Lions’ James Houston Suffers Fractured Ankle

Expectations were high for James Houston entering the 2023 season, but his campaign will be put on hold for an extended stretch. The Lions edge rusher suffered a fractured ankle in Week 2, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Further testing will be done today to determine if surgery is necessary, Rapoport adds. Regardless of if a procedure is needed, though, Houston is facing an absence of at least six to eight weeks. The news marks a disappointing turn for the 24-year-old who was looking to build off his surprising production in his rookie season.

Houston announced his presence with a pair of Thanksgiving Day sacks in his NFL debut, and he remained productive after earning a spot on the active roster following that performance. The fifth-rounder totaled eight sacks and 13 pressures on the season, despite seeing the field for only 32% of defensive snaps. A repeat of his 2022 play was thought to be in store, something which would have presumably earned him an uptick in playing time.

Instead, Houston is now likely headed to IR given the severity of the injury. Through two games in 2023, the Jackson State product has totaled just one tackle while remaining in a rotational role.

This is a sign that he needs to just rush the passer from here on out. Not drop into coverage.



How do you make Quinn and Patricia’s drafting and usage of Tavai seem like a decent idea? Play Houston as a 43 SAM.


Get him back for the 2nd half of the season for his annual 8 sacks 2nd half


We can only hope. I wonder what kind of career Elvis Dumerville would have had if he got stuck with coordinators who thought their undersized but very fast edge player needs to spend more time chasing tight ends.


I mean we have such an awesome pass rush do we really need Houston anyways? I mean let’s just have him cover TE’s and play special teams.


It really is bizarre. And we all saw this coming preseason and were generally speaking collectively like, “they’re not serious about this are they?”


Right. First snap of the regular season had Harris lined up as an off-ball SAM.

I’m scared.


I just don’t see it with Harris but I’m a sucker for juice and he just doesn’t really have any.

What about a 3-3-5 with Hutch, McNeil and Commish (mixing Benito in there for rush defense purposes) and AA, Barnes and Jack behind him. At least until we get a healthy DL back.

Get the best guys on the field.

I’m sure AG will come up with something creative that we hadn’t thought of…


Whatever it is, it will consist of JJ playing 50 yards off the ball.

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No 3-3 for me.
If you’re going to go with a 4-man front, they should take a page out of Schwartz’s playbook. Get your edge rushers (especially the undersized ones) out wide to beat the OTs with speed.

I think Hutch needs to be on the edge so I’d say no to the stack, but I do like those three linebackers.

Hutch-Benito-McNeill-Harris(throws up in mouth)



There is no reason that shouldn’t be the starting lineup.

Also Brodric Martin needs to play. There is no reason for him to be a healthy scratch anymore, especially with these injuries we have now.

It’s interesting how different posters have differing opinions. @StormGuyNovi was just opining that would be the absolute worst approach.

To be honest I don’t know what the solution is. But we absolute need more pass rush. We don’t have the corners to hold up without out it. We are absolutely due for some regression in terms of the offense turning it over and we need to create more turnovers to compensate. We need pressure to have reasonable expectations of doing so.


Here’s the problem.
Passing down and you have:
1tech (Jones)
Under 3t (McNeil)
DE iso’d on the OT with no help (Harris)
Closed DE on the side with TE help (Hutch)

This is a poor allocation of resources. McNeil is NOT AN UNDER. An Under possesses moves that will allow him to pressure a QB, beating the Guard one-on-one. Levi ~should~ have been that guy. If he’s not, then CHANGE THE ALIGNMENT.

So, no Levi there. Unfortunately no Paschal either.

Then you have Harris one-up on the OT, who should be eating his lunch and does get a good jump:

But the interior pressure is only generated by Hutch and it’s too late.

Hutch should have Harris’s snap.
Commish should have Hutch’s.
Jones and McNeil are still the weakest links in pass defense in this example. Zero push. We don’t have an answer for that.

I appreciate the hell out of @StormGuyNovi , but I’m going to differ with him here. McNeil and Jones and Buggs are good space-eaters and nothing more. They should both be aligned as 2-techs on the Guards, drawing help from the Center and OT, allowing some speed on the edge to get home being chipped less.


Good work. Thank you for taking the time to compose and share this.

As always, I reserve the right to be full of crap.


Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon

I wonder how long it will take Dan to fix this , Harris has had a free pass and McNeil as the 3t should be scraped.

Would like to see Hutch and Comish as our ends. Nothing you can do about the interior I would put McNeil at NT and put Levi at the 3T and see if he can improve. But Harris McNeil and Jones as starters isn’t gonna produce much pass rush.

Pretty good break down by Linebusy