Rob Sims recipient of Eric Andolsek Award as team’s most outstanding offensive lineman

Posted by ttwentyman on January 15, 2013 – 2:07 pm

Rob Sims has been a model of consistency over the last three seasons with the Lions.

Since the team traded with Seattle for Sims before the 2010 season, he’s played in every game, and in 2012, he played every one of the Lions’ 1,199 snaps on offense.

In a poll of NFC North personnel executives conducted by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Bob McGinn after the season, Sims, for the third straight year, was voted the best left guard in the division.

That wasn’t the only poll Sims came out on top of. His teammates voted him the Eric Andolsek Award as the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman.

The award is given in memory of the Lions’ Eric Andolsek, who was emerging as one of the top young guards in the NFL when he was killed tragically in an offseason accident in 1992.

Andolsek started every game from 1989-91, making his 50th consecutive start in his final contest, the 1991 NFC Championship Game. He was named to the USA Today’s All-Pro Team that year, his first such honor as a Lion.

According Stats, LLC, Sims allowed just 1.5 sacks in 740 Lions pass attempts this season. In 93 career games, Sims has allowed just 18 sacks total.

When the Lions decided to run the football left towards Sims and left tackle Jeff Backus this season, they averaged 4.9 yards per carry, the highest average of any other direction.

Sims, 30, is signed through 2014 after signing an extension in 2010 and the team expects him to be a mainstay at left guard for years to come.

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Stafford’s injury listed as a hip; Leshoure limited with groin

Posted by ttwentyman on September 26, 2012 – 4:00 pm

As we get further and further into the season, the Lions’ injury report seems to be growing longer and longer.

The Lions returned to the practice field today for the first time since Sunday’s stunning loss in Tennessee, and their first injury report of the week has 12 players on it.

Among the six players who did not practice today was quarterback Matthew Stafford, who left Sunday’s game late in the fourth quarter with what’s officially being called a hip injury. Stafford said after practice that he felt a lot better today than he did Sunday, but still has some rehab to do before he could potentially return to practice or play Sunday against the Vikings.

Also listed as no practice on today’s injury report were: safety Louis Delmas (knee), linebacker Travis Lewis (quad), tight end Tony Scheffler (calf), defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) and receiver Titus Young (knee).

Running back Mikel Leshoure showed up on the injury report after making his NFL debut Sunday with 100 yards and touchdown. The second-year player was listed as a limited participant in practice today with a groin injury.

“It takes a toll on everybody. It’s Wednesday during the regular season,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said after practice today when asked how Leshoure came through his first NFL game. “That’s life in the NFL.

“Particularly when you play 90-some snaps on offense; he didn’t play all of them obviously but he played a lot of them. His experience is no different than anybody else in the NFL. They only thing that’s different is that he’s experiencing it for the first time in the NFL.”

Linebacker Justin Durant (back), defensive end Lawrence Jackson (calf), receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) and guard Rob Sims (knee) were also limited.

Tackle Corey Hilliard (elbow) was listed as a full participant.

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Mayhew: We plan to be aggressively looking to do some trades this year

Posted by ttwentyman on January 18, 2012 – 4:48 pm

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew doesn’t do a lot of interviews with the media, but he took time Wednesday to talk with the “2 Live Stews” on sports radio 790 in Atlanta.

Hosts Doug Stewart and Ryan Stewart (get the name of the show) touched on a number of subjects, including Mayhew’s hiring of coach Jim Schwartz in 2009, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, quarterback Matthew Stafford and how Mayhew was able to transform an 0-16 team into a playoff team in three seasons.

Here are some excerpts:

On the hiring of Schwartz:

“We talked to a lot of people and I had been here for a lot of years and through several coaches so I had probably sat in on 20-plus coaching interviews,” Mayhew said. “Jim was one of the the most impressive guys that we ever met with. He had a tremendous wealth of experience as a defensive football coach starting off as a quality control guy and then becoming a linebacker coach and becoming a coordinator working with Jeff Fisher for a long time.

“Prior to that he had experience in personnel working with Bill Belichick. He had a lot of experience in the NFL but yet he was still a relatively a young guy. He had great positive energy, a wealth of experience and had been through a lot. He had been with Tennessee when they were a great team in the Super Bowl and had also been with them when they got decimated by the salary cap situation and ended up with not quite as good a record. He’s been through good years and bad years and good times and bad times.”

On Suh:

“Early on (in the season) he had a couple borderline plays and looking back on it probably not enough people talked to him in those situations,” Mayhew said. “Then when this thing happened (stomping incident on Thanksgiving), probably too many people talked to him. The guy driving the bus to the games had an opinion on what Ndamukong needed to do. I got letters from every sports psychologist and councilor in the Metro Detroit area. He had so much input it was probably too much. But Ndamukong is a very intelligent person and intelligent football player who has a really solid foundation with great family and great network of support around him and he’s come through this thing. He came back with a great attitude and played great down the stretch and we’re going to put this behind him and move forward next year.”

On Stafford:

“The state of Georgia has been very good to us with Matthew Stafford (Georgia) and Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech),” he said. “I think Matthew has stepped up into the upper echelon and is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. I think he showed that down the stretch. To play Oakland and be down and have to drive 90-some yards to win it, he made those plays; to go touchdown-for-touchdown with the Packers and just run out of time in that game; then to play like he did on the road against the Saints (in) the playoff game. He’s an outstanding player. Nobody in this building ever doubted his abilities or his ability to stay healthy.”

