Lions trail big at half

Posted by ttwentyman on December 4, 2011 – 11:08 pm

One of the big story lines coming into Sunday’s game against the Saints was how the Lions’ injury-plagued secondary would hold up against the Saints No. 1 passing offense.

If the first half is any indication, the Lions are in for a long night.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has carved up the Lions secondary with surgical precision and the Lions find themselves down by a big margin, 24-7, at the half.

Brees has completed 16-of-21 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the half.

For a second-straight game, the Lions can’t seem to get out of their own way.

They’ve been penalized five times in the first half and most of those took away big plays for the offense.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is 12-of-16 for 159 yards.

The Lions had a 42-yard field goal blocked to end the half when it appeared a Saints player was clearly offsides. No flag was thrown on the play.

The Lions get the ball coming out of the half and will have to get it going.

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Louis Delmas and Chris Houston inactive; Smith will start at RB

Posted by ttwentyman on December 4, 2011 – 7:50 pm

There aren’t a lot of surprises on the Lions’ inactive list for tonight’s game in New Orleans.

Safety Louis Delmas and corner Chris Houston will not play against the Saints after both suffered knee injures against the Packers on Thanksgiving. Neither practiced all week.

Aaron Berry will start at corner and Chris Harris will start at safety.

Running back Kevin Smith is active and will start for the Lions. Smith suffered an ankle injury against the Packers and didn’t return to practice until Thursday.

Sammie Hill will start at defensive tackle in place of Ndamukong Suh, who’s suspended by the NFL.

Also inactive for the Lions is QB Drew Stanton, DE Lawrence Jackson, G Leonard Davis, RB Aaron Brown and CB Brandon McDonald.

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Delmas and Houston remain out for Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on December 2, 2011 – 1:12 pm

There was still no sign of safety Louis Delmas or corner Chris Houston at Lions practice Friday.

The two have been absent from practice all week after suffering knee injuries against the Packers on Thanksgiving.

At this point, their availability for Sunday’s game in New Orleans is in serious doubt. The official injury report with their status will be released at 4 p.m.

The Lions will have their work cut out for them trying to slow down the Saints’ top-ranked pass offense without two starters in the secondary. If Delmas and Houston can’t go, expect Aaron Berry to start at corner opposite Eric Wright and Chris Harris at safety opposite Amari Spievey.

Also missing practice was defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who hasn’t played since the Bears game Nov. 13 with a thigh injury. Jackson has also missed the entire week of practice.

Corner Brandon McDonald (thigh) was running off to the side of practice with trainers. McDonald was limited on Wednesday but did not practice Thursday.

Cornerback Alphonso Smith will likely start at the nickel if McDonald can’t go.

Running Back Kevin Smith participated in his second practice in as many days while nursing a sore ankle. His status for Sunday looks much better than it did earlier in the week.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 2 Comments »

Johnson: “In any NFL season there are going to be ups and downs and you just have to battle through it.”

Posted by Tara Altman on December 1, 2011 – 4:30 pm

“It’s the same story every time, if you don’t execute and you turn the ball over, you don’t win games. That was our case against the Packers, and that’s been our case the last several games. We’ve been turning it over. Assignments weren’t executed like they’re supposed to be and when that happens, you’re not on the field for long and you can’t put points up. It’s as simple as that.

“It was the turnovers that made this game. It gave them great field position, it flipped the field position in their favor, and they made some good plays too; but at the same time, we feel like when we execute and do everything that we’re supposed to do, we’ll prevail every time.

“Interceptions happen. One thing you can do is take the good out of it. In any NFL season there are going to be ups and downs and you just have to battle through it. If you’re resilient through those times, you usually come out for the better and you’re in a better situation later on. Hopefully that’s our situation; we learn from this and put those turnovers and things like that behind us.

“There haven’t been any changes for the worst between me and Matthew, you know, we’re working through the hard times as a team – it’s not just me and Matt out there, everybody’s got to get their chemistry right with him and go full speed with every play so they can see where we’re going to be at. If we’re not doing that, if the timing is off, you get a totally different look in the game. We’ve been practicing well this week, we’ve had two great practices so far and we have to finish it up tomorrow.

“One thing New Orleans does well is they rally to the ball. They bring a lot of pressure, you never know where it’s going to come from, you have to be ready for it, especially on third down because you know it’s coming. If we get that mindset, ‘Ok, we know it’s coming,’ and we expect pressure and react to zone, then we’ll be fine.

“We haven’t had a lot of opportunities at all playing on primetime, so this time we have to go out there – we did it one time, we did it right on Monday Night – but we have to put to bed what happened on Thanksgiving and get ourselves right, and come back out and put on a good show.

