DLI: Marinelli, Lions Prep for Turkey Day

Detroit Lions Insider: Quotes from Rod Marinelli following Monday's practice, including his thoughts on Daunte Culpepper, the team's inability to find Calvin Johnson and more. Plus: Drew Henson will be the team's backup against Tennessee. More inside, including links across the web from Tuesday morning: Update: Nov. 25, 2008 - 2:52 AM (EST)

Note from Editor: Welcome to the inauguration of the RoarReport.com Detroit Lions Insider (I'll call it  "DLI" for short ... and because it sounds cool). The intention of this blog-style report is to, essentially, mirror (i.e. "copy") the style and format used at such sites as ProFootballTalk, Ben Maller's Rumors, and others that collect content from sources all over the web. We did something similar during training camp and everyone loved it -- then got rid of it because we didn't major in marketing or common sense.

So what makes DLI better? Easy. I've been covering the Lions for over 10 years, so not only will this blog tap other media outlets and writers across the league (which will be broken down and analyzed), I'll also lace it with exclusive commentary from league insiders. We'll be combining the best Detroit Lions content on the web with the largest and most dedicated Detroit Lions fan forum. It's a win-win ... and given the Lions' 2008 season to this point, that should make everyone happy. - NC


Updated: Nov. 25, 2008 -  2:52 AM (EST)

Updates following Monday's practice, including links to articles across the web from Tuesday morning ...
  • From Detroit's Media Relations Department: The Lions placed DE Jared DeVries (hand) on the reserve/injured list and signed QB Drew Henson from the practice squad. DeVries suffered the hand injury against Jacksonville re-injureded it against Tampa Bay. Henson has spent five weeks on the Lions practice squad as well as five weeks on the active roster. He will be the backup quarterback this week against Tennessee.
  • The Lions released WR Joel Filani from their practice squad and re-signed WR Eric Fowler to their practice squad.
  • Lions Injury Report: DT Chuck Darby (calf - PROBABLE), LB Alex Lewis (pectoral - QUESTIONABLE), QB Dan Orlovsky (hand - OUT), C Dominic Raiola (hand - DOUBTFUL), DT Cory Redding (knee - QUESTIONABLE), LB Ernie Sims (knee - QUESTIONABLE), CB Keith Smith (groin - QUESTIONABLE), RB Kevin Smith (shoulder - QUESTIONABLE), QB Drew Stanton (concussion - DOUBTFUL) and DE Dewayne White (calf - DOUBTFUL) did not participate in practice; and DT Shaun Cody (elbow - PROBABLE), WR Mike Furrey (concussion - QUESTIONABLE), G Edwin Mulitalo (knee - QUESTIONABLE) and TE John Owens (toe - QUESTIONABLE) had limited participation in practice today.
  • Titans Injury Report: LB Colin Allred (concussion), CB Nick Harper (ankle), DT Albert Haynesworth (knee) and DT Jason Jones (foot) did not participate in practice; and LB Keith Bullock (chest), CB Chris Carr (shoulder), DE Jevon Kearse (knee), WR Justin McCareins (ankle), T Michael Roos (foot) and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) had limited participation in practice today.

    • It's bad enough when you're winless. But it's even more frustrating when calls don't go your way. That was clear from Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, which was rife with poor calls -- most not favoring Detroit. On one pass play, receiver Calvin Johnson was clearly hit in the chest by a Buccaneer defender. If called, the Lions would have picked up significant yardage on the play. It wasn't. Coach Rod Marinelli said he continues to contact the league to protest what the team feels is poor officiating.
      "Yeah. We look through the film and the ones that we feel (we need to send in) and then we turn them in," said Marinelli. "We asked and, as they looked at it (during the game), he said it wasn't (pass interference)."

    • Daunte Culpepper's performance was less than satisfying, including two interceptions -- one of which he telegraphed to Buccaneer cornerback Rhonde Barber, which was returned for a touchdown. Culpepper has a reputation across the league for struggling to read defenses, which seemed to be the case against Tampa Bay. Culpepper finished with an ugly 8 of 20 performance for 121 yards. At one point, he was benched, but returned later to spell the injured Drew Stanton (concussion).
      "The sophistication of that defense is really difficult," said Marinelli, referring to the same Tampa-Two defense ran in Detroit. "It's not so much the physical punishment. They rush well and all those things, but it's a lot of stuff that they do. All the decisions; everything off that shell, that two shell, and all the different looks you get off of it – it's tough.

