Stafford, Levy to Start Against Redskins

Posted by Tara Altman on October 31, 2010 – 11:41 am

QB Matthew Stafford will get back into the starting lineup today against the Redskins at Ford Field after missing the last five games with a right shoulder injury suffered in the season opener at Chicago.

Said Head Coach Jim Schwartz on Friday in regards to how long it will take Stafford to get back into the “swing of things”, “Pregame warm-ups. They’re going to count the first play of the game so we need to be ready then. It’s not his first time playing. Again, one of the reasons we did so much last week was that we can try to put him in those situations.

“It’s a lot different when you’re competing against your own defense rather than doing cards and scout teams stuff because he had to adjust on the move and he had to move around a little bit. The biggest change here for him is not going to be the speed of the game, it’s just going to be the fact that he doesn’t have a red shirt on.”

LB DeAndre Levy also re-enters the starting line-up today after missing playing time due to a groin injury suffered in the preseason.

Inactives for today’s game include:

  • WR Derrick Williams (3rd QB)
  • QB Shaun Hill
  • RB Aaron Brown
  • CB Brandon McDonald
  • T Jason Fox
  • C Cody Wallace
  • DE Willie Young
  • DE Lawrence Jackson

See full starting line-ups from both teams


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Johnson: “It definitely helps to take a break”

Posted by Tara Altman on October 27, 2010 – 3:06 pm

“The bye week was great. I got to see the family and it’s always good, and important, to get some time away from work to clear your mind. Now is a well-timed break because usually our bye week comes early in the season, so it was kind of cool to have it during Week 7. Overall it was good.

“It definitely helps to take a break. The only way you’re going to get healthy, especially in this sport, is by taking time off. You can’t really keep practicing and expect to get yourself healthy or back to as close to 100-percent as you can, which you’re not going to get there during the season, but you always need time off in order to get your body back to where it needs to be to play.

“It’s nice to have Matt (Stafford) back on the field. Last week at practice we got him back in stride, so we didn’t miss a beat this week. He knows as the starting quarterback of the team that you’re just automatically dumped into the role of being a leader, and whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to step up and be accountable and hold that role down. He’s done a good job of that.

“There hasn’t been any drop-off in the mood of the team. Guys are still flying around and we know we’re a good team, we just have to cut down on the mistakes and I think everybody is aware of that and one thing that we’re really focusing on this week is cutting back on the mental mistakes.

“We have six of the last 10 games at home, so that’s a big advantage for us. One of the biggest things that we have to do is take care of our home field and if we can do that, we can get ourselves right back into the NFC North.

“Looking towards Washington, they have a lot of talented guys in their secondary. They have nothing but first-rounders back there, or just about, I think. I’ve played these guys every year since I’ve been in the league, so we have a little familiarity with them. Obviously they have some with us too, but I think that, I don’t want to say there’s any comfort zone, but we know who we’re going against. We feel that if we can just execute and cut down on the penalties, the metal mistakes and move the ball up and down the field, the defense will do their job and we’ll be alright.

“I’ve always liked (Donovan) McNabb, even when he was with the Eagles. He seems like he brings a lot of energy to the huddle and to his teammates. I like those kinds of guys. He’s always been a leader, that’s just him. Obviously they’re not where they want to be on offense right now, but they definitely have the potential to be a good offense. At the same time, I hope they stay where they’re at this week.”


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Levy Gets in Practice Following the Bye

Posted by Tara Altman on October 26, 2010 – 4:43 pm

Second-year linebacker DeAndre Levy hasn’t stepped onto the field since Week 3 at Minnesota (9/26), watching from the sidelines with a groin injury.

Today, with a bonus practice following Detroit’s Bye Week, Levy got the opportunity to get back on the practice field.

Levy: “It’s refreshing. You just keep waiting and waiting, and it tests your patience a lot; getting out there you don’t want to lose a step, but I don’t think I lost too much as far as mentally and everything else, but I mean it feels good to be out there and just be doing something football related on the field.”

