Lions try to simulate field conditions in practice Friday

Posted by ttwentyman on December 30, 2011 – 6:05 pm

Lions coach Jim Schwartz has told the media time and time again that he doesn’t believe in simulating game conditions in practice.

Schwartz doesn’t pump in sound to prepare for road games or anything like that.

After taking the team outdoors for their last practice of the week Friday before heading to Green Bay, Schwartz said afterward it had nothing to do with the weather conditions, rather the field conditions.

“You know, we saw a lot of players slipping around when Chicago played up there last week and we wanted to go out and work that kind of timing and things like that, but the temperature was really irrelevant,” he said.

We weren’t trying to simulate cold and everything else, but there is something to that timing. I think that that was probably the biggest thing. It had nothing to do with the cold.”

The forecast for Sunday in Green Bay calls for temperatures in the lower 30’s with flurries and winds at 24 miles per hour.


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Lions’ 2012 opponents nearly set

Posted by ttwentyman on December 30, 2011 – 6:02 pm

The 2012 schedule is just about set for the Lions in terms of which teams they will face.

The Lions will have home games against Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay, St. Louis, Seattle, Houston, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

They’ll go on the road to face Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Tennessee and the loser of Sunday’s New York/Dallas game.

The Lions annual Thanksgiving Day game opponent will either be Houston or Indianapolis.


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Delmas still doutful for Sunday; Johnson is probable

Posted by ttwentyman on December 30, 2011 – 5:00 pm

The cold and the rain didn’t bother safety Louis Delmas on Friday as the Lions practiced outside for the first time this week to prepare for Sunday’s game in Green Bay.

Delmas had on shorts but was protected from the elements some by a helmet.

Friday marked the first time Delmas has had a helmet on at practice in two weeks as he participated in the early portion of practice open to the media.

Delmas ran off to the side for awhile but also participated in some individual drills in a limited fashion.

He’s still listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report to play Sunday in Green Bay, but just having him back was a welcomed site for Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

“We’ve really missed him,” Cunningham said. “I think Chris Harris has done a great job … but we really need (Delmas) back.

“We can do more things when he’s with us. He’s good in man-to-man, he can cover wide receivers and he really tracks the ball.

Delmas hasn’t played since Thanksgiving when he hurt the knee in the first quarter and had arthroscopic surgery Dec. 17.

Corner Aaron Berry, who’s been limited in practice for two weeks due to a separated right shoulder, is also doubtful.

Receiver Calvin Johnson returned to practice for the first time this week Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday with a sore Achilles. He’s listed as probable for Sunday.

Listed as probable along with Johnson for Sunday are: defensive end Cliff Avril (back), running back Kevin Smith (ankle) and safety John Wendling (illness).

Wendling did not practice Friday because of an undisclosed illness.

Falling under the category of questionable are: defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot), corner Chris Houston (hand, knee), safety Amari Spievey (knee), defensive tackle Corey Williams (hip) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle).

Of those, Williams was the only one who didn’t participate in practice Friday. However, Williams has been dealing with a hip injury for weeks now and it hasn’t kept him out of any games.

For the Packers…

Out: receiver Greg Jennings (knee), receiver Randall Cobb (groin) and running back James Starks (knee/ankle)

Doubtful: tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee)

Questionable: linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle)

Probable: tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring/back), tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) and defensive end Ryan Pickett (concussion)


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Lions would like to put an end to one more nasty losing streak at Lambeau Field

Posted by ttwentyman on December 29, 2011 – 8:10 pm

Coach Jim Schwartz and the Lions can be proud of the fact that they’ve ended some rather nasty losing streaks over the last couple years.

There was the 19-game consecutive losing streak they ended in 2009.

There was the 26-game consecutive road losing streak they snapped in 2010.

Then there was the 19-game losing streak to division opponents that fell by the wayside last season.

But there’s still one streak that looms large over the franchise.

The Lions haven’t won in the state of Wisconsin since a 21-17 victory over the Packers in 1991.

“We’ve ended a lot of losing streaks and I think it’s important to us to knock this one out,” said Lions center Dominic Raiola.

The Lions have a chance to “knock it out” on Sunday when they close the regular season at Lambeau Field, needing a victory to secure the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs.

“Yeah we’ve snapped a lot of streaks over the last couple years and it will be a nice one to get off our resume, but you know, whether it’s the Green Bay Packers or whoever — it’s the next game on our schedule and that’s the most important thing,” coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday.

“It’s hard to hold Matt Stafford accountable for something that happened in 1992, 93, 94, 95, and so on. That doesn’t mean a whole lot, it’s more important what we’re doing this week, what we do in practice yesterday, today, tomorrow, and how we play on Sunday — not what happened 20 years ago. But it would be nice to get it off our resume so to speak.”


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CB Chris Houston back at practice; Calvin Johnson sits again

Posted by ttwentyman on December 29, 2011 – 1:28 pm

Lions corner Chris Houston made a late appearance to the practice field Wednesday without a helmet and sporting a cast on his left hand. He did not practice.

On Thursday, Houston made another late appearance to practice, but this time, he was wearing a helmet and was ready to participate.

Houston appeared to have a softer cast on the left hand and took part in individual drills in the portion of practice open to the media.

Receiver Calvin Johnson did not practice for a second straight day with that Achilles injury.

Also not practicing were: defensive tackle Corey Williams, defensive tackle Nick Fairley and safety Louis Delmas.

Defensive end Willie Young (ankle) was back at practice after not participating on Wednesday.


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Packers say they still have something to play for

Posted by ttwentyman on December 28, 2011 – 6:18 pm

There’s plenty of debate to whether Packers coach Mike McCarthy should play starters like quarterback Aaron Rodgers against the Lions Sunday with nothing to gain in playoff position and risk a devastating injury heading into the playoffs.

The Packers might not be playing for anything in regards to the playoffs, having secured home-field advantage, but according to McCarthy, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things to play for.

“We are preparing everybody to play,” he said in a conference call Wednesday. “That was the message in the team meeting today and the second message is this is the first opportunity in the history of the Green Bay Packers to sweep the division.

“We have an excellent opponent in the Detroit Lions coming here to Lambeau and we are going to do everything we can to win the game.”

That sounds a lot like coach-speak to me, especially after reading the Packers injury report on Wednesday.

The team has already listed receiver Greg Jennings as out for the game and tackle Bryan Buluga (knee), receiver Randall Cobb (groin), tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) and running back James Starks (knee/ankle) did not practice.

Tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring), linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle), defensive end Ryan Pickett (concussion) and corner Charles Woodson (knee) were all limited.

McCarthy really plans on playing injured players so they can brag about sweeping the division? Do they give trophies for that?

“We’re preparing for this game as if it were any other game,” Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said in a conference call.

“Obviously with the home field advantage wrapped up, there’s a lot of speculation over if we’re going to sit players, but I can assure you this team is very competitive. As with any other team, we enjoy winning and want to put on a good show, so we’ll all be ready and we’re going about business as usual.”

For his part, Lions coach Jim Schwartz isn’t too concerned about who is or isn’t playing for the Packers.

“I mean, it really doesn’t matter to us,” Schwartz said. “We have stuff that we have to accomplish and we’re going to do our very best to get it done on Sunday. What anybody else does, anybody (else’s) objectives, and you know, anything else – what somebody’s eating for their tailgate lunch or anything else – none of that stuff matters. We’re going to go do our best to prepare and do our best to play.”


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Houston not worried about cast; Johnson sits with Achilles injury

Posted by ttwentyman on December 28, 2011 – 5:03 pm

Right at the end of the portion of Lions practice open the media, corner Chris Houston walked onto the practice field in shorts and his No. 23 jersey sporting a hard cast on his left hand to protect an injured pinkie finger.

But there’s no need to worry, according to Houston. He says he’s fine.

“They’ll probably take this off (soon),” he said as he lifted it up and wiggled his fingers. “I’m able to move it.”

Houston said he hurt the pinkie when he fell on it wrong after returning an interception 43-yards in the fourth quarter against the Chargers on Saturday.

Houston even had a good laugh about it when a media member told him he must not have many friends because he had no signatures on his cast.

“I just got it this morning,” he laughed. “I’m sure it’ll be signed in a minute.”

Houston is still trying to move on from a sprained knee he suffered against the Packers on Thanksgiving that forced him to miss two games and remove himself from another.

“It wasn’t all the way back and it still isn’t 100 percent yet, but it will be,” Houston said Wednesday of the knee.

Houston did not practice Wednesday.

Neither did safety Louis Delmas, who’s been dealing with a sprained right knee for more than a month now. Delmas hasn’t played since hurting the knee against the Packers on Thanksgiving and likely won’t play against the Packers on Sunday.

Delmas had arthroscopic surgery on the knee Dec. 17.

Also missing practice was receiver Calvin Johnson, who was listed on the injury report with an Achilles injury.

“I had some things bothering me at the end of the game there, but like I said I’m just trying to be a fresh as possible going into the game,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I don’t feel too bad. I can’t complain too much.”

Defensive tackle Corey Williams (hip) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle) also missed practice.

Corner Aaron Berry, who’s recovering from a separated right shoulder suffered against the Vikings Dec. 11, looked much better in the early portion of practice than he did last week but is still listed as limited on the injury report.

Defensive end Cliff Avril (back) and defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot) were also listed as limited.

New running back Joique Bell (No. 35) participated in practice.


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Suh: “It’s definitely exciting to be heading into this last game knowing we’re in the playoffs.”

Posted by Tara Altman on December 28, 2011 – 4:16 pm

“It was definitely a great team that we beat. There’s a lot of Pro Bowlers on that team. Obviously a Pro Bowl quarterback in Philip Rivers, as you saw with the rosters coming out last night. Being able to limit him to things that he didn’t want to do, and limiting them to a pretty small amount of yards as a total offense was good.

“Obviously our offense did a tremendous job of helping us on the defensive side. We were hardly on the field in the first half and the same thing in the second half. As a defensive player that’s good, but you do get a little bored.

“It’s always a big thing for us to want to stop the run. The Chargers weren’t a big, big running team, although they had a lot of good running backs back there, and a good friend in Ryan Matthews – stopping him is always exciting, and getting the trash talking rights. It’s always good to be able to have a good run defense against a good team like that.

“I think Green Bay has been pretty consistent with staying with their game plan and keeping their quarterback the same way, running the offense in the same exact way. Obviously you can see that (Aaron) Rodgers is aware of some weak links, or not necessarily weak links, but mismatches where he might need to move his feet a little bit more. I remember watching the game against Chicago, he moved his feet quite a bit in comparison to the beginning of the year where he wasn’t. You notice things of that sort.

“They moved the ball pretty well against us last game, but the one thing that we did was hold them to a pretty good third down percentage. Basically we have to beat them and slow them down on first and second down and then third down we know we always take care of business, we’ve been known for that. But its’ a matter of getting to that third down position. First and second down is very important to us and that’s something that we definitely need to work on and is something that we’ve been working on all season.

“For me, it’s definitely exciting to be heading into this last game knowing we’re in the playoffs. It’s always exciting being in the playoffs in the pros and I don’t expect this to be the last time that we do this. It’s a great way to start my sophomore year in the NFL and it’s a good way to really ‘start’ the end of the season.

“I’ve played in rain, I’ve played in snow, I’ve played in the bitter cold, I went to Nebraska with an outdoor field. The weather in Green Bay is definitely not an issue to me. I saw that it was 20 degrees when Chicago was playing them. I look forward to it, still being in no sleeves.”


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Johnson: “It’s cool to make the Pro Bowl. I’m looking forward to going back … unless we’re playing.”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 28, 2011 – 4:12 pm

“It’s cool to make the Pro Bowl. It’s definitely an honor to be elected by your peers for the second time in a row. I had a good time last year and I’m looking forward to going back … unless we’re playing. Hopefully that’s what’s going on.

“This past weekend was very relaxing. We had a couple days off trying to heal up and get fresh. That’s the biggest thing, I feel, at this time in the season. It’s not just me that thinks that, but guys that have been to the playoffs. We are just trying to be as fresh as possible going into these games.