      "It's a tougher week for us. We knew that kind of going in, but it was a step back for all of us. So we've got a chance to – short week – and we've got to get going."

      Culpepper will return as the starter against 10-1 Tennessee on Thursday. With a short week of practice, and playing against another tough defense, does it really make sense to start him again?

      "One thing Tennessee does: they're pretty consistent in what they do," explained Marinelli. "They've got their package and they'll run their package. They'll rely heavy on a four-man rush and that's what they do."

    • A devout frustration that encompassed everyone from fans to the media was Detroit ignoring Calvin Johnson for the better part of the game. Johnson had just three receptions, but two came on the team's first drive of the game. Marinelli was rightfully grilled on Monday, but attempted to excuse the ignorance of Johnson by blaming double coverages and Tampa's overall defensive tenacity.

      "You want to, but now all of a sudden, sometimes they double and bring pressure fast and you can't get your feet set and get it out him, too," he said. "I've said it all year – we're trying. We're trying to get that ball to him."

      He added later why the Lions didn't take more shots down the field: "It's a fine line because you've got that safety coming over the top and he can go up and intercept. They have a tall safety. The safety's got some range to him."

    • Lions fans are already preparing for the onslaught of jokes that will accompany the nationally televised Turkey Day game on Thursday. The Lions are now 0-11 with the potential for a winless year. Does Marinelli feel extra pressure considering the national stage?

      "I feel they're going to go out and do well," he said of his team. "I'm looking forward to it. We've got a short week; we've got to go prepare. I don't know, we'll go out and find out. Again, it's a great football team. (Tennessee is) one of the best team's in the league, so we'll see. I'm look forward to it."

      Asked whether or not he views it differently from any other game, Marinelli said he welcomes the pressure.

      "It is and it isn't, but the one thing I think: it's really good for us right now to have a chance to get under the spotlight. I'm really looking forward to that. Where everybody is scrutinizing everything about us right now and if you really like this game –with you people all the time, I've always talked about my belief in this team and how they work and all those things, so there's a major spotlight – national – coming in on us and I want us to stand up, stand tall and go out and play lights-out football. I'm challenging them and myself."

    • Don't include Jeff Fisher among the silly coaches who believe in statistics. According to The Tennessean, the Titans head coach believes Detroit is well "equipped" to stop the Titans ground attack.
      "Even though statistically they may not be ranked, they're very well equipped to stop the run," Fisher said during his weekly press conference."

    • Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg offers this Thanksgiving gem in his weekly output, "There is talk around the NFL about taking this lovely tradition away from Detroit, to which I ask: Hasn't Detroit done enough for you people? We buy all your commercial time for our cars and trucks and let you whip our football team. All Detroiters ask in return is that you let the Lions ruin the greatest meal of the year. What's the big deal?"

    • The Spokesman-Review does a dandy job reminding us that the Lions do, indeed, have somewhat of a successful Thanksgiving Day game past. The article speaks with former Lion Gail Cogdill, who reminisces on the good days of Detroit Lions football.
       ... Start with handing the Green Bay Packers their only defeat of the 1962 National Football League season in the annual Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit. Cogdill, three years removed from Washington State University, caught touchdown passes of 33 and 27 yards from Milt Plum just 21 seconds apart and the Lions' front four sacked Bart Starr 11 times in a 26-14 wipeout that was nowhere near that close ...

    • Who knew that a Lions expert existed in Packer Land? According to the Daily Cardinal, columnist Andy Van Sistine (we're serious, that's his real name) can explain Detroit's struggles in the last few decades.
      "(The Lions) have been whipping Cheerios at the intersection of bad and worse since the turn of the century. The Lions have nothing better to look forward to until the organization performs a complete overhaul in the front office and finally assembles a team of players that have as much motivation and pride as they do talent."

      Only in Wisconsin.

     Nov. 21, 2008 -  12:31 AM (EST)
    Many notes from Detroit's post-practice media briefing with Rod Marinelli on Thursday. Also included: a link to our recent articles and other interests across the web ...

