifonwu. “The best man plays. Listen, there’s always going to be an opportunity to put every player on the field.” Glenn said Wednesday. “I know I’ve joked before, but listen. We want to have the best players possible on the pitch and that’s my job. I promise you: it will happen.”

This prevents us from breaking down the defense, which is how we play. Gardner-Johnson’s first game will likely limit his shots as he looks to get back into the flow of the game. But the five-year veteran has a track record that shows he can perform well enough to make it difficult to leave the field.As a result, they might get their first chance. However, Melifonwu’s outstanding offensive rebounding ability is an asset that the Lions have used.

“I think because (Ifeatu Melifonwu) Iffy and Kerby (Joseph) will both play at a high level. (Brian) Branch has come in and is playing really good football.” Campbell said. So you say, “Okay, what do I do with the package here?” You start talking. Please enter it first. So what I mean is we’re going to play against the best players that are going to give us a chance to win based on what they’ve done and their personnel group and be the best at it.

The best course of action for the Lions heading into Week 16 is to gauge how much of a workload Gardner-Johnson can easily handle. He will be the focal point of the unit, but Melifonwu’s production is hard to ignore. Gardner-Johnson’s presence makes the difference. But Melifonwu proved in a recent hearing that he is the man. As a result, Glenn’s defense may seem somewhat unusual.

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