While the process has been frustrating for the middle linebacker, the experience of getting a “coaches view” of the defense has given him a different aspect of the game.

Levy: “It’s definitely a different perspective you have when you’re not on the field. You’re able to see the breakdowns and you see the things that we need to do as players to correct them. When you’re in the midst of it, sometimes you get lost in it, trying to focus on your job, but sitting back and seeing everything as a whole, you see what went wrong and why it went wrong.”

Another thing that Levy has had to watch while sidelined is the rotation at the middle linebacker spot.

The middle linebacker serves as the “quarterback of the defense” and not having that consistency at the position has been difficult, but also has had it’s advantages from a player standpoint.

Levy: “It has been (difficult). We haven’t had a consistent group, or a consistent guy in one position for an extended period of time. On the flip side of that, it gives guys the opportunity to learn different positions and understand the defense better as a whole, which I think coming in everybody didn’t do that. It was kind of like, ‘This is my job, so I know what to do,’ but now, being thrown into that position, you need to learn the ins and outs of each spot that you’re in.”

With three days left to practice leading up to the Washington game at home, Levy is looking forward to continuing his progression and getting back onto the field.

Levy: “I just get back into the vibe with everybody else on the defense, being in the huddle and what not. That will come along with more reps and the longer that I’m out there. Hopefully I can just keep progressing and finish out the season strong. It’s been incredibly frustrating, but when you get out there, you just forget about all that. You just want to get out there and have fun and enjoy your job.”


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Lions Get a Week 7 Bye

Posted by Tara Altman on October 22, 2010 – 11:17 am

The Detroit Lions will not play this Sunday as they enjoy a Week 7 Bye.

It’s the hope that this weekend will allow players who have been battling injuries to get healthy while giving their bodies a break and focusing on what they need to do to come back and play against the Washington Redskins at home.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz: “It’s a long road in the NFL from the time training camp begins; it’s a long offseason, there’s not a whole lot of time. There’s something to that of breaking things up for players and trying to get a fresh start. The bye-week is always a good opportunity to do that. We need to get some things worked on, which we’ve done.

“We practiced a lot. Matthew Stafford’s got some really good work out here as a result of that. We’ve also had a chance to have a week without playing so hopefully we get some players back from injuries, but then the last component to that is we need to be fresh mentally when we come back and be able to roll for ten games, and I think it will help to get guys away. That’s the same thing that occurs right before training camp and the same thing occurs after the season is over before the offseason program. There’s definitely a benefit in that.”

Several players who can afford to take a break from the practice field were held out of practice this week to get the rest they need after the first six games. But many of the players who didn’t practice need more than rest.

Schwartz: “We’ve had I don’t know how many guys held out today. I think we held 16, 17 or 18 – I don’t know. A lot of those players would still not be practicing if we were playing on Sunday. That’s where we are injury-wise. It’s not, ‘Hey it’s the bye-week and a dozen of your guys don’t practice.’ There’s a significant portion of (them) that wouldn’t have practiced today even if we were playing on Sunday.

“It’s been something that we’ve had to work around this year. It would be nice to get those guys back. I think as much as our injuries have been an obstacle early in the season, there’s also a silver lining into that: that we’re getting those players back now. Whereas other teams that were healthy in the beginning of the year, now their facing not having their guys for four to six weeks or even an IR situation and losing them for the rest of the time. So there is a bright light at the end of that tunnel, the fact that these guys are going to be back. Hopefully they’ll be back after this, back for Washington, but if they’re not then they’ll be back pretty soon.”


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Lions Sign LB Bobby Carpenter

Posted by Tara Altman on October 21, 2010 – 3:24 pm

The Detroit Lions signed LB Bobby Carpenter today, and it was a good time to bring in the former first-round draft pick.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz also believes that adding Carpenter is just another example of seizing opportunities to make the team better when they arise.

