Delmas Wants a Big Game Against Chicago

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 31, 2009 – 9:32 pm

“The season has been pretty exciting. It hasn’t gone the way I wish it had gone, but I made it this far – we made it this far. We’ve got a lot to look forward to next year going into this game. This game is very important for us because it’s either going to leave a good taste or a bad taste in people’s mouths looking into it next year.
 
“Looking at this week, Forte is that man. I guess you could say, just like the safety is the quarterback of the defense, for the receivers and the running backs Forte is the quarterback for that group. He moves the ball very well. He gets the crowd and the offense going. He’s going to be a load to stop, but I think we’re going to try and do a good job of containing him. Once we do that, we’ll work on everybody else.
 
“Remembering the last time we played them, I am going to be ready for a shootout or just a dogfight. They can score points at any time. Looking back on the Vikings game from this past Monday, they put up 36 points. You’ve just got to be ready to play all four quarters.
 
“To win this game would be very positive because no team wants to lose their last game and then go through summer workouts knowing that they lost their last game. It leaves a bad taste not only in the fans’ mouths, but in our mouths also. Just to win this last game would be very important for us because this organization isn’t known for winning. Just going into the summer – going on vacation – knowing that you got a win under your belt gives you a lot to look forward to when you have to report back.
 
“With this being my last entry of the season, I just want to tell the fans we’re going to go out there and we’re going to give it our all. We’re going to give them a show and they should just prepare themselves for a very exciting game.”


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Practice Update

Posted by Tara Altman on December 31, 2009 – 8:28 pm

As the Lions prepare to play their final game of the season against the NFC North rival Chicago Bears this Sunday, Head Coach Jim Schwartz has remained mum on who will get the start at quarterback.

Schwartz: “There are no announcements on that yet.”

While the question remains on whether QB Daunte Culpepper or QB Drew Stanton will take the first snap on Sunday, Schwartz has remained focused on how the Lions are looking towards this match-up.

Schwartz: “I think that anytime you play a division opponent it’s important. There’s a little bit more of a familiarity, so it is a little more of a physical contest rather than an adjusting to a different scheme or something you haven’t seen before. It’s obviously a team that you need to beat to win your division and there’s rivalry there. It’s a big rivalry.”


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Peterson Named Pro Bowl Alternate

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 30, 2009 – 9:20 pm

Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced after Wednesday’s practice that veteran linebacker Julian Peterson has been named a Pro Bowl alternate for this year’s game in Miami.

Schwartz: “We did have one alternate – Julian Peterson got voted as an alternate. A lot of times that stuff comes to light as you get closer to the Pro Bowl when you get injuries or people that get out of the game for certain reasons. Julian has been there before and has had a good season for us.”

Peterson is currently tied for a team-leading 4.5 sacks and has four forced fumbles and two recoveries. He also has 69 total tackles and four pass defenses.

In addition to Peterson, media in attendance asked Schwartz about rookie safety Louis Delmas and whether he was surprised he wasn’t named a Pro Bowl alternate.

Schwartz: “It’s hard for rookies. A lot of times you’re judged on interceptions and he has two, he’s dropped a couple. He’s played well, but it’s going to take a little longer to earn the respect of the whole league, not just this team and this city.”

Delmas is certainly winning over Detroit Lions’ fans, helped by his 101-yard interception return for a touchdown Week 15 against Arizona.

But, as Pro Bowl conversation circulated, Schwartz made sure he emphasized Detroit’s true objectives as an organization.

Schwartz: “That stuff will come, but that’s not our objective. We were talking about our focus being on the Bears and things like that. Our goal as a team and our goal here is not for guys to make the Pro Bowl, our goal is to win games. I’d much rather be the Cincinnati Bengals and be leading the AFC North and have no guys in the Pro Bowl than have a bunch of guys in the Pro Bowl and be out of the playoff hunt.

“In 2002 when I was with the Tennessee Titans we went to the AFC Championship Game and had zero Pro Bowlers. Worry about that stuff, don’t worry about getting recognition. Play well and we’ll get recognition. That really comes from a whole team standpoint; it’s not an individual sport.”


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Stafford’s Surgery a Success

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 30, 2009 – 3:46 am

The Detroit Lions confirmed that rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford had minor knee surgery Tuesday and that it was a success.