    • From Detroit's Media Relations: The following players were listed in the Detroit Lions' Injury Report: WR Mike Furrey (concussion), QB Dan Orlovsky (hand-R), C Dominic Raiola (hand), CB Keith Smith (groin) and DE Dewayne White (calf) did not participate in practice; DT Ikaika Alama-Francis (concussion), DT Chuck Darby (calf), DE Jared DeVries (hand), FB Jerome Felton (ankle), WR Calvin Johnson (quad), RB Rudi Johnson (knee), CB Brian Kelly (ankle), G Edwin Mulitalo (knee), DT Cory Redding (groin), S Dwight Smith (foot) and RB Kevin Smith (groin) had limited participation in practice; and S Kalvin Pearson (shoulder) had full participation in practice today.

      Lions coach Rod Marinelli does not expect White to play in Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

      "(Not) unless something happens tomorrow and he feels better, a lot better— but he's getting better," said Marinelli.

      Also: Dominic Raiola and, contrary to published reports, Mike Furrey will both be heldout of Sunday's game barring any unforseen advances in health.
    • The following players were listed on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Injury Report: QB Brian Griese (right elbow) and TE Alex Smith (ankle) did not participate in practice;  S Jermaine Phillips (forearm) had limited participation in practice; and RB Warrick Dunn (back), WR Ike Hilliard (shoulder), and G Arron Sears (shoulder) had full participation in practice today.
    • One issue that has plagued Detroit all year has been the absence of Shaun Rogers -- the absence of a middle cog that can stop the run, which the Lions have been unable to do all year. They are allowing a league-worst 171.5 yards to opponents, crippling their ability to get off the field. Still, Marinelli is pinning his hopes on young players like rookie Andre Fluellen, who should see significant action against the Buccaneers.

      "Yeah, he's a guy—I've had guys like him where they can play the end and the three (technique) — Ellis Wyms and (Greg) Spires—guys like that could do both," said Marinelli, referring to two Buccaneers players. "They are really valuable because there's left end and under-tackle and there are some similarities to it. And the thing he has is really quick feet."

      "When your feet are really quick and they're in the ground you redirect really fast. When you're a little bit slower-footed you don't move as quick and he's got exceptional quickness off the ball, he really does. You could see that last week; I mean he was really quick. So (he's) got another week doing both and one thing: he's smart, a very smart guy. So he's picked all this up pretty quick.

    • Marinelli was asked whether or not his history as a Buccaneers' defensive line coach made it easier to recognize "wrinkles" or different looks that Jon Gruden and Co. might throw at him.

      Our guys that are on defense that are getting the looks, it's a system, but it's the same down there too," explained Marinelli, referring to the fact that Detroit runs an identical "Tampa-Two" system. "Everything equals out. And you know each other a little bit more being in all these OTA days for 6 years down there and what he wants to do. It really comes down to lining up and doing what you're supposed to do and executing and that's the bottom line."

    • Detroit's quest for 0-16 has become a common topic in Marinelli's press conferences. Thursday was no different.

      "Well, you're who you are," said Marinelli when asked if his winless year was discouraging. "Don't judge me. That may be hard for you – congratulations. Wrong guy—don't even put that on me you understand that. Don't even put that because you don't know me so don't even assume that. Your assumptions are totally wrong so don't even go there."

      The follow-up question? Whether or not he reads into the media opinion of him. Marinelli's response was a zinger: "I could care less what you believe."

    • Here's a shocker: No one wants to watch the Detroit Lions play. At least not according to a recent Detroit Free Press article, which informs us that the game will be blacked out in local markets.

      According to Freep.com, "The 0-10 Lions have failed to sell out their third-straight home game and will have Sunday's game against Tampa Bay blacked out in local television markets. The team said fewer than 7,000 tickets remained."

    • Marinelli is a staunch defender of his team, and likewise. According to a recent mlive article, the players refuse to give up on its (possible) lameduck head coach.

      "I have not seen any fracturing of this team at all this year," according to reporter Tom Kowalski.

    • Here's something fun to chew on: NFL Draft talk! In a RoarReport.com exclusive, we tell you of at least two collegiate games that the Lions will be scouting on Sunday.

      "According to Scout.com draft expert Chris Steuber, Detroit's scouting department will be attending at least two collegiate games on Saturday. The first is between Mid-American Conference East (MAC) leaders Buffalo and Bowling Green. The other pits ACC foes and perennial pro producers Wake Forest and Boston College."

