Notebook: Lions Young Guns Might Play

Even with a looming bye week, the Detroit Lions aren't ready to cash their chips with QB Matthew Stafford, who could still play in Sunday's tilt against division rival Green Bay.

There is a chance the Lions' top young offensive weapons will play Sunday at Green Bay.

Coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions would not consider their upcoming bye when deciding whether rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford will play, and he said wide receiver Calvin Johnson doesn't have a significant injury. Both have problems with their right knees.

Stafford missed virtually all of last week's practices and missed Sunday's 28-20 loss to Pittsburgh. If he isn't 100% healthy, will the Lions err on the side of caution and keep him out against the Packers, giving him more time to recover before their next game, Nov. 1 against St. Louis?

"No," Schwartz said. "We're trying to win this football game."

Schwartz said the Lions would see how much Stafford practices and how his knee progresses throughout the week. He said Stafford doesn't necessarily need to be 100%, but must be mobile enough to escape trouble and protect himself.

"If he's trending up and he's improving and we can get him snaps, then we have a good chance of getting him on the field," Schwartz said. "If not, then we won't.

"But it has nothing to do with an eye toward the bye week and we can get him an extra week of rest or anything else. Our objective is to win this game. We have to win this game."

Johnson was hit by two Steelers while catching a two-yard pass in the first quarter of Sunday's 28-20 loss. He tried to keep playing, but came out and never returned.

Notebook:

  • Head coach Jim Schwartz said rookie DeAndre Levy started at outside linebacker Sunday because Ernie Sims is still dealing with a shoulder injury. Sims played only a handful of snaps. "When I get healthy, I will be the starter," Sims said. "My shoulder is getting a whole lot better. I felt a whole lot stronger in the weight room today. This next game, you should see me a whole lot more." Sims said this coaching staff is being more careful than the previous one. "The last three years, I was hurt and the coaches would just throw me out there," Sims said. "It says a lot for the coaches now that they see me hurt, they want to get one of their good players back onto the field, but they want to protect me at the same time. I kind of respect that."
  • Schwartz pointed out that six of the seven sacks quarterback Daunte Culpepper took Sunday were on first or second down -- not third down, when it's an obvious passing situation, quarterbacks often hold the ball longer and teams are willing to risk a sack to get a first down.

    "I would have liked to have seen him get rid of some of those balls a little bit quicker," Schwartz said. Culpepper tried to get rid of one in the first quarter but was flagged for intentional grounding. He didn't get the ball back to the line of scrimmage.

Player Notes:

  • CB Eric King was placed on injured reserve with a left shoulder injury. It is the third straight season he has ended up on IR.
  • RT Gosder Cherilus did not play Sunday because of a shoulder injury. Coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions worked him out before the game, then decided he should sit.
  • DE Jason Hunter left Sunday's game with an ankle injury. But Schwartz said he didn't think it would be a long-term problem.
  • TE Casey Fitzsimmons left Sunday's game with a thigh injury. But Schwartz said he didn't think it would be a long-term problem.
  • FB Jerome Felton suffered ankle and shoulder injuries Sunday. But Schwartz said they were just minor nicks.

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