On Tuesday, QB Matthew Stafford, FB Shaun Chapas, WR Kris Durham, QB Kellen Moore and Playworks Detroit joined students at Deerfield Elementary (Novi, MI) for Play 60 recess.
The school was the grand prize winner of the Pepsi Recess promotion through Walgreens, the official Health and Wellness partner of the Detroit Lions and their philanthropic initiative, Living for the City.
Tags: Kellen Moore, Kris Durham, Matthew Stafford, Shaun Chapas
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Lions receiver Nate Burleson appeared live in-studio this morning on NFL Network’s NFL AM. Burleson has been busy appearing on a number of media outlets in recent weeks, preparing for a possible post-football television career.
During his appearance Tuesday, he talked about the Lions’ 4-12 season, Titus Young, Jim Schwartz and more.
On finishing the season 4-12 after making the playoffs in 2011:
“There are so many things you can point to. I’m a guy that doesn’t make excuses; as one of the leaders on the team, I’m going to say it’s on us. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we perform at the same level we did in 2011, and we just didn’t. The type of games that we won so often in 2011 we couldn’t do this year; in the third and fourth quarters, it always seemed there was one play that just shut us down and we couldn’t overcome.
“We have to come back this offseason as leaders and figure out what it is; how to bring that fight back, that dog back, that tenacity and enthusiasm that we played with. I remember in 2011, we felt like we were backed into a corner every game, and in 2012 we just didn’t have that. As leaders, we have to figure that out.”
On if there was a sense of complacency after making the playoffs in 2011:
“From the outside looking in, a lot of people thought that. That might have been the perspective that ‘maybe they feel like they’ve arrived’. That’s not the case. We’re still as hungry, we’re still as passionate and we didn’t become complacent in where we were. It’s just that we didn’t finish, and that’s a big deal in this league. Every game is going to be decided by the seven or three points, and this year we just couldn’t overcome that. That’s what falls on the shoulders of the players.”
On if he was surprised that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was not fired:
“No, I wasn’t surprised just because he has brought so much to this organization and he has created a different type of attitude. For so long, the Detroit Lions were somewhat of the armpit of the NFL, and nobody cared. Now, people are starting to take notice. This year was a huge step back; 4-12 is not where we wanted to be.
“I was surprised that we fired our receivers coach Shawn Jefferson. He’s a big-time coach, a great asset, a guy that can come in every day and motivate the best player in the game in Calvin Johnson. I was surprised in that but the team has to make moves and you just have to go with the punches.”
On wide receiver Titus Young:
“Titus is like a little brother to me. He’s a guy that I’ve given a lot of energy to over the last couple of years. For a lot of the reasons that people might misunderstand what he does, I appreciate Titus. He’s young, he’s passionate. Guys come into the NFL and they’re complacent in where they are; they got it, they’re drafted, they have the money, now they relax. Titus, he doesn’t want to relax. He wants to be the best, he wants to be the guy, and sometimes that gets in the way of his role on the team.
“I have to talk to him and say, ‘We’re with Calvin, so for so many reasons we have to be the background dancers; we have to go do our thing, we have to be Tito, he’s [Michael Jackson] so let him do his thing and we’ll back him up when he needs us.’ He has a clear understanding of that now. Being exiled, some suspensions, he’s going to get back to where he needs to be because he’s a great asset. He’s one of the great route runners I’ve seen and he’s only a couple of years into the league. He has tremendous hands, so if we can get him on the same page he can help us quite a bit.”
On what element might be missing from Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s game:
“I wish I could pinpoint that. Being a receiver, I never claim to be a quarterback coach. I hear everything that everybody says about the way he throws, his mechanics, his footwork, but I could tell you this that there are throws that he makes that nobody else can make. That’s why he’s in the position that he is. Just like every other athlete in the offseason, you go back to the drawing board, you work on the little things; you build on the strengths and you work on the weaknesses. So for Matt, I believe he’s going to do that regardless of whatever it is. He needs to take that next step.
“In my eyes, he’s a really good quarterback; I’m waiting for him to take that elite step and he has the capability of doing that. I’m excited for next year because he’s young. Just because he got thrown into the fire, they expect so much of him and he’s overachieved a lot since he’s come back from his early injuries. Almost two 5,000-yard seasons is hard to do. He’s come back and proved he can be that guy. I want him to be elite though and a lot people do. There is a lot of pressure on him but that’s why you get paid the big bucks.”