    Nov. 18, 2008 -  6:14 PM (EST) Note: In a new feature introduced to this site, I'll have a few notes on who Detroit will be scouting in this Saturday's college games. It will be posted early tomorrow morning and is exclusive to RoarReport.com premium subscribers. 

    • When you're 0-10, you try to squeeze any positive out a situation that you can. And while positives were difficult to come by following Sunday's 31-22 loss at Carolina, it didn't stop Rod Marinell from trying.

      During Monday's media briefing, Marinelli again rehashed the multiple reasons why his team lost (although it primarily came down to poor tackling and turnovers), yet spoke optimistically regarding the development of quarterback Daunte Culpepper -- and his blossoming relationship with Calvin Johnson.

      Culpepper was 20 of 35 for 207 yards against the Panthers, including a 29-yard strike to Johnson. But he also threw two interceptions, including a costly pick late in the fourth quarter.

      "I think you could see it. We still have some communication errors, now. It's the second week. But I just think one thing is just where he gets comfortable with the timing of the receivers; the pace, the tempo, the communication from the sideline," said Marinelli. "All of a sudden, the verbiage coming in – you're more comfortable with the verbiage and these players have really kind of taken to him. You can see that.

      "He's got a good arm and all those things, but he's got something about him. I think the more you get to know him – I don't have to say it for you, you'll feel it."

      Although the season was at a loss when Detroit inked Culpepper, it didn't prevent many from seeing the potential paralell between Culpepper's days with Moss in Minnesota and the second-year sensation Johnson.

      "It's just week-by-week we make progress," Marinelli said. "I think we're going to make another good stride this week, I believe. And the communication in running the team, running the huddle and making checks."
    • After allowing Carolina to run roughshod to the tune of 264 yards, the question (again) must be asked: don't the Lions miss stalwart Shaun Rogers, who was traded to Cleveland in the off-season? Detroit's struggles affect the entire defense, but the interior of the defensive line -- where Rogers roamed since 2001 -- has been breached consistently.

      "I think with that, we picked up Cliff Avril whose a 3rd round pick, who I think is going to be a dynamite player in this league – there's no doubt about it," explained Marinelli. "We picked up a corner (Leigh Bodden) that we needed. But would we like a big run stuffer in there? Oh yeah – no doubt about that. (We're) constantly looking for that guy. They're a little bit tougher to find right now, this time of year. But we'll just keep coaching the guys we have and working. That's where we're at, but I understand your question thoroughly."
    • Our Lions Notebook is always brimming with interesting information and tidbits, and today's posting was no different.  We have injury updates on several Lions (including Dom Raiola and Calvin Johnson), and comments from Marinelli on whether or not he managed Sunday's game properly.
    • The GR Press' Brian Vanochten used his clever-titled 'Two Minute Drill' to espouse more optimism. We'll take what we can get. "(Kevin Smith) has fully distanced himself from veteran Rudi Johnson, who has been relegated to a backup role. Still, it's frustrating to see Johnson coming into games in the middle of possessions and going nowhere. He ran five times for five yards -- and that included a 7-yard gain. Smith was a workhorse at Central Florida, let him be a workhorse here." Amen.
    • Keith Olbermann will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER go away. He was terrible on ESPN. He was horrific on FOX Sports. He was almost fired for embarassingly low-ratings on MSNBC, and somehow, he managed to be part of the 416-man "expert" panel on NBC Sports. And shockingly, he wasn't very funny when he commented on Rod Marinell's post-game press conference. "Not a dent in their coach's fervent, cheery, textured, multi-layered denial mechanism."

    • Thankfully, retired beat writer Mike O'Hara continues to write. On Monday, he stated the obvious by suggesting Detroit attempt to hire New England Patriots' VP of Player Personnel Scott Pioli. " ... in terms of establishing credibility and enthusiasm for next year, the Lions would get more out of hiring Pioli than any other front-office move short of hiring Bill Cowher as head coach -- or trading franchises with the New York Giants."
    • With 0-16 staring them directly in the eye, and a tough schedule forthcoming, Marinelli shrugged off any concern that Detroit might reach epic levels of embarassment come seasons' end.