On the 19 trades for players and draft picks in his first 31 months on the job:

“We were 0-16. I remember I was in a press conference after our first draft and one of the reporters said, ‘Man, you guys are being really aggressive,’ and I said, ‘Well, we were 0-16, we can’t stand pat,’” Mayhew said.

“We had the opportunity to upgrade ourselves. We had a corps of players from those 2000’s drafts who sort of disappeared on us. So, we had a chance to go out and get Tony Scheffler in a trade, Rob Sims in a trade, Corey Williams, Chris Houston and we kind of replaced that nucleus of players that we didn’t have.

“It wasn’t a tough decision to draft Matthew Stafford or to draft Ndamukong Suh. We really believe in using every avenue to improve whether its trades, waiver claims, free agency, the draft and we’re not just focused on one avenue to go out and try to sign players. We use everything that’s available to us and the trades sort of just happened. We haven’t done any in a while but we plan to be aggressively looking to do some trades this year.”

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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 11 Comments »

Delmas, Durant, Fairley, Smith and Wright all questionable for Sunday

Posted by ttwentyman on December 16, 2011 – 5:00 pm

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.

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Delmas and Houston doubtful; Durant, Smith and Fairley questionable

Posted by ttwentyman on December 9, 2011 – 5:00 pm

The Lions are beginning a four-game playoff push Sunday against the Vikings and they might have to get through the first leg without some key contributors.

Running back Kevin Smith (high ankle sprain) took part in the early portion of practice open to the media for the first time this week, but looked like he was having a hard time cutting and left the field towards the end of the open media session.

“We’ll see as we go—it’s still Friday,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said of Smith, who was listed as questionable for Sunday on the teams Friday injury report.

“Last week he was able to do some things in the game, you know, wasn’t able to last the whole game, but he was able to do some things and I think that we’ll just see when we get to Sunday. I know that if he’s available to help us, he will be, but we also need to make sure that he’s helping the team by being out there.”

The Lions will likely be without safety Louis Delmas and corner Chris Houston for a second consecutive game as both are dealing with knee injuries. Both are listed as doubtful for Sunday.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley missed his third practice this week after aggravating a foot injury against the Saints. He’s officially questionable.

The Lions signed free agent defensive tackle Jovan Haye as an insurance policy for Fairley and he participated in practice Friday.

“You know, we had some depth issues on our defensive line, obviously because of Suh’s suspension and also some injuries that we’ve had and you know, he’ll be ready in case we need him,” Schwartz said.

Also sitting out practice was linebacker Justin Durant with a hamstring injury and defensive end Lawrence Jackson with a deep thigh bruise.

Durant is questionable for Sunday and Jackson is out.

Safety Amari Spievey was back at practice after missing Thursday with an illness.

Guard Rob Sims (shoulder) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle) are probable.

For the Vikings…

Corner Chris Cook (non injury related) is out.

Running back Adrian Peterson (ankle) and quarterback Christian Ponder (hip) are questionable. Both practiced in a limited fashion on Friday.

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Defensive starters missing from practice; Delmas and Houston have MCL sprains

Posted by ttwentyman on December 8, 2011 – 5:00 pm

Lions safety Louis Delmas and corner Chris Houston missed practice again Thursday with what we now know are  MCL sprains they suffered on Thanksgiving.

Delmas was injured early in the game when his knee got rolled up on by Packers running back James Starks. He limped off the field and never returned.

Houston was injured when teammate Stephen Tulloch inadvertently hit him right on the knee with his helmet assisting on a tackle at the end of the first half.

Neither Delmas or Houston have practiced or played since suffering their injuries.

Typically, an injury like this takes 2-4 weeks to heal, depending on the player. Both players have said they’re rigorously rehabbing to get back on the field.

It’s not unlike the injury suffered by Bears running back Matt Forte last week.

The Lions practiced Thursday without a number of other key contributors on defense.

Rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who was in a protective boot Wednesday, remains out with that foot injury he aggravated against the Saints Sunday.

Fairley said after practice that it was going to be something he’ll have to deal with the remainder of the season until he can get the proper rest. He said it’ll be about managing the pain and getting rest leading up to game day.

Defensive end Lawrence Jackson continues to be sidelined with that deep thigh bruise.

Linebacker Justin Durant didn’t practice Thursday after being limited by a hamstring injury on Wednesday. Coach Jim Schwartz said Durant was day-to-day after practice.

“Well, we’re going to get them all back, it’s just a matter of when,” Schwartz said of all the team’s injuries. “Maybe Lawrence Jackson is a little bit more long term, but we haven’t put any of those guys on the IR and all those guys are expected back.

“They’re all making progress; they’re all doing well, but whether or not they’ll be available this week is still too early to see – it’s Thursday. But, you know, they’re going to be late-in-the-week decisions and possibly Sunday. We do have a little bit more injuries on defense than we do with offense right now, but it’s life in the NFL.”

Safety Amari Spievey was out with an illness.

On the offensive side of the ball, running back Kevin Smith (ankle) missed a second-straight practice. Remember, Smith got his biggest workload in Thursday’s practice last week.

“Last time I hurt it I had 10 days (before a game),” Smith said. “I feel like I have to do something similar to practice to give myself the confidence that I can make certain movements and certain cuts to be able to produce on game day.”

Receiver Titus Young was back working with the first-team offense in the portion of practice open to the media. Rashied Davis was getting most of that work in that spot Wednesday.

Corner Brandon McDonald (thigh), guard Rob Sims (shoulder) and defensive end Willie Young (ankle) were all limited on the official practice report.

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