Lions place Matthew Stafford on injured reserve


Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

Allen Park— There was hope in his heart right up until the moment he was told that his season was over. But in his head, and certainly in his ailing right shoulder, he knew it was over a couple of weeks ago.

The Lions, needing a roster spot because of the uncertain health status of safety Louis Delmas, placed quarterback Matthew Stafford on injured reserve Friday.

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“I would have loved for it to have felt better and have a chance to come back and play, but with the roster situation, I completely understand,” said Stafford, who has twice separated his right shoulder this season, the second time Nov. 7 against the Jets. “I am disappointed it had to end like this but it’s part of the business.”

Delmas, still feeling post-concussion symptoms from last Sunday, hasn’t practiced all week and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. Safety Randy Phillips was signed off the practice squad and will be in uniform.

“We were hoping Matt would’ve been able to come back; his rehab was going good,” coach Jim Schwartz said. “But when he threw a couple of weeks ago, he wasn’t at the point where he could keep throwing. We were waiting for that time to come, and when it passed this week it was obvious he wasn’t going to play this week and his chances for next week were slim.”

Stafford said doctors have assured him the rehab process is going well and surgery will not be required. He said he expects to be at full health when the Lions begin off-season training in March.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I threw (two weeks ago) and it just didn’t react great,” he said. “It was a little bit sorer than I had hoped. I talked to the doctors and I don’t need surgery; it just takes time. You do it twice (the injury) in a season and it’s going to take time.”

Stafford, 22, now has finished his first two professional seasons on IR. His rookie season was ended after 10 games because of left shoulder and knee injuries. He played in three games this season, finishing only one, separating his right shoulder in the opener in Chicago and then again against the Jets.

He has started 13 games and finished only eight in two seasons. Still, he won the only game he finished this year (vs. Washington) and the Lions were leading in the other two when he got hurt. He completed 59.4 percent of passes this season, with six touchdowns and an interception.

“The administrative detail of putting him on IR has nothing to do with his long-term prospects,” Schwartz said. “We wanted him to come back and play if he passed all the various criteria that we set up, but it never got to that point.

“It does nothing to take away what his long-term prospects are as far as leading this team next year and into the future. We don’t expect any kind of carry-over. This is a setback for this year. It doesn’t change anything for 2011 and beyond.”

Stafford said he didn’t consider this a lost season.

“I think I learned a lot this year, even though it was different than the way I wanted to learn it,” he said. “Mentally, I was in every meeting. I’ve been at every practice and every game. I took a lot away from this year in terms of learning what it takes to win. It was just not on the field, but off the field.”

The hardest part, Stafford said, was not being able to play on Sundays.

“I am not disappointed in the fact that I didn’t get to go out and throw a bunch of touchdowns and no picks,” he said. “I’m disappointed I didn’t get to be out there on Sunday with the guys. That’s the best part of being in this profession. You work all week and you practice, but playing in front of the fans and being out there with the guys, that’s what I miss most.”

The Lions spent this week readying two quarterbacks to start against the Dolphins, but it looks like Shaun Hill will get the nod.

Hill, four weeks after breaking a knuckle on his right index finger, took first-team reps during the early portion of practice both Wednesday and Friday.

Drew Stanton, who has a separated left shoulder, took first-team reps Thursday.

The Lions have divided the reps between them this week, obviously, because with the injuries, both are one hit away from being knocked out of the game.

Lions’ Suh shows off dance moves during Children’s Hospital visit


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Detroit — Tuesday was supposed be a routine day for 13-year-old Lamon Richardson at Detroit Children’s Hospital. Lamon expected to just get his annual checkup and be on his way.

But Lamon and his younger brother Laron, 11, ended up grooving to a Michael Jackson tune with one of the most intimidating defensive linemen in the NFL.

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“I think he’s pretty good,” Lamon said, eying the competition. “But he can’t beat me.”

The children were two of more than a dozen patients Lions rookie tackle Ndamukong Suh gave a surprise visit to and entertained with a dance-off to “Bad,” one of the King of Pop’s hit songs.

Suh, all 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds of him, had no problem literally jumping right into the new Michael Jackson “The Experience” video game for the Nintendo Wii.

When it comes to kids and a good cause, Suh claims he hast no problem getting out of his comfort zone.

