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Backus’ regular season streak ends; Delmas to start

Posted by ttwentyman on November 22, 2012 – 12:05 pm

Jeff Backus’ iron-man streak of 186 consecutive regular season starts is over.

The 12-year veteran is inactive today due to an injured hamstring suffered Sunday in a loss to the Packers. Rookie Riley Reiff will start at left tackle.

Backus’ inactive status ends one of the most impressive streaks in NFL history.

Consider this, Backus has started every game at left tackle since the Lions drafted him in 2001. His 186 starts is a franchise record and the third-longest active streak in the NFL.

Backus started 49 consecutive games at Michigan beginning his redshirt freshman season in 1997, which means today is the first time Backus hasn’t started a game his team has played dating back 236 games.

Third-year player Jason Fox is active for the first time this season as a backup tackle. Fox hasn’t played in a game since his rookie season in 2010.

The Lions did get some good news with safety Louis Delmas, though. Delmas will play for the first time since injuring his left knee in a win over Seattle nearly a month ago. The Lions are 2-1 in games Delmas has started this season.

They’ll also have the services of cornerback Drayton Florence, who’s been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion in the Packers game. Florence participated in Wednesday’s walkthrough and will start at right cornerback for the injured Jacob Lacey (foot), who will not play today.

With receiver Titus Young inactive because of disciplinary reasons, rookie Ryan Broyles will get his first career start.

Receiver Brian Robiskie will be active for the first time since the Seattle game to add depth to the receiving corps.

Second-year defensive tackle Nick Fairley is active and will play today. Fairley showed up on Wednesday’s injury report with an illness. He’ll start his third straight game for the injured Corey Williams, who will miss his third consecutive contest.

Joining Backus, Young, Lacey and Williams on the inactive list are: offensive tackle Corey Hilliard, quarterback Kellen Moore and  defensive end Ronnell Lewis.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

S Louis Delmas back at Lions practice, as is DT Corey Williams

Posted by ttwentyman on November 20, 2012 – 1:05 pm

Safety Louis Delmas was back at Lions practice today for the first time since injuring his left knee in the third quarter against Seattle Oct. 28.

Delmas has missed six games this year with left knee troubles, but appears to be ready to make his return on Thanksgiving when the Lions host the Texans (9-1).

The Lions had two of their better defensive performances this season when Delmas was on the field at Philadelphia and at Chicago. He’s the team’s best safety and is the heart and soul of that defense.

After missing the first four games of the season due to rehab from the surgery he underwent Aug. 7, Delmas made his 2012 debut in Philadelphia and had seven tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception in the Lions win.

The Texans come to town with the league’s third-ranked scoring offense.

The Lions also welcomed defensive tackle Corey Williams back to the portion of practice open to the media. Williams has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

Second-year defensive tackle Nick Fairley has been playing well in Williams’ place, but the Lions could certainly use their full arsenal up front vs. a very good Texans offensive line.

The Lions were without tackle Jeff Backus (hamstring), cornerback Drayton Florence (concussion) and receiver Titus Young, who’s been ruled out for disciplinary reasons.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Lions place S Amari Spievey on IR; activate CB Drayton Florence

Posted by ttwentyman on November 17, 2012 – 6:28 pm

The Lions placed safety Amari Spievey on injured reserve today, ending his 2012 season.

Spievey has still been feeling the lingering effects from a concussion suffered in late October at Chicago and has yet to be cleared to resume contact.

The team activated cornerback Drayton Florence from short-term injured reserve to take Spievey’s spot on the 53-man roster.  Florence will play Sunday when the Lions host Green Bay, and there’s a chance he could even start at right cornerback.

“He’s an exceptional veteran player,” Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said of Florence on Friday. “He’s like a lot of the older guys I’ve had. He learned to study the game a long time ago. I really like the way he’s moved in practice and he’s going to get a big load. How much I can’t tell you right now, but we expect him to play and play well.”

Florence started at left cornerback in a Week 2 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in place of Chris Houston, who was out due to an ankle injury. Florence broke his forearm in that game and went on short-term IR shortly after.

Spievey had missed the Lions last three games since suffering his concussion, his second in less than a year. He had one in the team’s wild-card loss to the Saints in January.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was asked last week if Spievey was in the same concussion category as Jahvid Best, but he said he didn’t believe he was.

Best went on injured reserve last October and still hasn’t been cleared to return to football.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »

Houston, Johnson and Avril among seven missing practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 14, 2012 – 1:06 pm

The Lions were without three-quarters of their starting secondary Wednesday at the portion of practice open to the media.

Safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion) remain out, and cornerback Chris Houston joined them after hurting his ankle in last week’s loss to the Vikings.

The Lions host reigning MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at Ford Field this Sunday.

Despite not practicing, Delmas looked to have a little more pep in his step. The Lions continue to list him as day-to-day with that left knee injury and it appears he’s getting closer to returning.

The Lions were also without receiver Calvin Johnson, defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive tackle Corey Williams and safety Erik Coleman.

Cornerback Drayton Florence continues to practice while waiting for activation from short-term injured reserve. The Lions don’t have to activate Florence until next week, but he’s expected to be activated later this week and play vs. the Packers. He’s been out since Week 2 when he broke his forearm at San Francisco.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »

Source: Lions claim CB Patrick Lee off waivers; release CB Alphonso Smith

Posted by ttwentyman on November 12, 2012 – 8:52 pm

The Lions have claimed former Raiders cornerback Patrick Lee off waivers, according to a league source.

The team released cornerback Alphonso Smith to make room on the roster.

Lee, six feet, 200 pounds, is a former second-round pick of the Packers out of Auburn. He played three seasons for the Packers before signing with the Raiders this offseason. He appeared in eight games for Oakland this year, starting seven, before being released last week.

He had 30 tackles, one interception, a forced fumble and four pass breakups before his release.

Smith re-signed with Detroit in October after the Lions had suffered some injuries to its secondary. He appeared in four games, with eight tackles and two pass defenses.

The Lions are expected to get cornerback Drayton Florence back off short-term injured reserve this week as well. Florence hasn’t played since breaking his forearn at San Francisco Week 2.

“He’s eligible to come back and he’s physically cleared so we would have to make a roster spot for him,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Monday.

“We’ve missed him on the field. He’s a good veteran presence particularly with the injuries that we have in the secondary. It would be good to get him returned.”

The team will have to release another player to make room for Florence on the roster.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 35 Comments »

Johnson and Leshoure miss practice; Lacey back

Posted by ttwentyman on October 31, 2012 – 11:54 am

The Lions were without a number of key contributors Wednesday as they began on-field preparation for Sunday’s game at Jacksonville.

Receiver Calvin Johnson and running Mikel Leshoure did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media.

Johnson has been dealing with a knee injury the past few weeks and it’s been routine for him to miss practice during the week. He’s played in all seven games.

Leshoure asked to come out of last week’s game after a 7-yard run in the third quarter and trainers worked on his lower right leg for a bit on the sidelines. He did not return. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday his absence from practice was due to “personal reasons” and he would be back at practice Thursday.

The Lions also practiced without safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey, defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive tackle Corey Williams, linebacker DeAndre Levy and cornerback Bill Bentley.

Bentley had been practicing in a limited fashion the last two weeks while dealing with a shoulder injury. He was not at the open portion of practice at all Wednesday.

The Lions did get some good news: cornerbacks Jacob Lacey (concussion) and Drayton Florence (broken arm) were back on the practice field. Florence isn’t eligible to come off short-term IR until the Packers game.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »

WR Calvin Johnson a full participant in practice; CB Chris Houston still limited

Posted by ttwentyman on September 13, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was back at the portion of practice open to the media Thursday morning after missing practice Wednesday and later showing up on the injury report with a foot injury. Johnson was listed on Thursday’s injury report as a full participant in practice.

“My foot’s good, you know. Just wanted to give it a day to rest yesterday so that I could get out here and stress it today,” Johnson said after practice Thursday. “You want to stress it on a day like today because it’s a big run day for us so you can see how it would respond in a game.”

Cornerback Chris Houston practiced for a second consecutive day, which is a good sign his injured ankle responded well to practicing Wednesday for the first time in nearly three weeks. However, Houston was still listed as a limited participant in practice for a second straight say.

Houston seems to be trending toward playing on in San Francisco on Sunday, but we’ll have to wait until the Friday’s game designations come out on the injury report. If he doesn’t start, the Lions are likely to go with Jacob Lacey and Drayton Florence at cornerback.

Safety Louis Delmas (knee), cornerback Bill Bentley (concussion), defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (calf) and linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) were all listed as no practice on Thursday’s injury report.

Williams did not practice Thursday after being listed as limited on Wednesday’s report.

Bentley remains out after suffering a concussion against the Rams last week.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »