Message Received: Rogers Responds

ALLEN PARK - After being left off the roster during the team's trip to Minnesota last week, Lions' wide receiver Charles Rogers has apparently taken heed of the challenge issued by head coach Steve Mariucci: Step up, or step out. Quotes, notes, injury update and more inside.

ALLEN PARK - After being left off the roster during the team's trip to Minnesota last week, Lions' wide receiver Charles Rogers has apparently taken heed of the challenge issued by head coach Steve Mariucci: Step up, or step out.

Rogers has chosen the latter, turning in impressive practices and leaving Mariucci and the coaching staff pleased with the results.

"I thought he had a good practice," Mariucci said following Wedneday's session."

"So far he has had a heck of a week. He was here yesterday and the day before working and he's getting himself ready."

Continued Mariucci: "He was just sharp today. He had some explosion, he had some quickness in and out of breaks, he caught the football, he did the right thing every time, he was into the practice and I thought he gave us a good day of practice."

Rogers was suspended four games after violating the league's substance abuse policy earlier in the season, and despite being eligible to play against the Vikings, he was kept off the roster. The move drew swift criticism, but that was quickly rebuked by Mariucci and vice president Matt Millen, who both contended that Rogers' apathetic week of practice kept him from joining the lineup.

The message was apparently received.

"I have a better understanding of what they are looking for," admitted Rogers. "I got a great idea about it. It is about me putting it together; putting what I think and what they think into one thing and coming out here and doing it."

Even when he was available, however, Rogers was relatively ineffective, hauling in just five passes for 77 yards in four games. But according to quarterback Joey Harrington, Rogers has "looked like a different guy."

"He did a great job today," said Harrington. "Everybody needs a little pick me up every once and a while and I'm sure this weekend was kind of a jolt for him, but you know what, he responded today."

If Rogers does start Sunday's contest against the Arizona Cardinals, he will be a welcomed addition. The team is still battling injuries at the position, the latest might sideline upstart receiver Scottie Vines. Rookie Mike Williams also still remains in a boot for his injured foot.

"Scottie Vines (also) had an MRI on his knee so they didn't practice at all," Mariucci said, noting that Roy Williams may also join Rogers on the field.

Williams also looked good during practice, as his lingering quadriceps injury begins to quell.

"If Roy is feeling well enough to play the "Z" then the other consideration is to play Scottie Vines at the "X" and Charles would spot play him. If Scottie has to play the "Z" then depending on the health of Mike Williams, Charles would compete with him for the spot.

"Right now Charles is training for the "X" position and right now he has got off to a better start."

NOTES: Guard Damien Woody missed Wednesday's practice due to a sore knee. He will continue to be rested to rid of any swelling. His status for Sunday is day-to-day. Cornerback Andre Goodman (hamstring) will begin individual drills on Thursday. Jeff Backus (ankle) missed practice but will likely return on Thursday. DE Kalimba Edwards (concussion) missed practice and continues to refer to what head coach Steve Mariucci called "vertigo" -- occasional dizziness. "He's getting some tests and he'll be here later on. He's having a really good year; we're really happy with Kalimba Edwards," said Mariucci. Second-year linebacker Teddy Lehman continues to be hobbled from a leg injury and will likely miss Sunday's game. FB Paul Smith (ankle) will be listed as doubtful. Lions' cornerback Dre Bly (wrist) continues to work with the team, but in limited action. He will not play Sunday. RB Kevin Jones, QB Jeff Garcia, WR Troy Edwards, DT Shaun Rogers, and DE James Hall practiced sparingly.

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