Dan Campbell explains Jeff Okudah’s lack of playing time in Week 17

Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah did not play much in Detroit’s Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears. The starting CB was on the field for just 17 of the 51 defensive snaps, a stark drop for a player who never left the field most of the season.

It comes a week after Okudah was benched for poor performance in the Lions’ loss to the Panthers. That is going to raise some eyebrows after Okudah had played at a high level in both coverage and run support throughout 2022.

Lions head coach Campbell was asked if the diminished role was related to the illness Okudah went through in December that kept him sidelined in practices.

“No, I would say it was a couple of things last week we talked about,” Campbell responded. “I thought he came out ready to work. It was always about getting Mike Hughes more plays. I mean, Mike earned his right to play now too. And Okudah took some gunner reps for us because Mike was going to play more on the outside than probably Jeff was, and so they both played. No, listen, Jeff’s good. He’s helping us, man. He’s contributing.”

Okudah did indeed contribute on special teams as a gunner, but that’s not his typical usage. I haven’t gone through the entire game tape yet, but I haven’t seen Okudah play after the first three Chicago offensive drives. Hughes stepped in and played well in the outside CB role.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire