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Nate Burleson talks the Lions’ 4-12 season, Titus Young, Jim Schwartz and more

Posted by ttwentyman on January 8, 2013 – 4:41 pm

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.”


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Young inactive for second consecutive game; Backus to start

Posted by ttwentyman on December 2, 2012 – 12:32 pm

Receiver Titus Young is inactive today for the Lions and will miss his second consecutive game for disciplinary reasons.

Young was asked to leave the team following a loss to the Packers two weeks ago when he continually lined up wrong and was insubordinate on the sideline.

He was inactive last week vs. Houston. Young rejoined practice this week, but head coach Jim Schwartz said Young had to earn his was back to active status.

Young has 33 receptions for 375 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

Rookie Ryan Broyles and veteran Mike Thomas did a nice job of picking up the slack for Young last week. Broyles had 126 receiving yards and Thomas caught his first touchdown as a Lion.

The Lions will have the services of safety Louis Delmas, who is active and will make his fifth start of the season today vs. Indianapolis. Delmas left in the fourth quarter on Thanksgiving with soreness in his left knee.

The Lions will also have Jeff Backus back at left tackle. Backus saw his iron-man streak of 187 consecutive starts (including playoffs) snapped last week because of a hamstring injury.  Backus was limited in practice all week but is ready to go.

Joining Titus Young on the inactive list are: cornerback Jonte Green, tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, receiver Brian Robiskie, quarterback Kellen Moore and defensive end Ronnell Lewis.

Green has been dealing with an illness all week.

Defensive tackle Corey Williams will play for the first time in a month because of a knee injury, but will not start. Nick Fairley, who has three sacks over his last three games while starting for Williams, will get the nod.

Ricardo Silva will start opposite Delmas at the other safety spot.


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Titus Young back at Lions practice; five others sit out

Posted by ttwentyman on November 28, 2012 – 1:03 pm

Receiver Titus Young returned to the portions of Lions practice open to the media today after more than a week away from the team.

Young was inactive for the Thanksgiving Day Game against the Texans and did not practice last week because of disciplinary reasons following the team’s loss to the Packers.

“He needed and the team needed a little time away,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday when Young wasn’t on the practice field. “And that’s not the same with the other inactive guys. But again, it’s not going to be based on what he does away from here, it’s what he does when he’s here with the team.”

Young took reps with the second team and went last in a number of receiving drills during the individual portion of practice. It appears Young will have to earn the trust back from both his head coach and his teammates before he can be an expected contributor on Sunday.

The Lions also welcomed guard Rob Sims and right tackle Gosder Cherilus back at practice. Both players sat out of yesterday’s “bonus practice.”

The team was without defensive end Cliff Avril, safety Louis Delmas, left tackle Jeff Backus, defensive tackle Corey Williams and running back Mikel Leshoure.

The first injury report of the week will be released at 4p.m. today on Detroitlions.com.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »

Lions to start same secondary for consecutive weeks; Corey Williams out

Posted by ttwentyman on November 11, 2012 – 12:31 pm

The Lions will start the same four players in the secondary for consecutive weeks for the first time this season today at Minnesota.

With safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey already ruled out, Ricardo Silva and Erik Coleman will get the start.

Coleman recorded his first interception of the season in a win over the Jaguars a week ago and Silva had his first career pick the week prior in a win over Seattle.

Chris Houston and Jacob Lacey will start at cornerback.

The Lions will be without defensive starter tackle Corey Williams with a knee injury. Second-year player Nick Fairley will get his third career start in his place.

Receiver Titus Young and defensive end Cliff Avril, who were both listed as questionable on Friday, will play.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy returns to the starting lineup after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. Levy was leading the team in tackles before the injury and still ranks third with 37, despite missing two games.

Receiver Calvin Johnson, who was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, will start. Johnson practiced for the first time in two weeks on Friday and told reporters this week that his left knee feels better than it did a week ago when he didn’t practice at all but still had seven catches for 129 yards at Jacksonville.

Joining Delmas, Spievey and Williams on the inactive list today are: offensive tackles Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard, receiver Brian Robiskie, and quarterback Kellen Moore.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »

Johnson, Young, Avril and Houston return to practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 9, 2012 – 1:14 pm

Four starters returned to the practice field Friday for the Lions.

Receivers Calvin Johnson (knee) and Titus Young (knee), along with defensive end Cliff Avril (back), participated in the portion of practice open to the media for the first time this week.

Johnson didn’t practice at all last week before playing in the Lions’ game at Jacksonville, so it’s a good sign his sore left knee is feeling better.