“Players had different reactions to the win over San Diego. Some players wanted to be low-key. It’s big to some guys, it wasn’t to others. Some guys have been in Detroit for awhile, so they understand how significant it was for the city, for this organization. But there’s guys that have been on playoff teams, just as recent as last year. It might not be as big a thing to them as it is to the rest.

“I always look forward to going to Lambeau just because of the history that’s there. We’d prefer to play there earlier in the year when it isn’t zero degrees, but hopefully we’ll get some good weather on Sunday.

“It’s a big game because it’s the Packers. We haven’t won there in awhile but, at the same time, you never know what they’re going to do as far as how they’re going to play their guys because they have a first-round bye, so they may view it as, ‘I don’t want to get my guys hurt,’ and trying to keep their guys as fresh as they can. You never know.”


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The NFC and AFC Pro Bowl rosters

Posted by ttwentyman on December 27, 2011 – 10:44 pm

NFC Pro Bowl roster
OFFENSE
Quarterback
*Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay
Drew Brees, New Orleans
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants
Running back
*LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
Matt Forte, Chicago
Frank Gore, San Francisco
Fullback
*John Kuhn, Green Bay
Wide receiver
*Calvin Johnson, Detroit
*Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona
Steve Smith, Carolina
Greg Jennings, Green Bay
Tight end
*Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta
Tackle
*Jason Peters, Philadelphia
*Joe Staley, San Francisco
Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans
Guard
*Jahri Evans, New Orleans
*Carl Nicks, New Orleans
Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay
Center
*Ryan Kalil, Carolina
Scott Wells, Green Bay

DEFENSE
Defensive end
*Jared Allen, Minnesota
*Jason Babin, Philadelphia
Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants
Interior linemen
*Justin Smith, San Francisco
*Jay Ratliff, Dallas
B.J. Raji, Green Bay
Outside linebacker
*DeMarcus Ware, Dallas
*Clay Matthews, Green Bay
Lance Briggs, Chicago
Inside/middle linebacker
*Patrick Willis, San Francisco
Brian Urlacher, Chicago
Cornerback
*Charles Woodson, Green Bay
*Carlos Rogers, San Francisco
Charles Tillman, Chicago
Free safety
*Earl Thomas, Seattle
Dashon Goldson, San Francisco
Strong safety
*Adrian Wilson, Arizona

SPECIAL TEAMS
Punter
Andy Lee, San Francisco
Placekicker
David Akers, San Francisco
Kick returner
Patrick Peterson, Arizona
Special teamer
Corey Graham, Chicago

AFC Pro Bowl roster
OFFENSE
Quarterback
*Tom Brady, New England
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Philip Rivers, San Diego
Running back
*Ray Rice, Baltimore
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville
Arian Foster, Houston
Fullback
*Vonta Leach, Baltimore
Wide receiver
*Wes Welker, New England
*Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh
A.J. Green, Cincinnati
Brandon Marshall, Miami
Tight end
*Rob Gronkowski, New England
Antonio Gates, San Diego
Tackle
*Joe Thomas, Cleveland
*Jake Long, Miami
D’Brickashaw Ferguson, N.Y. Jets
Guard
*Logan Mankins, New England
*Brian Waters, New England
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore
Center
*Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh
Nick Mangold, N.Y. Jets

DEFENSE
Defensive end
*Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
*Andre Carter, New England
Elvis Dumervil, Denver
Interior linemen
*Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
*Vince Wilfork, New England
Richard Seymour, Oakland
Outside linebacker
*Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
*Von Miller, Denver
Tamba Hali, Kansas City
Inside/middle linebacker
*Ray Lewis, Baltimore
Derrick Johnson, Kansas City
Cornerback
*Darrelle Revis, N.Y. Jets
*Champ Bailey, Denver
Johnathan Joseph, Houston
Free safety
*Ed Reed, Baltimore
Eric Weddle, San Diego
Strong safety
*Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh

SPECIAL TEAMS
Punter
Shane Lechler, Oakland
Placekicker
Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
Kick returner
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
Special teamer
Matthew Slater, New England

*Denotes starter


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