Shaun Hill will start for the third consecutive week on Sunday, leading an increasingly short-handed, winless Detroit Lions ball club against division favorite Green Bay -- a game that also happens to be held in a location (Lambeau Field) where the Lions haven't won since George H. W. Bush was President.
Rock, meet Hard Place.
Hill earned most of the repetitions with the starting unit during practice this week, while injured starter Matthew Stafford continued to make light progress on his injured shoulder.
"Matt's making good progress and is doing a good job in his rehab but he won't be ready this week," Schwartz said earlier this week. The Lions coach, who is 2-17 and closing in on the worst coaching start in franchise history, refused to discuss Stafford's "daily rehab" program.
He did, however, explain Stafford's enlongated absence.
"He's a quarterback," said Schwartz. "That's got to be a step that he has to take before he's able to get back on the field. There are a lot of steps to that. There's range of motion; there's different objects; there's actual throwing; there's actually working with receivers.
"I don't want to go to where he is in all that stuff, but it's all just a logical progression for a quarterback. It's not just where he is with a pain level, or comfort level. It's his throwing motion and his ability to make throws and things like that. It's just a logical progression for him to start there."
The Lions will also be without running back Jahvid Best (turf toe), and potentially receiver Nate Burleson (ankle), both of whom missed practice on Thursday. Best recently earned the league's Offensive Rookie of the Month honors.
Detroit will welcome back running back Kevin Smith, who has been practicing fully with the team all week, pairing the third-year running back with veteran Maurice Morris. Shorthanded and perhaps outmatched, the Lions are looking to squeeze extra effort out of the roster on Sunday afternoon.
"The battle cry this week is ‘you have to do more this week' because we're down a few players going into the game," explained offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Said Linehan on Smith's return, "He looks a lot better, a lot quicker and faster. I'm sure he's going to be in the mix, and we're counting on that as a big possibility."