On who is the league’s MVP:
“That’s Calvin Johnson. If we were winning – say we got to the playoffs – he would definitely be in the conversation. Now, Peyton Manning – unbelievable coming back from the neck, going to Denver and doing more for that city almost than [Tim] Tebow did and Tebow caused hysteria out there. Adrian Peterson coming back from the ACL, I had an ACL in 2008 so I know how difficult that is. But the things that Calvin does, he’s in the same boat as AP: everybody knows he’s going to get the ball but he still gets the ball regardless. He’s out there getting viced in the slot like he’s about to cover a punt, so he creates coverages that I haven’t seen since playing with Randy Moss.”
On whether Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford should be setting records for pass attempts:
“It is a lot but I believe that he should. When you have a guy like Calvin [Johnson], you have no choice but to put the ball up there as many times as you need to … Now, you’re not going to hit every one, but when you get that big catch in fishing it makes it worthwhile. When you go out there and you have that big game, that highlight catch that Calvin creates, it’s worthwhile all of those attempts.”
On how he is recovering him his broken leg:
“It’s good. I have a little hardware in there. I’m early in the rehab stages but I’m ahead of schedule, which is a good thing. I’m trying to get back. I’m 31, have a couple more years on my contract. Trying to get back to where I was and get the team back to where we were.”
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Jim Schwartz, Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson, Shawn Jefferson, Titus Young
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 6 Comments »
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan spoke to the media Thursday and reiterated his belief that Matthew Stafford can be one of the best quarterback’s to ever play the game.
His comments are getting a lot of play in national media outlets.
“I don’t know where Peyton (Manning) was after four years exactly, but I think that Matt’s definitely on track to be one of the best quarterbacks ever to play this position,” Linehan said.
“He’s in an age of great quarterbacks. He’s not going to be mentioned in that category yet until we put together two or three seasons, like we did last year, in a row.
“Finish this season out strong, you look at the end of the year, see his numbers after two years, I mean it’s hard to say that there’s a lot of quarterbacks that have done that.”
Stafford, 24, is the reigning Comeback Player of the Year and needs to average 331.3 yards per game over the final three weeks to join Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to hit 5,000 yards in a season twice. He’s close to 12,000 career yards and has 77 touchdowns in 42 career starts.
Here is the full video of Linehan’s comments to the press regarding Stafford:
Tags: Matthew Stafford, Scott Linehan
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 5 Comments »
Every week Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are made available to the media and every week, without fail, each one is asked at least once why they haven’t connected for more touchdowns.
Stafford and Johnson should just open up with their comments to the question, since they both know it will be asked soon enough.
Johnson leads the Lions with 48 catches for 767 yards, but only has one touchdown on the season. Sunday in Jacksonville, Johnson had seven catches for 129 yards and nearly had his second touchdown of the season, but was tackled at the 1-yard line following a 38-yard reception.
That scenario has been more common that you might realize.
Johnson has been tackled at or inside the 2-yard line five times this season, including four at the 1-yard line. That’s an amazing stat if you think about it. He gets in even three of those times and people probably aren’t asking the question.
Johnson’s Close Calls:
Week 1 vs. St Louis — 10 yard reception in second quarter — tackled at the 1-yard line
Week 3 at Tennessee — 9-yard reception in third quarter — tackled at the 1-yard line
Week 5 at Philadelphia — 20-yard reception in fourth quarter — tackled at 1-yard line
Week 6 at Chicago — 6-yard reception in third quarter — tackled at 2-yard line
Week 8 at Jacksonville — 38-yard reception in second quarter — tackled at 1-yard line
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 7 Comments »
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been nominated for GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week for his Week 8 comeback performance in a 28-24 win over Seattle.
Also nominated are Chicago’s Jay Cutler for his fourth-quarter comeback over Carolina and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck for his comeback win over Tennessee.
The Lions were down 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter when Stafford and the offense began a drive with 5:27 remaining in the game.
Stafford led a 16-play drive, kept alive by two third-down conversion passes and capped off by wide receiver Titus Young‘s second touchdown of the game.
Fans can vote for Stafford at NFL.com/gmc until Friday at 3 p.m. ET. The winner will be announced Friday during NFL Network’s “Around the League” show and then posted on NFL.com.
Tags: Matthew Stafford
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Also nominated are New England’s Tom Brady (23-of-35 passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns) and Denver’s Peyton Manning (22-of-30 passing for 305 yards and three touchdowns).
Stafford was 34-of-49 for 352 yards, accounting for all four of Detroit’s touchdowns. He threw for three – two to Titus Young and one to Ryan Broyles – and ran one in.
Fans can vote for Stafford on NFL.com/FedEx until 3 p.m. EST on Friday! Winners will be announced Friday on NFL Total Access on NFL Network and NFL.com!
