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Nate Caminata - LionsFans.com
The Detroit Lions enter Sunday's matchup, and the NFL season, to showcase a new trick they've been working on for the past month. On paper, for the past several months.
They want to show their neighbors, their friends, family members, obviously the fans, but also the rest of the National Football League.
And while most of the above will be surprised with the onfield display of the West Coast offense, one team won't. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the same team Detroit is facing Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.
Welcome, the Green Bay Packers.
While the Packers' customary ability to spoil the Lions' fruits is pure coincidence with this, the fact is, Green Bay learned this trick several years ago. And because its defense gets to practice against a similar -- if not same -- formation almost daily, the green and gold also know what to expect. Luckily for Detroit, it is the unexpected.
"It takes a little out of the scouting," Packers' safety LeRoy Butler told the Chronicle. "We're familiar with their personnel." Butler did admit, however, that plays within the West Coast offense can't be accounted for ...nor prepared for.
"It's almost like a very arrogant offense," continued Butler. "They run one formation, but they can run four plays out of it. If you stop one play, they go to another play, which makes it more difficult to defend."
While the West Coast offense is full of surprises, the Lions may also enter the game with another surprise, but also a few worries.
Rookie defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who was projected as a first round pick but slid to the Lions in round two of April's draft, may start if veteran tackle Luther Elliss (elbow) is unable to go. One thing Rogers will see, however, is playing time.
Because Elliss' injury could put him out the entire game, or brief periods during the contest, Rogers will serve as his replacement. The Lions' expect Rogers to provide a strong push inside.
The Lions will enter the contest short two, and potentially three, starters in the secondary. Free safety Kurt Schulz and cornerback Bryant Westbrook are both out, but strong safety Ron Rice could also miss action, forcing the inexperienced Tommy Bennett into action. Rice will be a gametime decision.
Detroit's injury-riddled secondary will face a healthy Brett Favre, who happens to be loaded with several healthy weapons, including wide receivers Bill Shroeder and Antonio Freeman, and second-year tight end Bubba Franks.
"We expect the men who are going to start, or play at any time in the game, to play at the same high level," said Lions' head coach Marty Mornhinweg, who prepares for his first game as an NFL head coach. "And the players around them must step up to another level."
Kick-off for the game is slated for 1:05 p.m. EST. Local FOX stations will be broadcasting.