Lions Notebook: Players anxious for bye

Lions head coach Rod Marinelli might not be excited about the bye week but the Lions players are ready for the break. Offensively, the Lions have played virtually the entire season without two of their five starting offensive linemen. Marinelli is hopeful of getting them back after the bye. More news, notes and quotes inside.

Coach Rod Marinelli might not be excited about the bye week but the Lions players are ready for the break.

Asked after the 31-24 loss to the New York Jets if this is a good time to get a week to rest and regroup for the final nine games of the season, Marinelli said: "No, I'd be ready to play next week but that's the cards I'm dealt, so ..."

The Lions players, however, have a slightly different perspective with the 1-6 start weighing them down.

"Any time you get some time off in this league you take it," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "Especially with how beat up we've been all year and the injuries we've sustained, missing so many starters to injuries, if we can get a week off and maybe get a couple of guys back it can do nothing but help us."

Offensively, Kitna and his teammates have played virtually the entire season without two of their five starting offensive linemen -- left guard Ross Verba and right tackle Rex Tucker. Marinelli is hopeful of getting them back after the bye.

A third offensive starter -- right guard Damien Woody -- is out for the season with a foot injury.

Defensively, there is a chance of getting back three major players -- LB Alex Lewis, SS Kenoy Kennedy and LB Teddy Lehman -- and Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers will be back after missing the three-remaining games of his four-game suspension for testing positive to a banned substance.

"The bye week is always good if it's not too early," said defensive tackle Marcus Bell. "Me, personally, I think it's coming at a good time but we've still got to practice this week and get ourselves ready, focus, go in and watch the film, try to get our mistakes corrected."

At this point of the season, there is no shortage of mistakes to be corrected.

NOTEBOOK
The Lions will get a break in the routine and even a little time off during the bye week this week, but Marinelli also plans to get some work done.

"We'll maybe shorten it down a little bit," Marinelli said. "We've still got guys banged up and this gives us a chance to get healthy. I'm going to go back through a lot of our cut-ups, just kind of (look at) who's fitting and all the problems that we've got."

The Lions kept their regular Monday schedule after the 31-24 loss to the New York Jets, will get their usual day off Tuesday and then have somewhat shortened workouts Wednesday and Thursday without pads. They will get a long weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- before returning to practice next Monday to begin preparations for a home game with Atlanta.

"When we come back on Monday, we'll pad 'em up," Marinelli said.

PLAYER NOTES

  • FB Cory Schlesinger missed the Lions' 31-24 loss against the Jets with a hamstring injury but coach Rod Marinelli is hopeful his hard-working lead blocker will benefit from some extra healing time during the bye week and be ready to return for the Atlanta game Nov. 5.
  • RB Kevin Jones has improved his per-carry average from 2.5 yards one game into the season to a current 4.3-yards per carry average after rushing for 86 yards on 15 plays in the 31-24 loss to the New York Jets. Jones' combined rushing and receiving totals after seven games stand at 740 yards, an average of 105 yards per game on an average of 21 touches per game.
  • LB Teddy Lehman, who spent the first six weeks of the season on the PUP list unable to participate in full-team workouts, might be ready to return to work after the Lions' bye week. Coach Rod Marinelli wants to see how Lehman has progressed from off-season foot surgery before deciding whether to activate him.
  • WR Devale Ellis, an undrafted rookie who caught the eye of Lions' coaches during a rookie camp last spring, made his first NFL reception for a 19-yard gain and also ran for 12 yards on an end-around in the Lions' 31-24 loss to the Jets. Ellis, who played his college ball at Hofstra, has bounced between the practice squad and the active roster during the first seven weeks of the season.
  • QB Jon Kitna drew praise from coach Rod Marinelli after his play in the Lions' 31-24 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday. Despite the inconsistencies of playing in a new offense and playing with new teammates, Kitna has a completion mark of 63.3 percent, with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has a passer rating of 81.2.

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