Schwartz: “We’ve taken a long stance of anytime a player is available and we think we can improve our team, we’re going to work very hard at it. He became available. He’s got the size and speed and the athletic ability that we’re looking for. He has experience. He’s a multidimensional player. He’s played inside, he’s played outside, he’s played in the nickel.

“I thought his best year in the NFL was last year in Dallas. We’ve had some issues at linebacker. We’ve played 5 different MIKE  linebackers this year. Our depth is down there a little bit with where Zack (Follett) is, and DeAndre Levy and things like that. So we thought it made sense to get him here and get him going.”

Joining the team during a non-game week allows for the extra time Carpenter needs to focus on learning the playbook and getting up to speed with the system.

Carpenter: “It’s a huge benefit (to come in during the Bye), believe me, because I can come in and actually learn what I’m supposed to do before game planning. Game weeks are all preparation for what they’re doing. They take for granted that players know what they should do. Coming in, I’m trying to learn what I need to do and then next week I’ll be able to focus on what the Washington Redskins are doing and I’ll focus on them. Hopefully I’ll be able to understand more of my role and what they need me to do and focus on them next week.”


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Vote for Suh for Pepsi’s NFL Rookie of the Week!

Posted by Tara Altman on October 19, 2010 – 1:16 pm

Rookie DT Ndamukong Suh is up for Pepsi’s NFL Rookie of the Week honor for the second consecutive week based on his performance at the New York Giants.

Suh posted three tackles and 1.5 sacks in the Lions’ 20-28 loss.

WR Danario Alexander of the St. Louis Rams, LB Jermaine Cunningham of the New England Patriots, S Cody Grimm of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and RB Chris Ivory of the New Orleans Saints are the other four finalists for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors for games played on October 17-18, the NFL announced today.

Fans can vote for one of these five players on NFL.com/rookies beginning Tuesday at 9 am ET and ending on Friday at noon ET.  The winner will be announced Friday evening on NFL.com/rookies.


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Johnson: “We see where we killed ourselves”

Posted by Tara Altman on October 18, 2010 – 1:59 pm

“Physically, I don’t feel any worse than I did going into the game, so I can take something positive out of that. As far as the game goes, it’s the same old story – it’s become a cliché now – but with penalties we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot. I think there were two times yesterday where we got a first down inside the red zone and then got a penalty. We have a pretty high scoring percentage when we get in the red zone, so that really hurt us, that takes points off the board. We look at these games and they’re so close, we see where we killed ourselves.

“A lot of those penalties are so unnecessary, you get a personal foul and things like that, you just can’t have those. That’s not smart football and you’re hurting your team. It takes W’s off the board, it takes points off the board and when you come in here on Monday, Monday’s are no fun when you lose.

“It’s tough in the locker room after those games, the close ones, those are the ones where you feel like you’ve invested a lot in the game and just to come up so short, guys are just really beat up. You’re down after the game, but you have to have a 24-hour mentality and try to move on to next week. We have the Bye, so we just have to focus on getting our bodies back right now.

“Personally, I want to go back this week and watch all of the film from all of our games and evaluate myself. I feel like I’m my hardest critic, so I’m going to go back and look at all of the film and see what I could have done better and at the same time, take care of my body, stay in treatment and get ready when we come back and play the Redskins.

“I hope everyone takes a look at the film, not just this game, but prior games and kind of do the same thing that I’m doing. Like I said, this is a good time for self-evaluation. I don’t want to say that we’re pressing right now, but you definitely want to get more W’s, you don’t want to be sitting at 1-5 right now.

“I think this is a good week to have the Bye. In the past we’ve had it at Week 4, and you’re not even ready for a Bye Week at Week 4 because you’re just getting into the season. Having it at Week 6 and then come back for a couple of games and get a mini-bye after Thanksgiving, that will be big for us.”


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Follett Taken to Local Hospital for Evaluation

Posted by Tara Altman on October 17, 2010 – 5:32 pm

In the Lions 28-20 loss to the Giants, Detroit lost both QB Shaun Hill and LB Zack Follett to injuries.

Follett was injured in the fourth quarter after a helmet-to-helmet collision on kickoff return coverage. He was immobilized and taken off the field to a local hospital for further evaluation.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz after the game: “Zack Follett is getting some tests right now. We don’t have the results of those tests, but he’s got feeling in his extremities and was getting some of that back before he left the field. There’s still a lot of other things that we need to test and that we need to see with him. Let’s keep him in our prayers.”

In a statement from the team regarding Follett: “Both the MRI and CT tests performed on Zack this evening at the Hackensack Medical Center were NEGATIVE. Zack is resting comfortably and has feeling and movement in all of his extremities. He will continue to be monitored throughout the evening. We expect no further updates until Monday.”

Hill fractured his non-throwing (left) forearm and was replaced by QB Drew Stanton in the second quarter.

Hill on leaving the game: “It’s part of the game, it is frustrating. We’ll keep our spirits up and this team is going to keep battling. We’re going into the bye, we’re going to get Matthew (Stafford) back, and the other guys that have been playing hurt are going to get healthy and we’re going to try to make a run at this thing.”


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Johnson to Start at New York

Posted by Tara Altman on October 17, 2010 – 11:54 am

WR Calvin Johnson was limited in practice for the entire week, but will start today against the Giants.

Said Head Coach Jim Schwartz on Friday, “He’s definitely improved every single day. Where he’ll be Sunday we really don’t know right now. But he’s improved every single day so far. He hasn’t had any setbacks.”

LB Landon Johnson is inactive for today’s game after suffering a concussion last weekend against St. Louis. Johnson had been starting in place of LB DeAndre Levy at middle linebacker. Levy will miss his third consecutive game with an ankle and groin injury.

Inactives for today’s game include:

  • QB Matthew Stafford (3rd QB)
  • RB Aaron Brown
  • CB Nathan Vasher
  • LB DeAndre Levy
  • LB Landon Johnson
  • T Jason Fox
  • DE Turk McBride
  • DE Willie Young

Starting in place of Johnson will be LB Ashlee Palmer.

See full starting line-ups from both teams


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Logan Named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week

Posted by Tara Altman on October 13, 2010 – 11:30 am

Wide receiver Stefan Logan has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his Week 5 performance against the St. Louis Rams.

Logan broke for a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the second quarter, inevitably igniting a 44-6 win.

Logan: “I appreciate every guy on the special teams group: punt return, kickoff return team, coverage units. Coach has a lot in store for us, he has a lot of things that he wants to do to get us free as far as what we’re doing for kickoff return, punt return and so I have to applaud those guys as well because with their help that’s what sprung me lose to get me that long kickoff return. I feel good as far as showing what I can do that I’m a little guy, but I’m going to go hard. I give 120 percent every time.”

He is the first Lions special teamer to be named NFC Player of the Week since kicker Jason Hanson earned the honor during Week 8 of the 2007 season.

The last Lions kick returner to get the nod was R.W. McQuarters in Week 5 of the 2005 season.

Additional notes regarding Logan’s return:

  • Logan’s 105-yard kickoff return tied for the longest kickoff return in team history. He tied CB Terry Fair who recorded a 105-yard touchdown September 28, 1998. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown since TE Casey FitzSimmons returned an onside-kick 42 yards for a score vs. Chicago October 28, 2007. The last non-onside kickoff return for a touchdown by the Lions was WR Eddie Drummond’s 92-yard kickoff return for touchdown at Minnesota November 21, 2004.
  • In League history, Logan’s 105-yarder is tied for the sixth longest kickoff return for touchdown.
  • He also recorded 2 punt returns for 24 yards, including a 17-yard return in the third quarter that set up a Lions touchdown drive that began at the St. Louis 41-yard line.
  • Logan is also a member of the team’s kickoff cover unit that allowed just an 18.3 yards per return average on 9 returns.

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