Detroit Lions Notebook: Injuries and more

No one is blaming the stepped up practice field intensity for the problem, but if the Lions don't start getting their injured players back soon it could have an impact on the way they open the NFL regular season. Injury update, rookie report and much more inside.

ALLEN PARK -- No one is blaming the stepped up practice field intensity for the problem, but if the Lions don't start getting their injured players back soon it could have an impact on the way they open the NFL regular season.

There is no doubt the Lions players with five years or less experience with the team are going through their toughest training camp ever.

Neither of the previous two West Coast offense coaches — Marty Mornhinweg (2001-02) and Steve Mariucci (2003-05) — drove the players as hard as new coach Rod Marinelli and his coordinators — Mike Martz with the offense and Donnie Henderson with the defense — are driving them.

And because they were thoroughly prepared with a rigorous off-season program, they presumably were ready to handle the pace and intensity of the two-a-days.

Injuries have taken a toll on the team, however, and it is starting to show up on both sides of the ball with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and middle linebacker Boss Bailey missing both of the first two games, Rogers with a shoulder injury and Bailey with an ankle.

The offensive line has been without former Pro Bowler Damien Woody, the right guard, and veteran right tackle Rex Tucker, a factor which is believed to have contributed to the team's inability to run the ball consistently. Woody is recovering from wrist surgery and Tucker from knee and ankle injuries.

Although none of the injuries has been deemed serious, they have cost key players more practice time than Marinelli would like. He has shown patience in bringing them back slowly but if they aren't back soon, it could mean a slow start in September.

PLAYER NOTES

  • TE Casey FitzSimmons suffered a broken wrist in the season opener. The good news is that the Lions medical staff determined he will not need surgery; the bad news is that he won't be back for 4-8 weeks.

  • RB Kevin Jones has carried 13 times for 32 yards in the Lions' first two pre-season games but had only seven on six attempts in the 20-16 loss to Cleveland, running against the Browns' 3-4 defense.

  • RB Artose Pinner, who is battling rookie Brian Calhoun for a backup RB job, made a case for himself with 40 yards on six carries against the Cleveland Browns. He had a long-gain of 15 yards.

  • MLB LaVar Woods has started both of the Lions pre-season games at MLB in place of Boss Bailey, who is still recovering from off-season ankle surgery. Woods had four tackles in the first game, three tackles and a fumble recovery in the second.

  • QB Josh McCown, who is competing for the backup QB job, is showing a scrambling ability that neither Jon Kitna nor Dan Orlovsky can match. McCown ran four times for 30 yards in the first pre-season game and went 37 yards in five runs in the second game.

  • CB Dre' Bly, one of the Lions' few big-play playmakers, made his first interception of the season in the 20-16 loss at Cleveland on Friday night. He got the pick against Browns starter Charlie Frye.

    BATTLE OF THE WEEK: RB Artose Pinner vs. RBs Arlen Harris, Shawn Bryson and Brian Calhoun. It appears that Kevin Jones has the starting job locked up but the competition is intense for the backup jobs. Harris has the most experience in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's system, Bryson is a valued performer who can backup the FB position also and Calhoun has the speed and quickness that appeals to Martz. Pinner is the longshot to win a job but a strong performance (40 yards in six rushes) might have got him back in the race.

    OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Rookie LB Ernie Sims and S Daniel Bullocks are making their presence known, although neither has pushed into a starting job yet. Sims had six tackles, including an eight-yard quarterback sack, against the Browns Friday night but is still listed No. 2 behind Alex Lewis at the WLB. Bullocks got some work with the first defense last week but did not start at Cleveland. He got extensive playing time, however, and had five tackles as well as three special teams tackles ... Shaun Rogers and Shaun Cody will be the starting DTs but three players behind them — Marcus Bell, Tyoka Jackson and Damien Gregory — are competing hard for playing time in the defensive line rotation.

    PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CB Dre' Bly continues to demonstrate his value as one of the Lions' few big-play playmakers. He got his first pre-season interception Friday night against Cleveland starter Charlie Frye. In three seasons with the Lions, Bly has 16 interceptions, six in 2003 and 2005, and four in 2004.

    ROOKIE REPORT: LB Ernie Sims is making the adjustment to playing in an NFL defense. He had six tackles and a QB sack in the Lions' second pre-season game.

  • S Daniel Bullocks has practiced at both SS and FS, is getting work with the first offense and making plays on special teams coverage units.

  • RB Brian Calhoun gained just one net yard on two carries in the Lions' second pre-season game. Calhoun has yet to show he can make use of his speed and quickness in game situations.

  • OT Jonathan Scott is playing behind starting LT Jeff Backus and got considering time in the pre-season game at Cleveland.

  • CB Dee McCann has shown flashes of ability at CB and also on special teams.

  • OL Fred Matua, a guard at USC, got playing time at RG in the Lions' second pre-season game. His lack of size might be working against him.

  • LB Anthony Cannon is getting increased practice and playing time because of injuries that have limited Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman. He had five tackles and a special teams tackle in the second pre-season game.

  • WR Shaun Bodiford, an undrafted receiver, is still in the race for a backup WR position although he has just one catch for six yards in two pre-season games.

  • INJURY REPORT: Three players remain on PUP — LB Teddy Lehman (foot), TE Dan Campbell (elbow) and WR Scottie Vines (groin). DT Shaun Cody (knee), Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers (shoulder and tonsils), RT Rex Tucker (knee) and RG Damien Woody (wrist surgery) have missed both pre-season games but should be back in practice and games soon. MLB Boss Bailey has practiced but the Lions are limiting him in the hope that he'll be 100 percent recovered from an ankle injury by the start of the season. TE Casey FitzSimmons has a broken wrist. He won't require surgery but is expected to miss a minimum of 3-4 weeks.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "All three of these guys can start this year." — Offensive coordinator Mike Martz, talking about the Lions three quarterbacks — Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky and Josh McCown.


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