Tags: Matthew Stafford
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First it was Matthew Stafford‘s “new shirt“.
Now, he is cleaning up after Georgia mascot, Hairy Dawg.
Today, ESPN is debuting two new ‘This is SportsCenter’ spots featuring Stafford and his college mascot. In one, the former Georgia Bulldog cleans up an apparent Hairy Dawg accident in the ESPN break room.
In the other, the mascot steals Stafford’s leftovers from the refrigerator.
Both were shot in February at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. campus.
Enjoy, Lions fans!
Tags: Matthew Stafford
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Quarterback Matthew Stafford was a full participant in the Lions’ final practice of the week Friday leading up to Sunday’s game vs. the Vikings, and is officially listed as probable for Sunday’s game on the final injury report of the week.
Stafford missed the final minutes of the fourth quarter and the overtime period in last Sunday’s loss to the Titans after aggravating a hip injury. He did not practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday, before returning to practice in full capacity Friday.
Also listed as probable for the Lions are: receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), receiver Titus Young (knee) defensive end Lawrence Jackson (calf) and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (elbow).
Running back Mikel Leshoure is listed as questionable after being limited all week in practice with a groin injury. Leshoure made his NFL debut last week in Tennessee, where he rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown.
If Leshoure doesn’t play, Joique Bell and Kevin Smith will likely be asked to pick up the slack.
Tight end Tony Scheffler, who was limited again in practice Friday with a calf injury, is also listed as questionable. He missed last week’s game in Tennessee after suffering the injury against the 49ers in Week 2.
His absence last week was a significant loss because he’s such a tough matchup for opposing defenses down the middle of the field. It’s the middle of the defense that’s been the open spot the last couple weeks against the two-high safety shells that opponents have been using against the Lions.
Linebacker Justin Durant (back) and safety Amari Spievey (groin) are also questionable. Spievey did not participate in practice on Friday, while Durant was limited.
Safety Louis Delmas and linebacker Travis Lewis are doubtful for Sunday. Delmas hasn’t practiced since undergoing knee surgery Aug. 7 and Lewis hasn’t played since Week 1 with a quad injury.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has already ruled out defensive tackle Corey Williams after Williams underwent knee surgery on Tuesday.
Tags: Amari Spievey, Justin Durant, Matthew Stafford, Mikel Leshoure, Tony Scheffler
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 31 Comments »
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was on the practice again Friday and looks to be in line to start Sunday vs. the Vikings.
Official game designations will be released on Detroitlions.com at 4 p.m.
Stafford missed Wednesday’s practice after aggravating a hip injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Titans. He was back on the practice field on Thursday and was listed as limited in the official injury report.
Also practicing in the portion open to the media Friday was tight end Tony Scheffler. Scheffler was also limited in Thursday’s practice, his first since injuring a calf against the 49ers in Week 2.
The Lions had almost their full compliment of players on the practice field Friday as they continue to prepare for Sunday’s matchup with the Vikings at Ford Field. The only players missing practice were: safety Louis Delmas, defensive tackle Corey Williams and linebacker Travis Lewis.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has already ruled Williams out for Sunday after he underwent knee surgery on Tuesday.
Tags: Matthew Stafford, Tony Scheffler
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »
Quarterback Matthew Stafford was back on the practice field today but was listed as “limited” on the official injury report. Stafford did not practice Wednesday after aggravating a hip injury in Sunday’s loss in Tennessee.
“It’s a good step,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m feeling better today than I was yesterday.”
It seems likely Stafford will play Sunday vs. the Vikings as long as he doesn’t suffer a setback.
The Lions are also hoping tight end Tony Scheffler will be available Sunday. Scheffler also returned to practice in a limited fashion today. He hasn’t practiced since suffering a calf injury against the 49ers in Week 2.
Also listed as limited on the official injury report were: linebacker Justin Durant (back), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (calf), guard Rob Sims (knee), running back Mikel Leshoure (groin) and safety Amari Spievey (groin).
Speivey was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.
Defensive tackle Corey Williams did not practice today and Lions head coach Jim Schwartz disclosed afterward that Williams underwent knee surgery Tuesday and will not play Sunday against the Vikings. He is week-to-week moving forward, according to Schwartz.
Linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and safety Louis Delmas (knee) also did not practice.
Receiver Calvin Johnson was a full participant after being limited Wednesday with a ankle injury. Offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (elbow) and receiver Titus Young (knee) were also full participants.
Tags: Amari Spievey, Corey Williams, Matthew Stafford, Tony Scheffler
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 1 Comment »