Source: Lions won’t retain WR coach Shawn Jefferson or RB coach Sam Gash

Posted by ttwentyman on December 31, 2012 – 6:43 pm

Black Monday has crept it’s way into Allen Park.

Following a 4-12 season, the Lions will not retain wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson or running backs coach Sam Gash, according to a league source.

The team will also part ways with offensive line coach George Yarno, according to reports.

The team has made no official comment.

Jefferson was named the team’s wide receivers coach prior to the 2008 season after working with the team’s receivers the previous three seasons as an intern.

He played 13 seasons in the NFL and in two Super Bowls. He finished his playing career with 470 receptions for 7,023 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson talks often of how Jefferson has helped his development into becoming one of the best receivers in the game.

Gash joined the Lions as a special assistant in 2007 and was promoted to running backs coach in 2008, a role he’s served the last five seasons.

Gash was a two-time Pro Bowler as a full back and won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2000.

Yarno joined the Lions coaching staff in 2009.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said during his Monday end-of-the-season press conference that it would be hard to retain all of his assistant coaches.

“We have some coaches that are under contract, other guys whose contracts are up,” he said.

“There are opportunities for coaches, there’s opportunities for advancement. Again, we worked very hard to be able to keep our staff together last year, I don’t know if we’ll be able to do the same thing. We’ll just have to wait, but that will still be a part of the same process.

“We’ll evaluate the same things we always do and we’ll go from there.”


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Lions not taking care of the football again vs. Bears

Posted by ttwentyman on December 30, 2012 – 3:46 pm

There were five keys I pointed out before the game as vital for the Lions to play the role of spoiler today vs. Chicago.

Unfortunately, they aren’t doing a good job with any of them and trail 20-10 at the half.

TURNOVERS

The number that made the biggest difference in the Lions’ 13-7 loss to the Bears back in October was four Detroit Lions’ turnovers. The Lions lost the turnover differential 4-0, with two of them coming in the Bears’ red zone.

It’s more of the same today as the Bears have turned three Lions’ turnovers into 13 points.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been responsible for two of them with a fumble and a badly overthrown interception.

Joique Bell had the other with a fumble on a kickoff return.

The Lions aren’t good enough on offense right now to overcome turnovers.

GET TO CUTLER

The Lions have done a pretty good job pressuring Bears quarterback Jay Cutler but haven’t been able to finish the job. Cutler’s been on the run for most of the first half and fumbled because of pressure in the first quarter.

The Lions have failed to record a single sack, though.

Cutler is 8-of-15 passing for 155 yards with a touchdown pass in the first half.

NO FREEBIES

The Bears scored five defensive touchdowns during their 7-1 start. But they’ve scored just twice since, both coming last week in a 28-18 win over Arizona.

They haven’t scored on defense so far in this one, but they’ve set their offense up at the Lions 24-, 23- and 10-yard lines after three Lions turnovers.

That’s almost as good as a score.

FLIP THE SCRIPT

The Lions haven’t scored once on defense this season. When they won 10 games last season, the defense scored five times.

They were given a prime opportunity to make a big play and possibly score early in the first quarter on a Jay Cutler fumble, but defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch couldn’t pick up the football. Instead, it was recovered by Bears running back Matt Forte at midfield.

At the very least if Vanden Bosch falls on the ball the Lions are looking at great field position. The Bears punted after the fumble and the Lions took over at their own 9-yard line.

The ball hasn’t bounced the Lions way very much this season. They’ll need it to bounce their way over the next 30 minutes to snap their seven-game skid.

FEED THE BEAST

Calvin Johnson already broke the single-season receiving record and has 1,915 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season. His pursuit of 2,000 yards is off to a slow start with two catches for 23 yards in the first 30 minutes.

Johnson is currently 85 yards short of 2,000.

Kris Durham caught his first NFL touchdown pass right before the end of the half on a 25-yard connection from Stafford.


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Brandon Pettigrew’s ankle won’t keep him from playing in season finale

Posted by ttwentyman on December 30, 2012 – 12:31 pm

Brandon Pettigrew’s sore ankle will not keep him out of the Lions’ season finale vs. Chicago today.

The fourth-year tight end practiced for the first time in two weeks on Friday since sustaining the injury in the first quarter at Green Bay Dec. 9. He was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report, but the ankle has responded well to treatment and he’ll try to give it a go. He’s missed the team’s previous two games.

Safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Chris Houston, who were both listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, are active and will start.

Cornerback Ron Bartell, who the Lions signed just two weeks ago, will start at right cornerback opposite Houston. The Lions like Bartell’s size (6-1, 210) and want to see him in action before the offseason.

Rookie cornerback Jonte Green will likely play the nickel cornerback role. Green had been starting the last couple weeks at right cornerback.

Cornerback Drayton Florence is inactive. He was not listed on the injury report this week and is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Joining Florence on the inactive list for the Lions are: running back Kevin Smith, safety Ricardo Silva, offensive tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, quarterback Kellen Moore and defensive end Ronnell Lewis.

Andre Fluellen will get the start next to Ndamukong Suh at defensive tackle.


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Sammie Hill ruled out for Sunday; Brandon Pettigrew doubtful

Posted by ttwentyman on December 28, 2012 – 5:00 pm

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew returned to the practice field in a limited capacity Friday, but is listed as doubtful to play Sunday on the team’s Friday injury report.

Pettigrew hasn’t played since Dec. 9 when he injured an ankle in the first quarter at Green Bay.

If Pettigrew doesn’t play Sunday vs. Chicago, he’ll finish the season with 57 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. Those are the lowest totals in each category since his rookie season when he played only 11 games because of a torn ACL.

Tight ends Tony Scheffler, Will Heller and Shaun Chapas will continue to fill in for Pettigrew if he can’t go.

The team has already ruled out defensive tackle Sammie Hill for Sunday because of an injured toe. Hill hasn’t practiced all week because of the injury. With Hill out, the Lions will play only one (Ndamukong Suh) of their original four defensive tackles they began the season with. Corey Williams and Nick Fairley are on injured reserve and Hill’s season is now over, too.

Andre Fluellen and Ogemdi Nwagbuo will join Suh in the defensive tackle rotation.

Safety Louis Delmas (knee) and cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring/hip) are listed as questionable. Houston was listed with a hamstring injury on Thursday’s report; the hip is a new development.

Safety Don Carey (knee), receiver Calvin Johnson (knee/ankle) and running back Kevin Smith (thumb) are all listed as probable.


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Calvin Johnson’s record-setting performance voted Week 16 GMC Moment of the Week

Posted by ttwentyman on December 28, 2012 – 4:38 pm

johnson-body-122212Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson has been voted the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week for his Week 16 record-setting performance against the Atlanta Falcons.

Needing 182 yards to surpass the all-time single-season leader Jerry Rice, Johnson finished the game with 11 catches for 225 yards.

Said NFL.com, “Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice set a number of records many figured would never be broken. However, with a game to spare, Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson managed to surpass one of Rice’s most amazing records.

“With 225 yards receiving against the Atlanta Falcons, Johnson set a new single-season receiving yardage record of 1,892 yards, topping Rice’s mark of 1,848 yards set in 1995.”

With one game remaining, Johnson is now shooting to become the first player to record 2,000 receiving yards in a season.


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Brandon Pettigrew returns to practice

Posted by ttwentyman on December 28, 2012 – 1:05 pm

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew decided the last full practice of the year was as good a time as any to return to the field.

Pettigrew participated in the portion of practice open to the media Friday for the first time since injuring an ankle in the first quarter at Green Bay Dec. 9.

The Lions have missed their second-leading receiver over the past two games he’s missed.

“Anytime you have a tight end that’s a mismatch for other teams it’s a bonus,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said this week. “On third down that’s a short throw to have to make. Most of the time he’s somewhere in front of you and with his body size and hands he creates tough matchups on third down in the red zone.”

Pettigrew is second on the team with 57 catches and 556 yards.

Also returning to the practice field Friday was safety Louis Delmas, who sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday to rest his sore left knee. Delmas has played in each of the team’s last two games.

Receiver Calvin Johnson (knee, ankle) did not practice. He was a limited participant on Thursday, but is expected to play on Sunday.

The Lions will release game designations for Sunday’s matchup with Chicago at 4 p.m. on Detroitlions.com.

Defensive tackle Sammie Hill (toe) missed his third practice this week, putting his status for Sunday in question.

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch did not practice but that was likely due to rest since he’s not been on the injury report all week.


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Calvin Johnson returns to practice; three starters still missing

Posted by ttwentyman on December 27, 2012 – 1:00 pm

Fresh off last night’s announcement that he has received his third-career Pro Bowl nod, receiver Calvin Johnson returned to Detroit Lions practice Thursday after missing Wednesday with a sore knee and ankle.

Johnson was voted a starting NFC receiver in the Pro Bowl by the fans, players and coaches Wednesday night. It’s his third-straight Pro-Bowl selection.

Johnson needs 108 yards Sunday vs. Chicago to become the first receiver in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards in a season. He already owns the single-season record with 1,892 yards.

He’ll have to get around Pro Bowl cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings to get the record, though. The Bears held Johnson to his lowest output of the season (three catches for 34 yards) in their first matchup back in October.

The Lions were still without tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle), safety Louis Delmas (knee) and defensive tackle Sammie Hill (toe) for the portion of practice open to the media. All three players missed practice Wednesday, too.


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Calvin Johnson’s first thoughts regarding Saturday’s game was that he could have been better

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 27, 2012 – 12:20 pm

Calvin Johnson may be the NFL’s all-time single-season record holder, but that doesn’t mean he’s above self-critique.

When discussing the most memorable elements of Saturday’s record-breaking game in his Detroitlions.com blog, Johnson said, “Looking back on the game – my first thoughts are the ones I could have had and the fumble.”

When it comes to Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears – a game in which Johnson could be the first-ever receiver to get to 2,000 yards – Johnson’s sentiment was much the same.

“Focus for the game this week is just be 100-percent on assignments,” he said. “There might have been two or three things that happened last game where I wasn’t really where I should have been or had a mental lapse or something like that.

“Just trying to be 100-percent. If I do that, I’ll make my plays and hopefully get to that 2,000.”

Another motivation for the Pro Bowl wide receiver is getting the win against the division-rival Chicago Bears to ruin their playoff hopes.

“That’s a little extra added motivation to knock the Bears out of the playoffs,” said Johnson. “They knocked us off on Monday night, so it’d be definitely satisfying to go and eliminate those guys from the playoffs.”


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Calvin Johnson: “Experiencing all of that with my dad was real cool – maybe surreal for my dad”

Posted by Chrissie Wywrot on December 26, 2012 – 4:37 pm

“Getting this record hasn’t really sunk in yet, but at some point it will. People talk about it all the time, but we’re still in the season so the focus is on the next game. But after the season when everything calms down and I’m just chillin’ or layin’ back I’ll reflect on the season then and I’ll be like, ‘I put in a lot of work to get it.’

“Looking back on the game – my first thoughts are the ones I could have had and the fumble.

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“As far as touching moments – that picture of my dad when I was at the press conference meant a lot. That was big, that was sweet. I don’t even think he’s seen it yet because I left it in my car when he was at the house – I didn’t think to get it out.

“Experiencing all of that with my dad was real cool – maybe surreal for my dad more so. He was down there on the sideline for probably like two or three series before it happened and he was out there like a little kid with just a smile on his face as it was leading up to the moment. Just being able to watch him be so happy – that meant a lot to me.

“In the stadium I know they showed those messages from Jerry and Herm. I didn’t get to see Jerry’s – I think it was going on while we were maybe in the huddle or something – maybe during the timeout – I just wasn’t really paying attention to it. But I saw it later. That meant a lot. That was cool to have Jerry send that out to me.

Then from Herm – I talked to Herm earlier that week, so he was egging me on to go ahead and knock this thing out. I appreciate the support from both of them.

“I think getting to 2,000 would kind of put that record away for awhile. You never know what’s going to happen, but that’s real tough to reach. To get this far and make it to where we are right now, it’s crazy. I couldn’t imagine doing it again soon.”


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Brandon Pettigrew, three other starters sit out of practice Wednesday

Posted by ttwentyman on December 26, 2012 – 1:08 pm

The Lions were without four starters today as they began on-the-field preparations for the team’s final game of the season Sunday vs. Chicago.

Receiver Calvin Johnson, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Sammie Hill were all absent from the portion of practice open to the media.

Pettigrew has missed the Lions’ last two games and hasn’t practiced since injuring an ankle Dec. 9 at Green Bay.

“Pettigrew wasn’t able to play again but again (last week vs. Atlanta), as long as he’s not on IR we’re still hopeful that we can get him out,” head coach Jim Schwartz said Sunday. “Brandon’s a really prideful guy and doesn’t want to be out of the game. He wants to be out there but we’ll just have to see how he progresses.”

Hill injured a foot last week vs. Atlanta and Schwartz said he was being evaluated this week.

Both Johnson and Delmas played vs. Atlanta and it’s been common practice throughout the season to give both players rest during the week.

“(Delmas) seems to be on the upswing there as far as being able to bounce back and do some of the things that he wasn’t able to early in the year,” Schwartz said. “You see some of the plays he makes on the field; he’s a difference maker. Made some big tackles. (Falcons’ TE) Tony Gonzalez had one catch for nine yards and that was on one of our linebackers, so both (S) Don Carey and Lou Delmas did a good job of getting him covered.”

Johnson, who already owns the single-season receiving yards record with 1,892, needs 108 yards Sunday vs. Chicago to become the first receiver in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards in a season.


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