      "I don't look for disaster, I don't look for disease and I don't look for speculation," he said. "I look to lift these men up – that's my job, and to get them ready to play a really exciting game at home against Tampa Bay and that's my job, and to teach tackling and our run-fits better. Anything I would do to distract from that, I would be a dereliction of my duty as a leader

      "It is what it is. I just line up and go. For me, personally, the only time that would get me (down is), if I didn't try as hard as I could try. If I didn't prepare, if I didn't believe in them and if I didn't come to work ready to go every single day, upbeat and positive, because who wants to look at a leader that's a grouch or a pouter? There's too much of that here anyway, isn't there? (There's) too much around. So when things are bad, a leader's supposed to step up and lead from the front and that's what I'm going to do."
    • Detroit's quest for 0-16 hasn't escaped the minds of those cities that hold Detroit in ill-regard, and that includes Chicago. And, because all Chicagoans like to hear themselves talk, they naturally have an opinion on the Lions season of disaster. "From top to bottom, the roster reads like a NFL in memoriam, a depleted lineup of burnouts, wouldbes and could'ves, the gauntlet of former Big Men on Campus and current-professional POWs, testament to the gallingly, terrible management and draft day "knownothingness" of former President/CEO, Matt Millen."

    Nov. 15, 2008 -  8:41 PM (EST) It's the weekend, which means a travel day for the Detroit Lions. Which also means the fluff material is in full-effect from the media (this includes, but isn't limited to, pointless predictions, fantasy-related tidbits, and midweek quotes that some writer attempts to turn into a thought-provoking piece. So ... without further adieu. Your pregame fluff ...

    • RoarReport.com columnist Adrian Donofrio has returned from his multi-year hiatus (he got married) to write this compelling piece about Daunte Culpepper and the future of the Detroit Lions. Some people don't think Culpepper will last as a Lion (or professional football player) beyond 2008, but Donofrio insists that the two are at a cross-roads that is bigger than both entities. "Even in only his second game as a Lion, writes Donofrio, (Daunte) Culpepper may have found himself in perhaps not a must win situation, but a "must perform" situation. Games are blacking out for the first time in years, the annual Thanksgiving Game, Detroit's only pride and joy when it comes to the Lions, may be in danger of being pulled. Fans aren't buying what the Lions are selling; literally. This is a situation where fans need something to sink their teeth in -- HOPE."

    • Speaking of Culpepper, one fact that wasn't lost on our staff (well, not until Viking Update editor Tim Yotter e-mailed me) was that Culpepper's last game in his prime was in 2005 -- against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte. The Charlotte Observer also recollected on the moment that changed Pep's career when, as they write, "a hit from Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble tore three of the four ligaments in his right knee."

      Yotter added in his e-mail, "He was gaining a first down on what looked like a designed run play for him when CB Chris Gamble came in from the side on a hit that Culpepper didn't see coming. His season was done and, as it turned out, so was (former coach) Mike Tice's after the season ended. Culpepper and Childress couldn't agree about his rehabilitation process and Culpepper felt he was owed a raise, which wasn't going to happen considering his health. Then, as you know, he tried to rush back in Miami and probably still wasn't 100 percent in Oakland."

      The Observer has several quotes from Culpepper, who reflected on the tumultous last few years during his weekly press briefing with the opposition's media.
    • We have to hand it to Mike Mady. Mady is the RoarReport.com fantasy correspondent, who entered this season expecting to deliver more promising Lions-related fantasy info than he could handle.  Well, as it turns out, Mike's reports now read more like fantasy obituary pieces. But we publish them anyway to make him feel worthwhile ... and because there's at least a handful of fantasy suckers/Lions diehards that have hung onto Calvin Johnson and are considering Kevin Smith. Anyway, here's the latest: Fantasy Lions -- Is anyone worth starting in Carolina?
    • Our Game Day breakdown, including a prediction. Nothing much more needs to be said. Also, remember to chat with other Lions fans in The Den Message Board. If you're frustrated (or, God help us, elated) during tomorrow's game, there is always a running game thread dedicated to that week's contest. Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

    Nov. 14, 2008 -  4:39 PM (EST) Notes following Friday's practice ...

    • OK, so we might see Drew Stanton, but don't expect it on the goal-line -- at least not according to offensive coordinator Jim Colletto. Instead, expect it if Detroit falls behind early.

      "We'll see how the game plays out," said Colletto. "This is the first time Daunte (Culpepper) has played on the road where he's (got) silent count problems and all that. We'll see how he adjusts to that and we'll let the game kind of dictate that. We won't do the goal-line—we did the goal-line thing a week ago for a specific reason. We probably won't do that this time."

