How Trey Flowers' absence would impact Detroit Lions run defense vs. Baltimore Ravens

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The Detroit Lions could be without one of their best run defenders for Sunday's game against the best rushing offense in the NFL.

Trey Flowers did not take part in the open portion of practice Friday because of knee and shoulder injuries and is questionable for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Flowers, who has nine tackles and one forced fumble in the season's first two games, also missed practice Wednesday and Thursday.

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Lions defensive end Trey Flowers rushes Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky during the first half at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
Lions defensive end Trey Flowers rushes Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky during the first half at Ford Field on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.

The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing yards per game (220) and play (5.9), and have topped 100 yards on the ground in 41 consecutive games. Their read-option offense, with the slippery Lamar Jackson at quarterback, puts particular stress on the outside contain defender, who is responsible for reacting to Jackson's decision to keep or hand off the ball.

If Flowers can't play Sunday, Charles Harris should start at right outside linebacker, with Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant taking on more prominent roles as backups.

"We’re just going to assess it towards the end of this week, see if we can get him back," Lions coach Dan Campbell said Thursday of Flowers' availability for Sunday. "He’ll be getting the mental work and we’ll see where he’s at.”

The Lions officially ruled Jamie Collins out for Sunday and listed six other players as questionable: Okwara, his brother Julian Okwara, running back D'Andre Swift (groin), receiver Kalif Raymond (thigh) and defensive linemen Michael Brockers (shoulder) and Kevin Strong (thigh/concussion).

Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derrick Barnes will play in Collins' place at inside linebacker, and the Lions will be breaking in a new starting cornerback (likely Bobby Price) and perhaps a new kicker (Ryan Santoso) with Austin Seibert on the reserve/COVID list.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: How Trey Flowers' absence will impact Detroit Lions defense