One of the contributing factors to the Lions victory on Sunday was the running game which produced 154 yards on 36 carries.
Of those rushing yards, running back Kevin Smith produced 101, marking his third career 100-yard rushing game.
Smith, who left the game in the third quarter after suffering a shoulder injury, has been a crucial part of the Lions offense by not only gaining yardage on the ground, but also creating opportunity in the passing game.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan on the disappointment of Smith’s injury: “Well, injuries are part of it. It’s always disappointing when you lose players for whatever reason, but injuries – that’s part of the game that you’ve got to deal with. It’s another person’s opportunity to come in and make a key play like Maurice (Morris) did on the touchdown and that’s why you have a full team. Kevin will get back; you’ve just got to handle that … that’s some of the adversity that’s going to happen in games and in-season that you’ve got to deal with – it’s part of the game.”
This week the Lions prepare to head to Soldier Field to face the rival Chicago Bears, which will be another big challenge for the offense in protecting the passer and running the ball.
Linehan: “Well, they’re playing great defensive football. It seems like every week we turn around and we’re playing one of the best defenses in the league. They’re playing extremely well. They’re playing exactly how they’re built, getting teams in tough situations, and letting their athletes run around. They’ve got 11 guys flying to the ball; very athletic and fast defense that creates some real match-up problems for you.
“We’ve got to sustain a lot of things both on the ground and through the air. Stay on the field; keep drives alive and stay out of unfavorable down and distance situations because these guys can flat-out get to the quarterback.”
Tags: Scott Linehan
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The biggest question following Sunday’s win over Washington had to do with the state of running back Kevin Smith.
Head Coach Jim Schwartz simply said they are waiting on test results before determining how to move forward.
Schwartz: “He’s got a shoulder. Had some tests done today, we’ll probably just see where it is this week. You’re not going to get a whole lot more out of me than that.”
Smith, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, says he is sore but is looking to get back on the field as soon as possible.
Smith: “I mean, I’m not ready to play if we had to play a game tomorrow and that’s from the general soreness, but I’m 22 years old and I usually heal pretty fast. There’s nothing. I don’t have any bone damage or anything like that. It’s just icing down, what you have to do in the NFL. You’re not going to be healthy a lot of weeks, so I got to spend most of the hours of the day icing down, getting treatment, to get myself back.”
If Smith isn’t able to go this week, the start would go to veteran Maurice Morris who finished Sunday’s game with 10 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Schwartz: “Maurice (Morris) is a skilled running back. He’s been very efficient in his runs. He carried the ball two times against the Vikings, I think 8 and 9 yards were his two carries. He had a couple in this game that he’d probably like to have back, but Maurice, when you look at his efficiency, his efficiency has been very good. We have a lot of confidence that if he has to go that he can shoulder the load. It’s one of the reasons that he was brought here, to be able to take 30 carries in a game if he had to.”
From Smith’s standpoint, getting hurt hasn’t hurt the enjoyment of his first NFL win.
Smith: “Of course, I would have loved to finish with the guys, but they still gave me high fives. They didn’t feel like I was not part of the team anymore. I still went out there and celebrated.”
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The Lions picked up their first win of the season today as they defeated the Washington Redskins, 19-14.
QB Matthew Stafford put out a solid performance as he connected on 21-of-36 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback passer rating of 87.8.
Stafford: “It’s awesome. It’s great for not only the guys in the locker room, but the fans, the town – everybody. Hopefully we can keep this thing going. We played well on offense, defense and special teams. It wasn’t just one part of our team that got it done today. Defense stopped them when they needed to. We mustered up enough points in the second half to get the job done and it’s just a tribute to everybody sticking together and pulling through.”
Head Coach Jim Schwartz was pleased with the team’s performance and the fact that the weight of last season’s record has now been lifted.
Schwartz: “We weren’t 0-2. Our guys were carrying the burden of 0-19, and it was unfair to them. But this gets us off of that and puts it behind us.