      Colletto praised Stanton's showing against Jacksonville, where he tossed a touchdown and added some flair to an otherwise depressing fourth quarter.

      "I thought he did good; he did good. He went in there and did exactly what we asked him to do," said Colletto. "It's hard to go in there in a goal-line and do that and he did a nice job. He made a nice play on one of the pass plays for a touchdown. I thought he did real well on that."

      Colletto called Stanton's fourth quarter "fair," saying that both quarterbacks held onto the ball too long.

      Speaking of Culpepper, Colletto said progress is being made.

      "It's better. Again, we're restricted with what we're doing," he explained. "It's one thing in practice and the tempo of the game is night and day. But he's able to do more things. We were able to get him involved in goal-line stuff this week, which we didn't do last week. So everything we're doing is predicated on what we feel he can do, and he's played before so the rust starts to wear off and he gets better and better, little by little."
    • Colletto on offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus, who has performed well in recent weeks after what the Lions coaching staff deemed a start-from-scratch process

      "Well, he's gotten better ever since we put him down those couple of weeks. We spent a lot of time after practice and before practice and really started him from scratch and he's really done really well. He's still got some technique things he's got to get better at but he's played better every game and that one play last week when he pulled out on the third-down-and-one play, he looked like a big time player. So he's gotten a lot better every week."

      "We went back and started from basic—first of all, making sure he knew exactly what he was doing and then going back to the basic mechanics of everything he did. He got wore out in two weeks. But he responded to it and it has helped. He still might have some technique things that he makes mistakes with in the game, but a lot of them do that. He's getting better all the time."

    • Linebacker Ernie Sims (shoulder) practiced Friday and will be ready to play on Sunday against Carolina
    • Rookie Jordon Dizon will rotate between the middle (mike) and strong-side (sam) position on Sunday.
    • Detroit's defensive troubles in 2008 are rampant, and Joe Barry did his best to answer all of them.
      • On the team's lack of interceptions:

        "Right now, for whatever reason, we're not creating them; we're not getting them. It's frustrating because we talked about third-downs (and) getting off the field. Obviously turnovers are a way to get off the field and get the ball back for your offense and we're not doing that. With the success that we had last year, especially early, turnovers were coming in droves for us and now they are not. But we continue to stress it; we continue to practice it; we continue to point out the opportunities. When they're there, we have to cash in on them and we're not right now."
      • On giving up third-down conversions, which has kept the defense on the field:

        "We have to win on third down. I think in that drive there were four third downs that we lost and in this league, at any time during a game, you have to get off the field. When you're given third-and-fours, third–and-fives, third-and-eights, third-and- nines, you have to take advantage of them; and when you get them, you have to get off the field. If you don't, you are going to sustain long drives.

        "... when you don't win on third-down, bad things are going to happen."
      • On the team's defensive youth:

        "Cliff (Avril) has done well the last few weeks; Five-0 (Ikaika Alama-Francis) has done a good job, we kind of got him going along. Even the young guys like Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen—when they've had their limited chances, they've taken advantage of them. If they have more opportunities this weekend or next weekend or in the future, they have to take advantage of them."
    • Maybe the Detroit Lions were hoping no one was paying attention. That isn't the case, however. With the annual Thanksgiving Day game looming (and a potential matchup between the league's best team -- the Tennessee Titans -- and, well, the league's worst), one former Lion doesn't believe this current installment of the franchise isn't taking the game seriously. "We took pride in going out and winning that game," said former All Pro offensive tackle Lomas Brown. "We were the first game that you would see that day, and we took a lot of pride in it. And they just don't do that."

    Nov. 14, 2008 - 2:17:14 AM (EST) [Sources: 7 \\ Plus, notes following Thursday's practice...]

    • Injury Report (Source: Detroit Lions Media Relations Department): DE Jared DeVries (hand), WR Mike Furrey (concussion), QB Dan Orlovsky (hand-R), C Dominic Raiola (hand), LB Ernie Sims (shoulder), S Dwight Smith (foot), CB Keith Smith (groin) and DE Dewayne White (calf) did not participate in practice; TE John Owens (hamstring) and DT Cory Redding (groin) had limited participation in practice; and T Jeff Backus (quad), DT Shaun Cody (ankle), DT Chuck Darby (calf), FB Jerome Felton (ankle), TE Casey FitzSimmons (ribs), and CB Brian Kelly (back) had full participation in practice today.

