The Lions lost their first significant free agent when cornerback Eric Wright agreed to a contract with the Buccaneers this morning, ESPN reported. The contract is reportedly a five-year deal but no specifics have been released.
Wright started every game at cornerback last year with 73 tackles and a career-high four interceptions.
He signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Lions as a free agent last summer. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew had said publicly that he wished to re-sign Wright.
The team will now look elsewhere to add talent and depth to a secondary that struggled with injuries and consistency last season.
There have already been a number of cornerback signings early in free agency, including Cortland Finnegan (Rams) and Carlos Rogers (49ers). This could get the Lions involved in the second-tier market at the position.
The Lions could also use the draft to bolster the position, which now has just three players under contract who have played significant minutes (Chris Houston, Aaron Berry and Alphonso Smith).
The Lions like Berry and we could see him play a bigger role next season, possibly challenging for the No. 2 corner spot behind Houston.
Smith was mentioned in trade rumors during the NFL Scouting Combine in February, but the Lions could be looking to hang on to him now that Wright is gone.
Tags: Eric Wright
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 17 Comments »
The NFL free agency frenzy is upon us, and though the Lions haven’t been involved in any blockbuster moves Tuesday, there have been reports surrounding the team.
A league source confirmed that former Panthers tackle/guard Geoff Schwartz will visit the Lions on Friday.
Schwartz, 25, started all 16 games for the Panthers in 2010 . He missed all of last season with a hip injury and was not offered a restricted free agent tender by the Panthers.
The Lions are in need of younger talent and depth along the offensive line.
Jason Cole of YahooSports.com reported Tuesday that former Redskins free agent safety LaRon Landry is garnering interest from the Lions, Eagles, Jets and Bears, and could visit each organization.
Landry has struggled with injuries the last two seasons, starting just 17 games over that period.
As far as their own free agents, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the 49ers, Redskins and Buccaneers are making a push to sign free agent cornerback Eric Wright.
Wright started every game for the Lions last season and finished with 74 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble after signing a one-year deal before the season.
There were also several reports out of New York that Lions back-up quarterback Drew Stanton is planning to visit the Jets this week.
Free agency is certainly upon us.
Tags: Drew Stanton, Eric Wright
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »
It’s Week 16 in the NFL and every team is dealing with injuries – Lions included.
But coach Jim Schwartz gave a bit of positive news on that front during his Monday press conference with the media.
“I think that we’ll probably have everybody on our 53 will be in the mix this week,” he said.
“Whether or not they’ll play or not, still way too early to tell, but I think everybody’s going to be at least into consideration – at least in the mix.”
Schwartz said that included safety Louis Delmas, who had minor knee surgery Saturday to clean up a sprain suffered against the Packers on Thanksgiving.
“I mean it’s too early to tell there, but there’s a possibility,” he said.
Corner Chris Houston started Sunday in Oakland for the first time since also spraining a knee on Thanksgiving, but was replaced by Alphonso Smith when he had a hard time coming out of breaks and defending receivers.
Schwartz gave no update on safety Chris Harris, who was evaluated for a concussion early against the Raiders Sunday and did not return.
Corner Eric Wright and linebacker Justin Durant made it through the game with hamstring injuries. Both didn’t practice for the first time last week until Friday.
“Let’s not give out any Purple Hearts or anything.,” Schwartz said of Wright and Durant. “They’re professional football players and they were able to play and they did.”
Running back Kevin Smith made it through the game on that injured ankle, too.
Tags: Alphonso Smith, Chris Harris, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Jim Schwartz, Justin Durant, Kevin Smith, Louis Delmas, Week 16 - Lions vs Chargers
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 22 Comments »
The Lions are the healthiest they’ve been in weeks and will have almost their full compliment of defensive starters.
Corner Eric Wright, linebacker Justin Durant, defensive tackle Nick Fairley will all play. All were questionable on Friday.
Running back Kevin Smith will also play and start.
Durant, Fairley and Smith missed last week’s game.
Inactive for the Lions are quarterback Drew Stanton, safety Louis Delmas, corner Aaron Berry, running back Aaron Brown, defensive end Keyunta Dawson, guard Leonard Davis and defensive end Lawrence Jackson.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Aaron Brown, Drew Stanton, Eric Wright, Justin Durant, Kevin Smith, Keyunta Dawson, Lawrence Jackson, Leonard Davis, Louis Delmas, Nick Fairley
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
It’ll be down to the wire whether a number of key contributors will suit up for the Lions in Oakland Sunday.
The Lions got a large contingent of players back on the practice field Friday, but most of them are listed as questionable on Friday’s official injury report.
That includes corner Eric Wright and linebacker Justin Durant, who practiced Friday for the first time this week. Both are nursing hamstring injuries.
Also questionable are defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot), running back Kevin Smith (ankle) and safety Louis Delmas (knee).
Delmas was back at practice in limited fashion on Friday for the first time since spraining his MCL against the Packers on Thanksgiving. He did not participate in individual drills in the portion of practice open to the media, though.
Smith practiced for a third-straight day and continues to look like he’ll play Sunday.
Fairley didn’t participate in practice for a second-straight day on Friday. He instead was running and working off to the side with trainers.
Probable for the Lions against the Raiders are corner Chris Houston (knee), guard Rob Sims (shoulder), safety Amari Spievey (knee) and DE Willie Young (ankle).
Young didn’t practice Friday, working instead with Fairley off to the side with trainers.
Defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh bruise) practiced Friday for the first time in a month but is listed as doubtful on Friday’s official injury report.
Cornerback Aaron Berry, who separated a shoulder against the Vikings and hasn’t practiced all week, is also doubtful.
Tags: Amari Spievey, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Justin Durant, Kevin Smith, Nick Fairley, Rob Sims, Week 15 - Lions at Raiders, Willie Young
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »
The Lions got a large contingent of players back on the field Friday in the team’s final practice before leaving for Oakland Friday night.
Corner Eric Wright (hamstring), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh bruise) and linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring) all practiced on Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.
Friday was the first time Jackson has practiced in nearly a month. He’s missed the team’s last four games with that bruise.
Safety Louis Delmas (knee) was back at practice in limited fashion. He had a helmet but was not participating in individual drills in the portion of practice open to the media.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley (foot) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle) ran off to the side with trainers instead of participating in practice.
Running back Kevin Smith practiced and it continues to look like he’ll play Sunday.
The only player not doing anything at practice was corner Aaron Berry (shoulder).
The official injury report will player’s status for Sunday will be released at 4 p.m. on detroitlions.com.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Eric Wright, Justin Durant, Lawrence Jackson, Louis Delmas, Nick Fairley, Week 15 - Lions at Raiders, Willie Young
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »
Lions running back Kevin Smith looks like he’s on pace to play in Oakland on Sunday.
Smith ran with the first-team offense during skeleton drills at practice Thursday and participated in individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media.
Smith has been dealing with a high ankle sprain since Thanksgiving and didn’t practice Wednesday. He worked out off to the side on Wednesday.
Rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley was absent from practice after being limited Wednesday. Fairley missed last week’s game against the Vikings because of a foot injury.
Fairley said after practice Wednesday that resting the foot was going to be the best medicine going forward, though.
“We’re going to go day-by-day and how I come in in the morning and how it feels after treatment (will) depend on how many reps and snaps I take in practice,” he said.
The Lions were also without safety Louis Delmas (knee), corner Eric Wright (hamstring), linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring), corner Aaron Berry (shoulder) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thing bruise).
Corner Chris Houston was practicing for a second consecutive day.
Tags: Aaron Berry, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Justin Durant, Kevin Smith, Lawrence Jackson, Louis Delmas, Nick Fairley
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 8 Comments »
After a shaky four-interception game against the Bears last week, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford needed to get off to a good start against the Panthers.
That’s not happening.
Stafford took deep shots to Calvin Johnson and Tony Scheffler on his first two pass attempts that fell just incomplete. But on his third attempt, Stafford was picked off by Panthers LB James Anderson.
The Lions defense bailed him out with an interception of their own (Eric Wright), so no harm no foul.
But Stafford threw his second interception on the very next drive as the Lions were poised to score. The ball was intercepted by SS Charles Godfrey.
Stafford has some zing on the ball and looks to be throwing ok. It’s the decision-making that’s letting him down early on. His second throw was into double coverage and under thrown.
Tags: Eric Wright, Matthew Stafford, Week 11 - Lions vs. Panthers
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
FOX analyst John Lynch weighed in on tomorrow’s NFC North match-up between the Detroit Lions (2-0) and Minnesota Vikings (0-2), which should be an exciting game between two good football teams.
“This is a good football team, in my mind, in Minnesota,” said Lynch. “They haven’t finished (games), which is the mark of a good football team, but they’ve taken two potential playoff teams – San Diego and Tampa – and really outplayed them in the first half. They just need to learn to finish.”
Detroit’s top defensive priority every week is to stop the run, but that is particularly emphasized when up against the Vikings.
“Adrian Peterson, in my mind, is the finest back in the National Football League,” said Lynch. “They know that’s key to their success, but obviously, they’ve got to do other things. They’ve got a guy in Percy Harvin who’s a pretty phenomenal player as well.
“Certainly your No. 1 priority has to be stopping Adrian, but that can’t solely be it. They do have Donovan McNabb. They’ve got (Bernard) Berrian, their tight ends are an explosive group.”
On the flip side, Lynch – a former Pro Bowl NFL safety – is also impressed with the Lions’ secondary, which has proven very capable the last two weeks.
“I love it. I played on a defense like that in Tampa where it started up front and the guys in the back end should be the first ones to appreciate that because it makes your job a lot easier.
“But (the Lions) have really raised their level of play in the back end. Eric Wright’s been key to that. His presence back there allows Gunther to call things a little more aggressive – more man-to-man.
“Chris Houston has raised the level of his game. I’ve always been a big (Louis) Delmas fan, but I think he’s turning that aggressiveness into playing really smart football and (Amari) Spievey was a corner transitioning to safety and you can tell he has a year under his belt.”
Though Detroit and Minnesota have gotten off to different starts this season, Lynch warns against going to sleep on the Vikings.
“You can talk about all the reasons (the Vikings) haven’t finished,” said Lynch. “But the bottom line is that big-time players have got to make a play. If they make one play in that second half, the game’s over.
“They know that, the Lions know that – everybody in this League knows that. They’re 0-2, but that doesn’t put you out. This is the first game of the division, so this is an important game for both teams.”
Tags: Amari Spievey, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Louis Delmas
Posted in DetroitLions.com Blog | 3 Comments »
“Losing Leshoure is unfortunate. He was having a good camp. I was looking forward to seeing the one-two punch of him and Jahvid, but it will happen in years to come. It’s unfortunate that we have lost the players we’ve lost. Those guys are great additions to what we already had going on here.
“We’ve still got a great core of guys that are still healthy and ready to play, though, and we learned a lot from last season. I think going into this season, we’ll keep ourselves out of a lot of the bad situations that we were prone to putting ourselves in last year.
“One thing you’ve got to do is keep your guys – the backup guys – in tune with what’s going on because you never know when somebody’s going to go down and somebody’s going to have to step up. If you don’t do that, of course you can’t expect those guys to go out there and perform like the starters would. But if you do keep those guys in tune, that should be an expectation for those guys when they have to step in.
“As for camp, and the players I’m practicing with, I’m glad to have Chris and Eric Wright out there because it’s good to go against good corners. It makes you better. So it’s good for me, good for Nate, good for all of us as a receiving corps to just go up against those guys every day. I’m not going to say who’s doing better against me, though. Let’s just say both of those guys do a good job. It’s good competition – let’s put it like that.
“Eric is definitely a splash corner. He makes big plays. Whenever we played him when he was in Cleveland, maybe almost every game he got a pick. He took some of them back to the house, too. Those are some things I’m looking forward to having out of him this year.
“He is very confident and corners have to be. It’s going to be up and down, but you have to be able to bounce back and that’s been him throughout his career. He’s always been able to make those plays. Of course, if you’re a corner, you’re going to get beat sometimes, but you’ve got to bounce back. It’s all about how you come back.”
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure
Posted in Calvin Johnson Blog | 14 Comments »