“Giving back and having an opportunity to join in somebody else’s life that might be going through something tough,” Suh said of the visit’s purpose. “It brings joy to me because I know I would have definitely enjoyed it if somebody would have came and saw me when I was in the hospital.”

As for the actual dance-off, Suh admitted he had stiff competition. A productive NFL rookie season of 55 tackles, 8 sacks, and in 14 games didn’t appear to matter to a crowd that watched him groove.

“The video game allows players to dance to a variety of songs from Jackson’s catalogue including as “Beat It” and “Thriller,” and gives tips on how to master his dance routines.

A spontaneous visit from an NFL star definitely brightened 7-year-old Brook Madera’s day. She went to the hospital to see a gastrointestinal specialist and left enamored with the Suh’s presence.

“It was fun because I’ve never gotten to meet a football player before,” said Brook said. “He’s big. I’m a big fan now.”

Suh was at the hospital to support the “Experience the Glove” campaign that helps children around the world. He autographed a replica of Jackson’s famous glove that will be auctioned off on CharityBuzz.com. Proceeds will benefit the hospital.

Suh said he’s a big fan of Jackson’s music — “Bad” is his favorite — and suggested he could unveil a few MJ moves on the field, too, if he gets a chance.

“I have to take care of business first,” he said of his play. “After I take care of business I can possibly pull out an MJ move.”

Suh got some practice in two weeks ago during a segment of ESPN’s SportsCenter. He wore a Jackson replica glove and performed the moonwalk after a bit of nudging from the show’s anchors.

“You kind of just have to have the moves,” he said, laughing, about his video game skills.

During the visit, Suh revealed one Christmas wish: “I’d definitely like to win out these last couple games. Santa can always bring some wishes to us.”

Preview: Lions (3-10) at Buccaneers (8-5)


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Lions (3-10) at Buccaneers (8-5)

1 p.m. SundayTV: FoxRadio: WXYT

Lions player to watch Ndamukong Suh

The rookie defensive tackle has become one of the most feared defensive linemen in the league.

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Suh leads the Lions, rookies and defensive tackles with eight sacks. His 52 tackles are fourth-best among defensive tackles.

Suh’s a player teams are having to scheme against and that extra attention is allowing teammates to make plays.

Through Week 14, the Lions are tied for eighth in the NFL with 25 takeaways and also are among the top 10 in sacks and QB pressures.

The Bucs are battling through injuries on their offense line, and if Suh can disrupt their backfield, the Lions have a chance to break their 26-game road losing streak.

Buccaneers player to watch Josh Freeman

Since he made his first NFL start in Week 9 as a rookie last season, Freeman has been one of the hottest young quarterbacks.

He’s led the youngest team in the league (average age of 25 years, 190 days) to an 8-5 record and into playoff contention.

Freeman is completing nearly 60 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions.

And he’s been good in the clutch: Seven of Freeman’s 11 career victories have been fourth-quarter or overtime comeback wins, including five this season.

“There’s a reason he got drafted in the first round,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.

He has a quarterback rating of 94.3 in the fourth quarter this season, second only to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (109.4) among NFC quarterbacks.

“There’s a reason he got drafted in the first round,” said Lions coach Jim Schwartz of Freeman. “There’s a reason he’s playing well right now. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a good arm, can make all the throws, has good leadership qualities.”

Lions’ biggest advantage Running football

The Lions are coming off their best rushing performance of the season with 190 yards (4.6 average) in their 7-3 victory over the Packers last week.

“We got contributions from a lot of different people,” Schwartz said.

The Lions hope to continue that production against the Bucs, who ranks 27th against the run, allowing 133 yards per game.

The Bucs have allowed 97 rushing first downs. The league average is 78.

The Lions had seven different players carry the ball at least once against the Packers and four players finished with more than 30 yards rushing.

With their starting quarterback situation still up in the air, the Lions offense could use another successful rushing attack.

Lions’ biggest problem Second-half offense

The Bucs defense has given up the fourth-fewest second-half points this season and has five second-half shutouts.

The Bucs are tied for the third-most interceptions (18) in the league and rank seventh in opponent passer rating (77.5).

Meanwhile, the Lions offense has sputtered as of late in the second half. In their last four games, the Lions have scored 26 in the second half.

The Lions’ inability to put touchdowns on the board late in games has cost them a number of times this season.

ttwentyman@detnews.com

Bob Wojnowski: Lions were big winners in Ford Field game


Bob Wojnowski

Detroit— This was strange, in every way. There was Brett Favre, standing on the home sideline at Ford Field, purple all around, the Vikings horn blaring.

And here was the really strange part: Favre wasn’t in uniform.

What began as a nice gesture by the Lions, to let the Vikings move in because their stadium had a hole in the roof, became shaded by a significant twist of drama. Detroit has been home to some bizarre football history, and now it can add this: It’s where Favre’s NFL-record playing streak ended.

It also could be where Favre’s starry (and lately, tedious) story finally ends, because with an injured right shoulder, who knows if he’ll play again. The Giants beat the Vikings 21-3 before 45,910 enthusiastic fans at Ford Field, which pulled off a flawless hosting effort.

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Darn that Favre, huh? He has spent most of his 20-year career beating the Lions, and the one time — one time— he doesn’t play in their stadium, the Lions aren’t the opponent. (Add creepy curse music).

Afterward, Favre sounded like a guy who finally might have seen the end of his career. He wasn’t willing to say it was over, with three games left in a miserable 5-8 season, but clearly, it’s a distinct possibility now that the streak is over.

“I won’t say it was time, but it probably was long overdue — there’s probably a lot of times the streak should’ve ended,” Favre said. “It’s been a great run. I will not hang my head one bit.”

If it ended here, well, quite a few Detroiters will say they were there. Give Detroit football fans and the Lions organization, led by president Tom Lewand, tremendous credit for putting on a great show on short notice. Fans lined up early in the morning for free tickets, and within 60 minutes, nearly 30,000 were gone. The crowd was festive and energetic, and actually seemed inclined to provide a true home-field advantage for the Vikings.

I could argue the Lions have served as accommodating hosts to division rivals for a long time, but that’s just mean. And already outdated. The Lions snapped their 19-game losing streak against NFC North foes the previous day with a 7-3 win over Green Bay, and the party kept right on going.

Favre’s mistake

It was a weird, cool and contemplative scene, the first Monday night game at Ford Field. Some will muster sympathy for Favre, the 41-year-old legend who returned one time too many. His streak of 297 consecutive starts is beyond amazing, launched in 1992.

But frankly, what a horrible mistake this comeback was, and Favre insists his retirement will stick after this season. Too bad it didn’t stick the last time. He helped push out coach Brad Childress and threw a league-high 18 interceptions while battling foot and elbow injuries. Oh, Favre also was involved in a bawdy little controversy for allegedly texting suggestive messages to a female who didn’t happen to be his wife.

It’s probably blessed intervention he sat out Monday night, because the Giants’ defense steamrolled Tarvaris Jackson. Favre said he had no regrets about returning this season, and really no regrets about how the streak ended. He had numbness and tingling in his right hand and simply couldn’t play.

“I think it’d be foolish to even consider playing if you don’t have feeling in five fingers,” Favre said. “I’ll see how I feel this week and go from there.”

Students of coincidental facts will note Lou Gehrig’s then-record streak of 2,130 consecutive major-league games ended in Detroit in 1939. This didn’t have the same somber nobility, although it had a similar cause: The body broke down.

Favre had hoped the extra day of rest, as the Vikings and Giants dodged snowstorms, might allow him to play. But he reportedly sported a golf-ball-sized knot on his right shoulder, the result of a hit the previous week against Buffalo, and it caused the numbness.

The decision to sit ultimately was an easy one for Favre and Vikings coach Leslie Frazier, who called it a “no-brainer.” It sure didn’t seem to faze the crowd, which added to the atmosphere. The Vikings’ fight song blared, “Vikings” was stenciled in purple in both end zones and the braided, horned Vikings guy was painted at midfield.

Lions good hosts

The Giants dominated, but it didn’t really matter. The crowd unleashed a few “Let’s go Lions!” cheers and helped make this a perfectly solid success. There were worries early in the day, when thousands of fans lined up outside Ford Field. People began to wonder if the free-ticket, general-admission gesture was such a good idea.

But the Lions handled it fine, not a surprise considering the raves for the 2006 Super Bowl here. Lewand said owner William Clay Ford insisted on accessibility for fans, hence the freebies. The Lions had to cut off the giveaway at 30,000 in case a lot of ticket stubs were used from the Lions-Packers game, as was permitted. That precautionary move probably was the only reason Ford Field wasn’t full.