Stafford’s surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced last week that Stafford would be placed on Injured/Reserve after it was ruled that he wouldn’t be ready to play in time for the team’s season finale against Chicago.

The surgery was perfomed to clean up his right knee to which he suffered an injury Week 4 at Chicago.


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Stafford Placed on Injured/Reserve; Lions Sign QB Ramsey

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 26, 2009 – 10:23 pm

The Detroit Lions announced Saturday that they have officially placed rookie QB Matthew Stafford on Injured/Reserve.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz confirmed Thursday that the team would place Stafford on I/R after team doctors confirmed he wouldn’t be ready to play in Detroit’s final game of the season against Chicago.

Since Stafford will not be ready to play, the Lions will take the opportunity to perform a minor procedure on the quarterback’s knee.

Schwartz: “It’s not a repair, it’s not anything other than a clean out because it’s irritated. It’s stuff that you manage, but one thing you want to do is to put that behind you. You don’t have to want to manage that in the spring, next year, or further along in your career.”

With Stafford on I/R, the Lions signed QB Patrick Ramsey to the active roster.


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Stafford to be Placed on Injured/Reserve

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 24, 2009 – 4:20 pm

Head Coach Jim Schwartz announced Thursday morning that the Detroit Lions will put starting quarterback Matthew Stafford on Injured/Reserve.

Stafford will undergo a minor knee surgery on Tuesday to the knee he suffered an injury to Week 4 at Chicago. The procedure entails cleaning up irritants that have been lasting from the injury.

Schwartz: “It’s not a repair, it’s not anything other than a clean out because it’s irritated. It’s stuff that you manage, but one thing you want to do is to put that behind you. You don’t have to want to manage that in the spring, next year, or further along in your career.”

A combination of Stafford’s shoulder injury, which Schwartz said is progressing fine, and his knee would keep him out of the season finale against Chicago.

Since the team knew Stafford would need this minor surgery following the season anyway, Schwartz and the staff decided to get a jump start.

Schwartz: “(It was us saying), is it realistic that he’s going to be on the field next Sunday? Probably not, so let’s go ahead and get started on this. When he comes back up here or he’s with us for the Chicago game, he’ll be able to finish up in meetings and stuff like that and then exit out and we don’t have that happening after the season.

“This is a procedure that our doctors and everybody associated anticipate him walking actually out of the operating room.”

Read the full press release on Detroitlions.com


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Stanton Looks Forward to First-Career Start

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 23, 2009 – 10:08 pm

Drew Stanton will make his first-career start this Sunday at San Francisco.

Stanton: “I found out this morning walking into the team meeting. Coach Schwartz pulled me aside and said that I was going to get my first opportunity to start.”

This is a significant opportunity for Stanton, who has had preseason opportunities, but has also been held back by injuries.

In 2007, he was placed on Injured/Reserve with a knee injury; last season he suffered a thumb sprain during practice prior to the third preseason game and this season he suffered a knee injury at the end of the third preseason game.

Stanton on the opportunity: “It’s huge. I’m getting an opportunity to get in there and get comfortable and being on the same page with (my teammates) is going to be vital. It’s comforting to know that and to get in there and have a week of preparation and be on the same page. (I’m also getting to) talk and communicate with Dom (Raiola) and get the fine-tuning down (with) the precision of routes and what I’m expecting and what they’re expecting from me.”

Stanton is well-known in Michigan, growing up in Farmington Hills and attending college at Michigan State. Over that time, he has developed the reputation of not being afraid to run for a first-down – something he has had to curb a little bit since becoming an NFL quarterback.

Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan wants to see Stanton have patience in the pocket and run through his progressions, but he also knows that running is a significant part of Stanton’s game. The hope is that there will be an effective balance between patience to throw and taking an opportunity to run.

Stanton: “I think you just have to constantly remind yourself that the plays make themselves. If they’re there, take them. If they’re not, don’t try and force something.

“I think that comes with just having confidence but also throughout the week of preparation having an idea of what you’re going to get—knowing when to take your shots, knowing down and distance, and being on the same page with the offensive coordinator and what he’s thinking on any given play.”

This start will give Stanton the opportunity to put what he has practiced into a live game situation and truly gauge where he is in terms of development.

