Concerns at right tackle plague Lions

With the New York Giants' Michael Strahan and Green Bay's Aaron Kampman just around the corner, the Detroit Lions better hope that the issues plaguing them at the right tackle position are rectified quickly.

With the New York Giants' Michael Strahan and Green Bay's Aaron Kampman just around the corner, the Detroit Lions better hope that the issues plaguing them at the right tackle position are rectified quickly.

And hope might be all they're left with.

Between injuries and just poor play, the team's offense is vulnerable at the right tackle slot, which had relied upon off-season acquisition George Foster and second-year player Jonathan Scott.

When the Lions acquired Foster from Denver via trade, they hoped they had solidified their right tackle position. Foster had spent four years with one of the best running teams in the NFL.

But Foster is a huge issue heading into Sunday's game against the Giants. He has struggled badly, but the Lions have no immediate options to replace him. So he will have to figure things out while trying to block one of the better sack-masters in the game in the veteran Strahan.

Foster has taken nine false-start penalties this season, most in the NFL. He took two in Sunday's 31-21 loss at Arizona, and after one of them, quarterback Jon Kitna lost his cool and yelled at him.

"I think we were all a little frustrated at that point," Kitna said. "I was mad. We get mad at each other when we make mistakes. They got mad at me when I threw an interception."

Foster struggled with false starts early in the season, especially on the road. He was benched twice. He cleaned up the problem later, but he was still missing blocking assignments. Partly because of that, partly because of an ankle problem, Foster didn't start Nov. 4 against his former team, the Broncos.

"As far as the effort he gives, the intensity, he's what you want," offensive line coach Jim Colletto said. "We've got to cut down on some mistakes from an execution standpoint."

Jonathan Scott suffered a broken thumb against the Broncos, however, and Foster went back in. Scott had surgery and sat out at Arizona, so Foster started.

There has been some confusion over Scott's injury. At first, Scott guessed he would miss two to three weeks. Then, coach Rod Marinelli said Scott would miss only the Cardinals game.

"Honestly it's about a week," Marinelli said Friday. "Now it's just pain."

Marinelli said Scott could play with a cast.

"O-lineman, you don't need a whole lot of thumb there," Marinelli said. "I think he'll be fine."

Now, Scott has gone to visit his surgeon to see how quickly he can come back, and Marinelli said Scott probably would not be able to play against the Giants.

"For this game, I'm 90 percent sure," Marinelli said. "I hate to tell you 100 percent and (then have) him come back. But it's very doubtful."

If Scott misses the next two games, Foster will have to block Strahan and Green Bay's Aaron Kampman in a five-day span.

"I think it's going to be up to me," Foster said. "Just continue to work, put in extra work with coaches and whatnot, being more of a student of this system. It can only get better from here."

Individual Player Notes

  • QB Jon Kitna threw two interceptions Sunday at Arizona after going three straight games -- and four out of five games -- without throwing a pick. Coach Rod Marinelli said Kitna woke up Monday morning with a sore lower back, but Kitna said he was fine and didn't anticipate missing any practice time, let alone Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
  • RB Kevin Jones had four carries for minus-four yards at Arizona and left the game twice with soreness in his left foot. He has been managing soreness since returning from a serious foot injury. Marinelli said Jones was sore Monday, but no more than usual, and he allowed for the possibility the Lions might rest Jones against the Giants because they play NFC North rival Green Bay five days later.
  • TE Sean McHugh went without a reception for the third time this season at Arizona.
  • WR Roy Williams caught two touchdown passes at Arizona after going five games without a TD.
  • WR Calvin Johnson aggravated his back injury at Arizona when he fell awkwardly trying to make a catch once again. Johnson was supposed to finally be completely healthy. Johnson finished the game and it is unclear how the issue will affect him this week.
  • CB Fernando Bryant suffered a sprained foot at Arizona. He was on crutches afterward and is questionable for the Giants game.
  • DE Dewayne White, who missed the Arizona game with a triceps injury, will be close to playing against the Giants, according to Marinelli.
  • DE Jared DeVries, a nine-year veteran, has a career-high 4.5 sacks.
  • K Jason Hanson kicked three extra points at Arizona, moving him into a tie for 10th place on the NFL's all-time scoring list with Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza (1,608).
  • OL Jonathan Scott probably will miss the Giants game because of his broken thumb, meaning struggling George Foster will continue to start at right tackle and have to block Michael Strahan.

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