As the game began, Lewand was beaming, and the NFL was lauding the Lions’ effort.

“It’s a great testament to our fans and a great testament to the NFL,” Lewand said. “I’ve talked to both teams and they’re very happy.”

When the gates opened about two hours before the 7:20 p.m. kickoff, fans hustled in and raced to the best seats. Their faces were red from the cold, their anticipation was obvious.

“I can’t run — my feet are frozen!” one guy yelled and laughed at the same time.

It was that kind of night, when emotions got jumbled and team colors got blurred. Detroit fans came for a show and put on a show, as one of the NFL’s longest-running shows ended. One more time, Favre was the spotlight story, written on a rollicking night when things seemed out of place, starting with the old quarterback on the sideline.

Receiver Calvin Johnson committed to Lions


Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

Allen Park— Of course Calvin Johnson is frustrated.

He’s in his fourth season with the Lions, having a Pro Bowl-level year, and yet his team has won four games the last three seasons.

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How could Johnson notbe frustrated?But, as he said Friday, he’s not making any threats or ultimatums, and he’s certainly not throwing in the towel. He just wants to win.

“All I meant was, everybody’s frustrated,” Johnson said, explaining comments he made on a local radio show Thursday. “We’ve been losing. … I’ve been here four years and haven’t had a winning season. For the most part, it’s just a lot of frustration. Everybody in here wants to win.

“We’re working toward it. There’s been a lot of progress and we’re getting closer.”

Johnson can be a free agent in two years, and he was asked during the interview if he’d consider leaving if things didn’t improve.

“Put it this way, if we turn this into a winner, I’m happy,” Johnson said. “Losing definitely (is a bummer) and you definitely don’t want to be around losing.”

When told Friday it sounded like he was issuing a challenge to the Lions, Johnson said, “I don’t know what it sounded like. The bottom line is winning.”

Coach Jim Schwartz and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan were far from taken aback by Johnson’s comments. They supported them.

“What I get from it is he’s a winner and he’s frustrated with not winning,” Linehan said. “There’s not anybody around here that doesn’t agree with him. It’s lousy and we want to be able to step up and turn this thing around.”

Said Schwartz: “We need to worry about Sunday and the last four games of this season. We don’t need to be worrying about what’s going to happen two years from now. You know, we worry about a lot of things with this team; Calvin Johnson isn’t one of them. He’s having an outstanding year, he’s a productive player and he’s a huge part of what we’re doing, not only in the game plan but also in terms of what we want to do as an organization.

“The only quote I saw was, ‘I want to win.’ And that’s everybody here.”

Johnson isn’t griping about not getting the ball.

He understands the team is on its third quarterback.

He understands he draws double coverage every week.

And, he’s still producing.

He has 62 catches (12th in the league) for 873 yards (ninth) and 12 touchdowns (second).

“The thing I’m most frustrated with Calvin is, I don’t know why he’s not leading for the Pro Bowl,” Linehan said. “What he’s been able to do with us having to adjust to playing our second quarterback and then our third quarterback, and to still be near the top in just about every statistical category is amazing to me.”

Linehan was asked if Johnson has ever complained to him about his role.

“No, never,” Linehan said. “He never complains. All Calvin does is work hard and give 100 percent every day. Calvin is a model for what you’re trying to get from a teammate and a player you want to coach.”

On two different occasions, Johnson said he had no issues with the progress the team was making or the direction it was headed in.

“There’s been a lot of progress,” he said. “There is a whole new squad in here. We’ve been close in so many games. I don’t see guys giving up. Everybody’s still fighting. That’s a positive. There are a lot of good things going on here we just haven’t turned into wins yet.”

Linehan probably summed the whole thing up best.

“You can get into discussions about what you are frustrated about, but the bottom line is, start winning some games and we won’t be talking about some of the things we’re talking about now,” he said.

Extra points

The Lions placed receiver Derrick Williams on season-ending injured reserve Friday.

Williams (high right ankle sprain) recently moved past Bryant Johnson as the team’s No. 3 receiver.

The Lions signed veteran receiver Brian Clark to replace Williams on the roster.

… Starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus (knee) missed his second straight practice Friday and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Packers.

Corey Hilliard will replace Cherilus.

