Lions Notebook: Back to work

The Detroit Lions continued to play musical chairs with the receiving core on Monday. This time, veteran Az-Zahir Hakim fell victim to yet another reshuffling. More notes inside, including Teddy Lehman's emergence as Detroit's starting middle linebacker.

The Detroit Lions continued to play musical chairs with the receiving core on Monday. This time, veteran Az-Zahir Hakim fell victim to yet another reshuffling.

Hakim, enjoying his second stint in Detroit after signing with the team in early September, joined Shaun Bodiford, Scottie Vines and Corey Bradford as expected contributors that became surprise cuts. He was third on the team in receptions with 17 grabs for 147 yards.

"I'm just going to leave it at that now," said head coach Rod Marinelli on Monday, who refused to elaborate on the cut -- or whom Hakim's successor would be. "It was a football move and I'll just leave it at that."

When pressed further about Hakim's veteran presence to the team, Marinellin reiterated, "We're just going to leave it as a football move. I'll leave it at that. That usually ends it."

Rumors out of Allen Park have suggested that training camp casualty Glenn Martinez, who signed onto the team's practice squad just last week, would fill the vacancy left by Hakim. Another possibility is the return of Bradford, who remains unsigned on the league waiver wire.

"We just have guys working in there right now so we'll see as the week goes on," said Marinelli, adding that "no doors" were closed.

Boss Fired?

Boss Bailey, who has spent the bulk of the season at middle linebacker, will likely be replaced by the recently reactivated Teddy Lehman. Lehman, who has deal nagging lower-leg injuries the past year, is considered 100% healthy, and the Lions have been impressed with Lehman's knowledge and presence in the middle.

Bailey, meanwhile, has struggled at the new position. Typically an outside linebacker, the former second-round pick has found himself out of place frequently and the victim of overpowering offensive linemen.

"We think right now, in terms of the whole uniqueness of the positions, because Teddy's (Lehman) an inside guy and I think Paris (Lenon) has done a good job inside and maybe (it will) get Boss (Bailey) back to more of a natural position for him," said Marinelli, referring to the likelihood of moving Bailey back to the outside.

The problem is that Bailey might not have a starting nod guaranteed. With Alex Lewis expected to return from injury, Bailey could be on the outside looking in, with rookie Ernie Sims playing opposite Lewis with Lehman in the middle.

As for Lehman's promotion, Marinelli referred to the third-year linebacker as a "natural" at the position -- and he could start as early as next Sunday at Atlanta.

"I think it will be from today to Wednesday (on) how he feels," said Marinelli. "It will tell a lot in the next day or so. Just so the soreness and all of that - this is the first time he's really done something heavy on it."

Offensive Line Repair

The Lions will return left guard Ross Verba and right tackle Rex Tucker to the line-up. The team has been without the two expected starters for much of the regular season, relying upon a patchwork offensive line to protect quarterback Jon Kitna. The result has been subpar, which Marinelli hopes will change with the presence of Tucker and Verba.

"It gives us a nice base and it's close to the group we had in camp - not counting (Damien) Woody," said Marinelli.


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