“I’ve already reached a landmark of 1,000 yards, but I definitely want to keep up my average and be able to help this team out through the rest of the season. I feel like if I can get over 100 yards a game, I’ll be able to help my team out a ton and we’re on the right track. If multiple receivers can get over 100 yards, that’s fantastic. That’s one thing that I feel, that if we do our thing as a receiving corps, we’ll win the game.

“Being third overall in Pro Bowl voting, that’s what’s up. That’s very cool. Considering where we’ve been, we’ve come a long way and that’s very cool.”

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Stafford loses the gloves

Posted by ttwentyman on November 29, 2011 – 8:28 pm

The most famous pair of gloves in Detroit are no more.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ditched the throwing gloves for Tuesday’s practice.

“He didn’t have glove on?” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said with a smile when asked about it after practice. “I didn’t notice.”

Stafford has been wearing the gloves since fracturing the index finger on his throwing hand Oct. 30 against the Broncos.

He’s worn the gloves to better grip the football while wearing a splint on the finger.

Stafford was throwing the ball with zing without the gloves during the portion of practice open to the media on Tuesday. He wasn’t wearing the splint, either.

Over the last three games, Stafford has thrown seven touchdowns and nine interceptions and the Lions are 1-2 over that span.

He had 19 touchdown and four interceptions before the gloves went on Nov. 13 against the Bears.

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Lions place punter Ryan Donahue on IR

Posted by ttwentyman on November 29, 2011 – 3:56 pm

The Lions made a couple of roster moves on Tuesday and still have room for one more.

The team placed punter Ryan Donahue (quad) on injured reserve, ending his season. Ben Graham will handle the punting for the rest of the season.

The Lions also promoted safety Ricardo Silva to the active roster. Silva adds depth to the safety position while starter Louis Delmas recovers from a knee injured suffered against the Packers.

Defensive back Brandon Stephens will fill Silva’s spot on the practice squad.

The Lions still have one exempt roster spot to fill because of the two-game suspension handed down by the NFL to defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

The Lions were without a number of key contributors Tuesday as they began on-field preparations for Sunday’s game against the Saints.

Delmas (knee), corner Chris Houston (knee), running back Kevin Smith (lower leg), corner Brandon McDonald (leg) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh) were all missing from practice.

The most concerning of those is obviously Delmas and Houston with the Saints being the No. 1 passing team in the NFL at 324 yards per game.

Delmas had his knee rolled up on early in the Lions’ 27-15 loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving. He limped off the field and did not return.

He tweeted later that night that it was an issue he’d be dealing with “for a few weeks”.

Houston left the game in the second quarter after taking a helmet to the knee from teammate Stephen Tulloch. He said after the game that the knee was stiff but he felt like he’d be able to play. We’ll see as the week progresses?

Smith left the game after he was tackled by DT Ryan Pickett and CB Charles Woodson on a three-yard run early in the second quarter. He also didn’t return.

McDonald left in the third quarter after hurting his leg trying to make a tackle along the sideline.

Jackson has missed the last two games with that thigh injury.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford practiced without a splint or gloves on Tuesday for the first time since fracturing the index finger on his throwing hand against the Broncos Oct. 30. Stafford lwas throwing the ball well.

Also, rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley was working with the first-team defensive line in the portion of practice open to the media. Fairley will likely start while Suh serves his two-game suspension.

Newly re-signed running back Aaron Brown was wearing jersey No. 35. He wore No. 21 in his first two seasons with the Lions but that number is now taken by corner Eric Wright.

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Lions’ Week 13 game at New Orleans flexed to Sunday Night Football

Posted by ttwentyman on November 21, 2011 – 12:19 pm

After another thrilling come-from-behind victory against the Panthers Sunday in which the Lions became the first team in NFL history to win three games in a single season after trailing by 17+ points, the Lions are becoming “must-see” television.

As such, the NFL has flexed the Lions vs. Saints game to their featured Sunday Night game at 8:30 p.m. on NBC. Dec. 4. The game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start in New Orleans.

It will be the first time the Lions are featured on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The team played their first Monday Night Football game since 2001 when they hosted, and beat, the Bears on Oct. 10 at Ford Field. The Lions play on national television (FOX) this Thanksgiving Day against the Packers.

It will be the first time the Lions will play back-to-back nationally televised games since 2000 when they beat the Patriots on Thanksgiving and then lost to the Vikings a week later on ESPN Thursday Night Football.

The Saints currently sit atop the NFC South with a 7-3 record. They hold a one-game lead over the Falcons (6-3), who beat the Lions back in October.

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 13 Comments »