Detroit practiced indoors at Sandoval Field at the team's Allen Park headquarters on Friday. Below is a recap of notes and quotes ...
Quarterbacks Shaun Hill (right finger) and Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (neck) didn't participate. Running back Jahvid Best (toe), tight end Tony Scheffler (rib), receiver Nate Burleson (hamstring), tackle Gosder Cherilus (knee) and starting middle linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin) were "limited."
Stafford and Hill are both out for Sunday's home tilt with Chicago. It's unlikely that Vanden Bosch will play. Other than Cherilus (questionable), every other player listed on the injury report is probably, however.
The only player listed on Chicago's injury report is linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee), who will not play.
FOX will broadcast Sunday's game with Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan.
Linehan Looks Forward To Stanton Debut
Color Scott Linehan as one of Drew Stanton's supporters.
Detroit's offensive coordinator has worked with Stanton the past two years, and he's happy to see him finally get a chance. Stanton only has one previous start in his four-year career.
"It's just fun to see a guy get a shot like this and Drew deserves it," said Linehan on Friday. "He's worked his butt off since I've been here and since he's been here. It hasn't always been exactly what he wants or what he expects. And he gets another chance, and you can tell that he's going to take full advantage of it."
The two are both share similar likes of the team's playbook, too, something Linehan said makes game-planning much easier. It's a far cry from Stanton's volatile experience with former offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who looked to reset all of Stanton's mechanics. Martz will be coaching on the opposite sideline on Sunday.
Another benefit to Stanton's athleticism that Detroit won't curb is his running ability. The former second-round pick left Michigan State with a penchant for scrambling effectively, a trait that might pay dividends against an overzealous Chicago defense.
"We don't discourage his ability to make a play with his legs because that's a big part of what made him the athlete that he is and the quarterback that he is," said Linehan. "Those plays will happen for him because that's part of his game, part of his style. I think his mobility is definitely a strength of his though."
Bears' Offense Experience Resurgence
One of the reasons behind Chicago's offensive resurgence is the protection of quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler has tossed nine touchdowns through Chicago's four game win streak, a far cry from the anemic production that had many calling his relationship with Martz a mismatch. Martz's system, predicated on timing, requires the quarterback have time to find his target -- time Cutler was getting.
Schwartz noted heavy offensive line changes is a catalyst behind the improved play.
"(Their) right tackle moved to left tackle, left tackle moved to left guard, left guard moved right guard, second-string right tackle moved up and (the) center stayed the same," Schwartz said. "A lot of the issues were pass protection, sacks in particular, and turnovers. I think they've done a good job of settling that down. That's helped them."
Chicago has also balanced the offense, Schwartz noted. One of Martz's biggest criticisms has been his avoidance of a run game. Schwartz said the Bears appear to be "more of a 50/50 type team."
Robinson Becomes Lions' New Backup
Of course, with Drew Stanton the starter and Shaun Hill out, recently signed first-year quarterback Zac Robinson is now the back-up.
And should Stanton go down, as Lions quarterbacks are wont to do this season, Robinson would be tossed into the fire.
As dreadful (and realistic) the notion might sound, Schwartz was relatively confident in Robinson's abilities. "He's a smart guy. He's a rookie, but he'd also been in two systems," Schwartz said. "He had been drafted by the New England Patriots and been in that system, and then been with the Seattle Seahawks, so he'd been in two different systems. Once you start picking up one system, it's a lot easier to pick up the second and a lot easier to pick up the third.
"There's a little bit of carryover, not so much in terminology, but in concepts that people use. So he's a smart guy. He had a lot of experience in college. He's been up to speed pretty quickly."