      NOTE: Dan Orlovsky will miss Sunday's game against Carolina, but could return in two weeks after electing to bypass surgery. Raiola, Dwight and Keith Smith, and Dewayne White are all questionable, while Marinelli expects Furrey to play.  When asked, Ernie Sims said he was hopeful to play, but didn't offer much beyond that.
    • Former Buccaneers quarterback and NFL disappointment Shaun King won the title for Captain Obvious by dropping this gem on the Detroit News' Rob Parker: "Ultimately everybody's job security in Detroit is going to be predicated on what they do at general manager." Thanks, Shaun, maybe Matt Millen could be the first to go ...
    • As the season continues to whither into oblivion, chatter will pick-up regarding Detroit's next potential GM. It's next head coach. Whether or not they'll ever have cheerleaders (petition forthcoming, I promise). Brian Billick refused to comment on whether or not he would have an interest in any position. Essentially, Billick simply didn't cross the line. As a former head coach (Baltimore), Billick knows he would have violated ethics by commenting on a position that is already filled (Marinelli), and anything regarding the team in general would be an unnecessary distraction. He did the respectable thing by avoiding comment. Billick knows the Lions are 0-9, and regardless of what one Lions pundit wrote, he is very much aware that he would be on Detroit's radar. Unlike former Titans GM Floyd Reese, who did everything but sell his soul to let Detroit's ownership know he still has a pulse, Billick's courtesy quote might have put him on the short-list: "Out of respect for the situation, for me to comment on an interest or lack of interest in any job that currently has a coach is inappropriate."

      Nice job, Brian.
    • Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith has echoed many comments issued by other opponents of the winless Lions. After Panthers' QB Jake DelHomme was adamant that Detroit was not the worst team in the league (he assured the media there was at least two in front of them), Smith told the Gaston Gazette that Detroit -- on tape, at least -- isn't as bad as their 0-9 record makes them seem.
      "You can't get lulled looking at their record," he said. "You don't want to be that team that gives them their first win. You don't want to start off slow. You want to start off quick... You try to look at their positives. They fly around, they do a great job of hitting and tackling and causing fumbles. They are a team that hasn't quit. That is very evident watching film."
    • Daunte Culpepper might have been named the starter, but that doesn't mean everyone is a believer. While some in the media believe that second-year man Drew Stanton is better suiter, it's Culpepper's first performance that was the most damaging. Pep went 5 of 10 and tossed an INT against Jacksonville last week. Worse yet, his knowledge of the team's red zone offense is so limited that the Lions might continue to turn to Stanton if they sniff the goal-line. So is Culpepper struggling to pick-up Detroit's watered down playbook?
      "No, it's just getting all the volume of everything, that's the key," explained Marinelli on Thursday. "And he's just picking things up everyday and looks better and better everyday."
    • Weekly Drew Henson Update for Depressed U of M fans: Marinelli was asked whether or not the Lions would like to bring back former Wolverine standout/NY Yankee reject/Unemployed quarterback (he was released to make room for Adam Jennings -- see below). Because Dan Orlovsky has chosen to remain on the active roster, however, there isn't a requirement for another QB. Marinelli's response seemed more like a man attempting to win over a fan-base that spends its weekends sitting indian style, rocking back and forth while trying to figure out which day will be the least painful to watch.
      "Yes, oh yeah, we want him back, yes. We're just trying to get numbers (available) right now."
    • Yes, the Lions finally have a return man after inking Adam Jennings. "He's not just a returner, I think he's a real good receiver and he's really a tremendous coverage guy in terms of kick coverage also - so that position is bringing some juice." Naturally, Marinelli will sing the praises of any athlete brought in by the team, but he did fail to mention that Jennings was essentially ran out of Atlanta  according to Falcons fans, who compared his release to Christmas morning. Lions Special Teams coach Stan Kwan countered by offering that Jennings would be used in multiple roles, not just as a return man.
    • Rookie Kevin Smith has been named the full-time starter over veteran Rudi Johnson, a sign that Detroit's coaching staff is giving in to a future that they probably won't be a part of. "We're putting that pack on his back and let's go," said Marinelli. "He likes that, and the other thing that's good is he can really catch the ball. He's got good hands, he's got a good feel in the passing game and he does a good job picking up blitzes and stuff. He's everything we hoped he might be. He's got to keep doing it."


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