Lions sign well-traveled QB Josh Johnson, bring Trey Flowers off PUP

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
View Comments

From Tom Savage as backup, to Tom Savage's old backup.

The Detroit Lions signed free-agent quarterback Josh Johnson to a one-year deal Saturday after Savage suffered a concussion in Thursday's preseason-opening loss to the New England Patriots.

Savage's status for this week's joint practices with and game against the Houston Texans is uncertain, but given his history with brain injuries — he finished the 2017 season on injured reserve because of a concussion — the Lions are likely to tread carefully with the man they signed to be Matthew Stafford's backup.

Josh Johnson (8) gives directions to his team in the first quarter at Nissan Stadium, Dec. 22, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.

Lions preseason debacle: Cover your eyes, plug your nose and move along ]

Johnson, 33, made three starts for Washington late last season and went 1-2 in those appearances. 

A fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2008 draft, Johnson has played for 12 other teams in his NFL career and spent part of the 2017 season with the Texans.

In Houston, he backed up Savage for part of the season and played for current Lions quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan.

"It’s always difficult to bring a quarterback in kind of mid-training camp," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "One of the things we try to look for is any sort of familiarity with the players we bring in. It really doesn’t matter (if) it's quarterbacks, linebackers, it could be anything that’s a communication piece, and he spent time with our quarterbacks coach down in Houston so they have a great working relationship down there."

The Lions worked out two quarterbacks Saturday, Johnson and Landry Jones, after suffering a slew of injuries against the Patriots.

Savage was hurt on the Lions' second offensive series, when he banged his head on the Ford Field turf after he was sacked by Patriots linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley.

Josh Johnson in the regular season finale last season for Washington.

David Fales replaced Savage and played the final three quarters, but was ineffective, completing just 5 of 14 passes for 62 yards and an interception.

Stafford did not play against the Patriots, and is expected to see just minimal time this week against the Texans.

Along with Savage, the Lions lost wide receiver Jermaine Kearse to a season-ending leg injury Thursday and defensive tackle Darius Kilgo to a knee injury. Swing tackle Tyrell Crosby also suffered a concussion in the game.

The Lions placed Kearse and Kilgo on injured reserve Saturday, signed running back Justin Stockton, who spent part of last season on the practice squad, and activated defensive end Trey Flowers off the physically unable to perform list.

Flowers underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, after helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.

View Comments