Packers at Lions

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: Fox/WXYT

Records: Packers 8-4, Lions 2-10

Series: Packers lead 89-64-7 (Packers 28-26 on Oct. 3)

Line: Packers by 61/2

chris.mccosky@detnews.com

(313) 222-1489

Redskins suspend Albert Haynesworth for remainder of season


Associated Press

Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth was suspended without pay by the Washington Redskins on Tuesday for the last four games of the regular season, capping a saga that began last offseason.

The move, which the Redskins announced was made because of “conduct detrimental to the club,” comes after a long, difficult back-and-forth between Haynesworth, a two-time All-Pro with a $100 million contract, and first-year Washington head coach Mike Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

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Haynesworth skipped offseason workouts, boycotted a mandatory minicamp, needed 10 days to pass a conditioning test at training camp, did all he could to resist a change in the defensive scheme and then eventually became a part-time player.

His main gripe has been that he shouldn’t be playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense.

The Redskins said general manager Bruce Allen told Haynesworth about the suspension Tuesday. Haynesworth was inactive for Washington’s 31-7 loss at the New York Giants on Sunday, which dropped the Redskins to 5-7.

In the team’s statement Tuesday, Shanahan is quoted as saying that Haynesworth “repeatedly refused to cooperate with our coaching staff in a variety of ways over an extended period of time.”

Shanahan also said Haynesworth “consistently indicated” to defensive coaches that he wouldn’t play in certain defensive packages and refused to follow coaches’ instructions in practice and during games.

Drew Stanton provides Lions with options


Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Allen Park— Instead of lamenting on the parts of the passing game that might not be as good with Drew Stanton under center, the Lions are choosing to focus on the parts that might be betterwith Stanton.

Mainly, comfort.

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“Just his knowledge of what we’re going to do when he’s in there,” said offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who is in his second season with Stanton in the mix. “He knows I have a tendency to lean toward things I like and that he likes, so I’ll call the game and game plan for him.

“It puts him in a different comfort zone than you would have if you’re coming in for someone else. I think now in his second year in the system, I think he feels much more confident in knowing what he’s going to be called upon to execute, and I think that’s really going to help him.”

That execution is vital considering Stanton is facing one of the best defenses in the league Sunday in the Bears.

Chicago is No. 2 in points allowed (15.6), fourth in yards allowed (300.2) and second against the run (80.5).

“You have to try and make the most of the opportunities when they are presented,” Stanton said. “Unfortunately, Shaun (Hill) and Matt (Stafford) are unable to play. Now it’s my turn. Who knows how long this will be. I just have to make the most of it.”

Stanton, however, presents a different-type quarterback than Hill and Stafford.

The most mobile of all the Lions quarterbacks, you can expect the Lions to use more bootlegs and plays against the Bears that get Stanton out of the pocket and in more run-pass options.

Stanton is averaging 4.5 yards per rushing attempt during his two-plus years with the Lions.

“You treat him a little bit like No. 7 (Michael Vick) at Philly in terms of he can run,” Bears defensive coordinator and former Lions coach Rod Marinelli told the Chicago media Thursday. “Once he gets out of the pocket, his accuracy rate goes up.

“I have been very impressed because he is really developing as a pocket passer. You watch the New York Giants game, the second half, I mean he did a nice job, and we know what he can do with his legs. He can extend plays.”

Stanton finished that game 19 for 34 for 222 yards, one touchdown and one interception, filling in for the injured Hill.

The extension of plays Marinelli talked about, and Stanton’s ability to improvise and make a play out of nothing, is something the former Michigan State standout’s teammates see, too.

“You have to keep that clock going a little longer with Drew,” receiver Nate Burleson said. “Sometimes it’s not going to be your typical drop back, throw and catch. There might be times where he avoids the rush and changes the whole play.”

The biggest challenge for Stanton will be eliminating silly plays and turnovers.

In the only other start of his career — last season in San Francisco — Stanton threw three interceptions and was replaced in the second half by veteran Daunte Culpepper.

“I’ve seen all the different looks now, so the anticipation level is higher,” Stanton said of his development. “The answers come quicker now. I am reacting to coverage now as opposed to trying to diagnose what is going on and that is different.”

Stanton also should benefit from a week’s worth of first-team reps in practice.

“I see that look in his eye this week,” Linehan said. “He’s very determined.”