It is also a chance for him to put on tape what he is capable of as an NFL quarterback.

Stanton: “Matthew is the future, there’s no doubt about that, but if I can stay around here and prove to these guys that I can play in this league (it will benefit me). I also look at it from the standpoint that it’s a resume that I’m putting out there every time I step on the field. There are 31 other teams that could be in the market for a quarterback at any given time, and I take that approach and that’s why all the hard work is put in.”


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Delmas: ‘Coach Schwartz does a great job of holding us accountable’

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 17, 2009 – 10:01 pm

“There’s really no excuse for (last game’s performance). They came out, they dominated on their own turf and they knew exactly what they wanted to do, which was run the ball. We knew exactly what they wanted to do also.

“We knew they were going to come out there and try to run the ball and start the running game to get the counter game going, but we couldn’t stop it. I’m not going to use the weather as an excuse or miscommunication as an excuse because that wasn’t the case. We still went out there and played, we just didn’t perform like we should have.

“Coach Schwartz has been doing a good job of hiding how upset he gets from the media and only getting on us in the locker room, but there comes a point in time where you just can’t take it anymore. You’re tired of pulling your own hair; you feel like you’re by yourself and you just want to relieve stress by giving it to everybody else.

“I think he did the right thing. He let everybody see that he’s still a great coach and he’s trying his best to get us going. If that results in having us on the field screaming at us – any great coach will do that.

“Coach Schwartz does a great job of holding us accountable. He preaches every day that we’re not little kids, such as myself. I’m a rookie, but I’m not a little kid, I’m a grown man. This is a job. And in order for us to keep our job, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do on the field to maintain that in order to keep that job.

“I think he does a great job holding the players accountable and also the coaches accountable. Everybody’s on the same page. Now we’ve just got to go out on the field and get it done.

“I think us struggling falls back into us not knowing who we are yet because there’s no way a great Super Bowl team will play good one week and play bad one week. That’s not going to happen. We’ve played good and we’ve played bad multiple weeks and that just comes with us getting comfortable with each other – finding ourselves.

“We know we can do it, but we don’t do it and that comes with preparation and getting close to everybody. We need to unite and just try to bond with each other more when we’re out on the field.”


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Lions Bring in Long Snapper

Posted by Tara Altman on December 17, 2009 – 9:56 pm

With the uncertainty of LS Don Muhlbach’s status for this Sunday’s game against the Cardinals after suffering a concussion last week at Baltimore, the Lions signed LS Nathan Hodel to step in, in case Muhlback is unable to play.

Schwartz: “It’s in case (Muhlbach) isn’t able to go on Sunday. We needed to wait as long as we could to make that move and we did. It still doesn’t shut the door on (Muhlbach), there’s still a possibility that he’ll be able to go but we just wanted to make sure that if he wasn’t, we’d have somebody who had been practicing and was ready to go that we could pull the trigger on rather than bringing a guy in who never worked with the punter or the placekicker before.”

While the long snapper position often goes unnoticed, it serves a crucial role and can make or break a kick.

Schwartz: “Well, everybody always looks at the placekicker but the snapper and the holder are every bit just as important. Snap, hold, protection when you have field goals and for the punter, the location of the ball is huge and the velocity of the ball is huge. Those guys are unsung heroes. If they make good snaps nobody knows about the, but if they make bad snaps, it’s painfully obvious. It’s a very, very important part of the team.”


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Smith, FitzSimmons Placed on I/R

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 16, 2009 – 12:03 pm

The Detroit Lions have announced that they have placed RB Kevin Smith and TE Casey FitzSimmons on the Injured/Reserve list.

Smith suffered a knee injury in the second half of last Sunday’s loss at Baltimore. In his Monday afternoon press conference, Head Coach Jim Schwartz confirmed that it was a serious injury that would need season-ending surgery, but didn’t touch on specifics.

Schwartz: “It (is) a season ending injury for him and then where it goes from there will depend on what happens when the doctors get in there and really see what’s at stake and all.”

FitzSimmons has been placed on I/R due to a concussion, which he suffered during Detroit’s Week 13 match-up at Cincinnati.

The Lions have signed TE Michael Matthews and RB Cedric Peerman from the practice squad to the active roster.


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