Cornerback Chris Houston was also back at practice after missing Thursday with flu-like symptoms.

The team was still without safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion), defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (knee).

The injury report with game designations for Sunday’s game at Minnesota will be released at 4 p.m. on detroitlions.com


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Calvin Johnson and six others miss practice

Posted by ttwentyman on November 7, 2012 – 1:07 pm

The Lions were without a number of starters today at practice as they began on-field preparations for Sunday’s game at Minnesota.

Receiver Calvin Johnson missed the portion of practice open to the media, which is no real surprise considering he was limited last week in Jacksonville with a left knee injury. Johnson still had seven catches for 129 yards in the game, but wasn’t near 100 percent. He missed all three practices last week.

The Lions were also without receiver Titus Young. Young’s been battling a knee injury for most of the season, but hasn’t missed a game.

The Lions will release their first injury report of the week at 4 p.m. today.

Defensively, they were without five starters: Defensive ends Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch (rest day), defensive tackle Corey Williams and safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey.


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Injury report: Williams limited in his return to practice

Posted by ttwentyman on October 18, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Defensive tackle Corey Williams returned to practice Thursday for the first time since undergoing knee surgery Sept. 25 and was listed as limited on Thursday’s injury report.

“I haven’t been out there for a while and my main thing right now is to get my wind back and get into the swing of things,” Williams said after practice.

He could not say whether he’d be ready to play Monday night in Chicago, though he was hopeful he might.

Cornerbacks Bill Bentley (shoulder) and Jacob Lacey (concussion) did not practice Thursday according to the report, neither did as safety Louis Delmas (knee) or defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (rest).

The Lions listed five other players besides Williams as limited, including: defensive ends Cliff Avril (back) and Ronnell Lewis (eye), tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee), linebacker Stephen Tulloch (knee) and receiver Titus Young (knee).


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Louis Delmas, Sammie Hill and Cliff Avril all questionable for Sunday

Posted by ttwentyman on October 12, 2012 – 4:00 pm

The Lions officially listed safety Louis Delmas as questionable for Sunday’s game in Philadelphia on Friday’s injury report. Delmas sat out of practice Friday after being a limited participant both Wednesday and Thursday, but head coach Jim Schwartz said that was by design.

“We had planned to ease him back at the end of the week,” he said. “He’s doing well. He’s not having any setbacks and I’d like to keep it that way.”

Delmas said he’s still not 100 percent, but is getting better every day.

“I can’t really determine whether I play or not, but, like I said, I take it day-by-day, believe in my trainers – they’re doing a great job of preparing me, mixing me in, so I can get back out there on the field,” he said Friday.

Defensive tackle Sammie Hill (toe) and defensive end Cliff Avril (back) are also questionable. Both players were limited all week in practice.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee), receiver Titus Young (knee), linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and safety Amari Spievey (groin) are listed as probable.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is also listed as probable after showing up on the injury report on Friday for the first time this week with a knee injury. He had a procedure done this offseason to help alleviate some soreness associated with tendinitis.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 18 Comments »

Titus Young back on the practice field

Posted by ttwentyman on October 11, 2012 – 11:53 am

The Lions have nearly all hands on deck heading into Sunday’s game in Philadelphia

Receiver Titus Young returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session with a sore knee. Young has been bothered by the knee all season but has not missed any games due to the injury. He has nine receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown on the year.

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (knee) was also back after sitting out Wednesday for a day of rest.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew practiced for a second consecutive day after missing Tuesday’s practice with a sore knee. He was limited Wednesday.

The only player on the 53-man roster to not participate in the portion of practice open to the media Thursday was defensive tackle Corey Williams, who had knee surgery a couple weeks ago.


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Pettigrew and Delmas limited at Lions practice

Posted by ttwentyman on October 10, 2012 – 4:00 pm

The first injury report of the week is out and five players showed up as limited on the report.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew returned to the practice field today after missing Tuesday’s bonus practice for what head coach Jim Schwartz described as “an extra day of rest.” Pettigrew was listed as limited on Wednesday with a knee injury.

Also limited for the Lions was defensive end Cliff Avril (back), safety Louis Delmas (knee), defensive tackle Sammie Hill (toe) and safety Amari Spievey (groin).

We’ll have to wait until Friday at 4 p.m. to learn the game designations for each of those players.

The Lions were without defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee), defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (rest day) and receiver Titus Young (knee) for Wednesday’s practice.

Linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) was listed on the injury report as a full participant.


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