“Half our team was new, so they didn’t have the burden, but I think the organization had a burden and the city of Detroit felt it. Honestly, that game shouldn’t have been that close. We had a couple of plays that we left on the field that we could have not had to hold on at the very end of that game.”
Tags: Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford
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“Last week, I definitely felt better about me getting into the game plan a little bit more there for the first half. I didn’t get my second half catch, but it definitely felt better. I got a little bit more keyed up for this week so we’ll see what happens.
“It was probably the biggest crowd I’ve been around. In college it was big but it wasn’t anything like that. It was loud, it was great, great atmosphere.
“I don’t really know what to think about that the differences in the offense from the first half to the second. I thought we had a great preparation with practice and the first half showed it. The second half we just kind of fell off, we didn’t get it done. I don’t know what happened but we’ll try not to let it happen this week.
“Coach Schwartz and Coach Linehan said that we had the attitude - you could tell - and it’s clear we had the attitude that we want to get it done. But, like I said, it’s just mental. It’s really just us, it’s not anything they were doing.
“Washington is probably going to jump up on Calvin like any other team would, so I’ve just really got to be on task and make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and be where I’m supposed to be.
“That’ll be important, especially this week and we definitely don’t want to get away from the run because that’ll open up the pass for us. It’s just the attitude.”
Tags: Brandon Pettigrew
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The Lions practiced in shorts on the outdoor fields today at the team’s headquarters and practice facility in Allen Park.
The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions’ Injury Report: DE Cliff Avril (hamstring), CB Eric King (shoulder) and LB Ernie Sims (shoulder) did not practice; CB Phillip Buchanon (neck), DE Andre Fluellen (knee), DT Grady Jackson (knee) and QB Drew Stanton (knee) were limited in practice; FB Jerome Felton (ankle), DT Sammie Hill (neck), G Daniel Loper (knee) and S Marquand Manuel (knee) had full participation in practice. Avril, King and Sims are doubtful; Buchanon, Fluellen and Stanton are questionable; Felton, Hill, Jackson, Loper and Manuel are probable.
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“The second game, I felt a little more comfortable having one game under my belt. For some reason, the second game was much faster to me. I think I was more relaxed the first game than the second game especially because it was the home crowd. I’m glad to have the two games under my belt, though, and I’m looking forward to the third one.
“Containing Adrian Peterson was our attention going in there – hold him down. We had to hold him down. Our goal was to not give up two big runs, but obviously we did. I think we did a good job holding them to less than 100 yards. I think next time we play him – not jumping ahead – but next time we play him we’ve got to do better than that.
“Clinton Portis – I’d say he’s one of the best athletes in the game as far as the speed and strength. He’s much more powerful and we’ve got to do a good job containing him because he can lost behind the line a lot. So we’ve just got to look for him and just try to contain him.
“My keys to the game, for me, don’t miss any tackles, don’t have any blown assignments. Just try to be the best, try to be the best player on defense so I can help my team out. I’m going to try my best to just prove to my teammates that I get the job done.
“Our attitude as a team right now – no matter what happens – is to do whatever it takes to get a win. Obviously we’re 0-2 right now and we would hate to be 0-3 going into our fourth game. Attitude right now is always positive – keep each other going and try to keep a positive attitude in the locker room trying to tell everybody that we’re going to get a win.
“Let me tell you: Larry Foote – our defensive captain – has the weirdest leadership. He’s talkative, he’s mean and he’s funny. Most of all, we respect him as a leader on defense because he’s a people-person. He’s going to get in your face, but by the end of the day he’s going to come over there and talk to you and crack a joke – this is how we’ve got to get it done. Larry Foote, he leads by example and you can’t ask for more out of a leader.”
Tags: Louis Delmas
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The Detroit Lions went back to work this afternoon in preparation for the Redskins at Ford Field this Sunday.
After limiting Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson to 92 rushing yards in last weekends contest, the Lions defense will have another tough back to face in Pro Bowler Clinton Portis who carried the ball 342 times for 1,487 yards last season, finishing third amongst NFL rushers.
Head Coach Jim Schwartz: “They’re running a lot of the zone stretch stuff. It’s more of a one cut style. Adrian Peterson has the strength to go blast it inside (and) he’s got the speed to go outside. Clinton Portis is the classic one cut running back. He’s got great vision. He’s got great open field ability to run the screen. They run a lot of screens to him. He rushed almost 1,500 yards last year on a team that ran the ball very well. That’s because what they do fits him as a runner.”
The Lions offense will also have a challenge ahead of them with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in the middle.
Haynesworth, who posted 75 tackles and 8.5 sacks (52.5 yards) in 2008, spent the previous seven seasons of his career in Tennesse under Schwartz.
Haynesworth: “I just like him (Schwartz) as a person. He’s a good dude. You can joke with him. You can have fun with him, and then he’s serious. He knows the game and if he’s going to be your head coach, and he coaches the same way when he was a d-coordinator, you should expect good things out of Detroit.”
Tags: Jim Schwartz
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In his first year with the Detroit Lions, linebacker Larry Foote is showing his leadership abilities both on and off the field. Despite a pair of losses, Foote has turned in two strong performances; at New Orleans and against Minnesota.
Regarding what the team could do different regarding Sunday’s loss to Minnesota, Foote simply said, “Get the win. When you win, your little mistakes don’t mean (anything). The coaches might even overlook it, but when you lose, those mistakes remind them of (your mistakes).”
Coming from a Super Bowl winner to his hometown of Detroit, eyes have been on Foote to see how he would react if adversity were to hit.
Foote: “The main thing is: you can control your attitude. You can’t control what happened last year or you can’t control what happened Sunday. But Wednesday when we get out there and practice, my job is to just be upbeat, be positive and be encouraging to the other guys.
“But we’ve got to win. We’ve got to get a ‘W’ around here. Confidence builds by winning, not by talking, and going out and practicing. Confidence builds by closing games and winning on the road and beating good teams.”
Foote’s take on the team? The locker room is positive and upbeat to continue the season.
Foote: “We see the positives and we also see the negative things, but we can handle the negative things, we can control it. It’s a lot of mental stuff, and that’s the good thing as a football team – you can see a lot of our breakdowns are mental.”
As far as what those negatives are, Foote says the New Orleans game saw the majority of the negatives this season. He says, “When we’re on our stuff and doing the right thing we can being a good team.”
As far as the positives, Foote says:
“Defensively, we play hard. When you’re studying opposing offenses you can see their defense and sometimes around the league teams don’t play hard. I can’t say that about us because we do fly to the ball and in the long run that’s going to pay off.”
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Head Coach Jim Schwartz and wide receiver Calvin Johnson will co-host tonight’s Buffalo Wild Wings Lions Review with Dan Miller at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Canton.
Submit a question to ask Schwartz or Johnson and then tune in at 7 p.m. ET on AM 1270 WXYT to see if your question was chosen!
Click here to submit a question or comment below!
Tags: Buffalo Wild Wings Lions Review, Calvin Johnson, Jim Schwartz
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The Detroit Lions announced a sellout for this weekend’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
Though the game is an official sellout and will therefore appear on local television, the Vikings have returned an allotment of tickets available for purchase. Fans can purchase those tickets here.
Head Coach Jim Schwartz commented on the sellout following Friday afternoon’s practice.
Schwartz: “Well it’s important to the city for everybody to see it, but I’m really excited to see our fans in action. There’s a home field advantage in the National Football League. We saw it last week, drawing a couple false start penalties because of the crowd noise. When you can get that 12th man on your side – the crowd noise, the excitement – the players will feel it. It will be electric. It’s the home opener. It’s going to be a great time. I’m really looking forward to it.”
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