It’s not too early for Lions fans to think draft

Lions: Analysis

Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Allen Park– The Lions lost their ninth game in 11 tries over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. With hopes for a playoff spot dashed for an 11th-consecutive season, it’s not too early to start looking at how this team might improve itself in 2011.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew put together a couple of nice drafts the last two seasons, particularly with top picks Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, and will need to get more help this spring.

Positions in need of upgrades: the secondary, linebacking corps, and offensive line.

So who might the Lions target with another likely top five pick?

After watching Tom Brady slice up the Lions in a 45-24 Thanksgiving Day loss, the early favorite is Louisiana State cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson is a true lockdown corner, something the Lions haven’t had in years.

Peterson (6-1, 222) has drawn comparisons to former Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson. Only a junior, he is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top cornerback. He’s also a productive returner, averaging 27.5 yards per kick return and 19.7 per punt.

Peterson has elite size for the position and runs in the 4.3 to 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash.

Other possibilities

Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara could also be an option. Amukamara (6-1, 205) doesn’t have an interception in 2010, but that’s mainly because opposing quarterbacks rarely throw his way.

Amukamara was a late bloomer, making three starts his first two seasons at Nebraska, but has developed into one of the nation’s top defenders. He’s also a finalist for the Thorpe Award.

The year’s cornerback class is deep by draft analysts, and includes other top-flight corners in Brandon Harris (Miami), Janoris Jenkins (Florida), Ras-I Dowling (Virginia) and Aaron Williams (Texas).

On draft day, don’t be surprised, if the Lions bypass all the cornerbacks and decide early to get help at linebacker, especially on the outside.

Veteran outside linebacker Julian Peterson and his $8 million salary are likely gone after the season.

Zack Follett, who started the season at outside linebacker, was lost for the season due to a neck injury and has an uncertain future.

The unit needs a young playmaker alongside middle linebacker DeAndre Levy.

The two best linebacker prospects, according to Kiper, are Akeem Ayers (UCLA) and Von Miller (Texas AM).

Both Ayers (6-4, 255) and Miller (6-3, 243) have terrific size and speed, but are viewed more as 3-4 rush linebackers at the next level. The Lions run a 4-3 base defense.

Later round talents

Other options at linebacker, later in the first round or possibly early in the second round, are Travis Lewis (6-2, 232) of Oklahoma and North Carolina’s Bruce Carter (6-3, 225).

Lewis and Carter are a bit small for Lions coach Jim Schwartz’s scheme, though.

Detroit Lions what they did

In 2010 Veteran cornerback Dre’ Bly returns to the team that feels like home, the Detroit Lions. Bly signed a two contract with the Deroit Lions. The Lions look like they are piecing together a strong defensive front with the signing of Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams and the drafting of Ndamukong Suh.

The 2008 Detroit Lions accomplished something no other team in NFL History had before.  They became the first team to ever record an  0-16 season thus securing their rights for the #1 pick in the draft. On September 24, 2008, the Lions fired GM Matt Millian, who was hired on in 2001 and the President and CEO.  Three months and 5 days later, with the team tanking, the franchise fired head coach Rod Marinelli who had compiled a 10-38 record in 3 seasons with the Lions.

On the 15th of January 2009, the Lions hired Tennessee Titans Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz as the new head coach.  The franchise also hired former St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan as their Offensive Coordinator.  Together he and Schwartz have the major task of turning around a losing (in every sense of the word) franchise and getting back to the post Matt Millen days when the team finished the 2000-01 season at 9-7, missing the playoffs by just a field goal.

With the first pick in the draft, the Lions selected University of Georgia QB Matthew Stafford and signed him to a reported 6-year $78million contract with $41.7 million of it guaranteed, which is the most guaranteed any player in NFL history.  The Lions also selected Safety Louis Delmas and TE Brandon Pettigrew and Coach Schwartz is happy with the work ethic and knowledge of his newest players. “This was the first time we saw them all together. It was a preview of what we’ll see in training camp,” said Schwartz. “It’s putting little pieces together and this is the first time we saw the whole puzzle coming together,” the head coach recently posted online. 

Whatever the outcome, with two young coaches leading the team and a QB of the future in their pocket,  it will be almost impossible to overachieve  when just winning one game will post a better record than the 2008 incarnation of the team so be sure to get your tickets and cheer on the Lions to a successful season.