Lions Notebook: Detroit Relishing Bye

This wasn't a bad time for a bye week, a sentiment even agreed upon by Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. News and notes from Allen Park inside ...

Lions coach Jim Schwartz sort of smirked as he said it.

"Never a bad time for a bye," Schwartz said. "Cliche? No, I think there (are) bad times for a bye, sometimes if you're on a roll. Say you've won three or four games in a row and you're healthy and you like that momentum that you have, a bye can derail that a little bit."

This is not one of those times.

Not for the Lions, anyway. They have lost 28 of their last 30 games. They are 1-5 this season and were just shut out for the first time since 2001. They have all kinds of personnel problems, starting with a long list of injuries.

The bye gives the Lions some time to sort things out. Their next game appears winnable. It's Nov. 1 against the Rams, who are 0-6 and could be 0-7 after facing Indianapolis. (Of course, the fans are probably thinking something similar in St. Louis, too.)

"There's other times that you have injuries that you can use it to get guys back on the field," Schwartz said. "I think it's definitely a good week for a bye for us."

Schwartz said he was optimistic the Lions would be at full strength after the bye, though he said he didn't know when quarterback Matthew Stafford would return to practice.

Stafford has a right knee injury. The Lions have dismissed an ESPN report that they are worried he needs surgery. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson also has a right knee injury.

The Lions also are down three defensive linemen who started the season opener - ends Dewayne White (hamstring) and Jason Hunter (ankle) and rookie tackle Sammie Hill (ankle) - among many others.

"It came at a good time," guard Stephen Peterman said. "There's a lot of guys hurt. We need to get some guys back from injury. Everybody's beat-up a little bit. We had a hard camp. We played some really good teams there."

Schwartz said he would not hold a Wednesday practice, as planned, because of all the injuries. He said he wouldn't have enough bodies, so he would just have a walkthrough for an hour and a half.

But he said he would have Thursday and Friday practices - and a full workload otherwise. While the coaches will look ahead to the Rams, they will not talk to the players about them yet. This is about ironing out the Lions' own issues.

"A lot of times, you get to the bye week, you like to take a breath and refresh and come back with a clean slate, a good frame of mind and make your push for the final 10 games," Schwartz said. "That's not going to be our attitude this week.

"We have some urgency. When you start 1-5, I don't think we have time to take a breath. We don't have time to refresh and those kind of things. We're going to be on the practice field this week. We're going to work. We're going to be in the meeting rooms hard. The coaches are going to be here late.

"We're going to look really hard at our first six games and evaluate how we got to 1-5, make plans to get out of 1-5. We have a 10-game season left. We're going to look real hard at it."


  • What if the Lions take a hard look at their roster over the bye and realize they simply don't have enough talent? "It's hard to do in-season," coach Jim Schwartz said. "There's certain things that we've continued to do in-season. We have worked the bottom of the roster. We have claimed people off of waivers. We've made trades. We've done things like that. There's not a whole lot more that you can do. But we're certainly open to working different personnel and making sure that the people are accountable for your jobs."
  • The Lions have rotated players at some positions this season. Daniel Loper and Manny Ramirez each have started at left guard and even rotated within games. Cornerbacks Phillip Buchanon and Anthony Henry each have been benched. Those are just prime examples? Did Schwartz expect to rotate so many players? "I would have hoped not to," Schwartz said. "I think if players are performing at a high level, there's no reason to do that. But we haven't been a very consistent football team. We've played very well in spots. We've played very poorly in spots. And we need to find consistency. By finding consistency, there's scheme-wise you can do that, there's personnel-wise you can do that, so we'll look at that."
  • The Lions' brass wants to be coldhearted when it comes to personnel decisions. "We tried to put as much competition in front of players as we could for training camp, brought in some veteran players, mixed that with some rookies and talked about competing for jobs and making guys not just rest on what they've done in the past," Schwartz said. "It's the same thing for during the season. It's not what you've done in the past. It's how you're playing right now. We haven't been afraid to make moves with those guys, and it's business. It's nothing personal. We've got a lot of hard-working guys on this team. This is a hard-working team. There's a lot of character on this football team. But the bottom line in this business is performance. We have to be very objective when it comes to performance. And as a coaching staff, as an organization, we can't be afraid to make that call based on being objective. We can't let our heart strings control those decisions."
  • Rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew struggled Sunday at Green Bay. He gave up a sack when he was bowled over by linebacker Clay Mathews. He was responsible for an interception when a pass glanced off his hands and into the hands of Packers cornerback Al Harris. He also committed a false start penalty and failed to catch a pass. "I think that the fact that we look at a game like that for him and we're disappointed says how happy we were with him earlier in the season," Schwartz said. "I don't think there's any disappointment with him as a player. I think he's a good young player. He didn't have his best game against Green Bay, but we need him to bounce back for us. He's a guy that can make plays in the passing game. He's a good run blocker. He's been inconsistent like a lot of rookies. He's got six games under his belt. That rookie excuse is getting ready to go out the window pretty quickly."
  • Rookie linebacker DeAndre Levy has started two straight games. Schwartz said that is because Ernie Sims has been dealing with a shoulder injury, but Levy looks like he is close to winning the job outright. "He's played very well at spots," Schwartz said. "He's also had the rookie inconsistencies. He's played a lot of football. I think we'd be comfortable with him as a starter, particularly if he can keep moving forward, if he can keep putting those inconsistencies behind him."
  • The Lions' injuries have exposed their lack of depth. "Depth is important," Schwartz said. "You can't say, 'If we stay healthy, we're a good team.' That's not the NFL. There's going to be injuries. You need to get to a point that you say, 'When we get injuries, we're still a good team.' We still have a lot of work to do there."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 119 -- When the Lions suffered Sunday's 26-0 loss at Green Bay, they were shut out for the first time in 119 games. They hadn't been shut out since Dec. 30, 2001, when they lost to Chicago, 24-0, in the second-to-last game at the Silverdome.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you play golf and you put up a quadruple bogey on one of the holes, you can't erase it. What you've got to do your next drive is, you've got to put it in the fairway and keep playing and not let that affect what the rest of your score looks like." -- Coach Jim Schwartz, on the Lions' 1-5 start.


The Lions didn't make a move before the trade deadline, but not for lack of effort. Martin Mayhew's first major move as general manager was trading wide receiver Roy Williams to Dallas minutes before time expired. Mayhew has been aggressive ever since - swinging some deals, trying to swing others - and was working the phones with the same mentality, looking for young players and draft picks.

"A lot of times there's more talk than action, historically, if you look at the trading deadline," coach Jim Schwartz said. "But going back to where we were before the draft and free agency and everything else, we're going to look at every way we can to improve this team. We're open to everything. If we think it's something that'll improve the team, we're not shy about making that move."


  • QB Matthew Stafford has missed two games with a right knee injury. He and the Lions dismissed an ESPN report that they are worried he might need surgery.
  • QB Daunte Culpepper left Sunday's game with what he called a slight hamstring pull. He said it would have been severe had he not pulled up while scrambling.
  • WR Calvin Johnson did not play Sunday because of a right knee injury. He is expected to return after the bye week.
  • DE Copeland Bryan suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee Sunday at Green Bay. He wore a large knee brace in the locker room Monday.
  • DT Sammie Hill has missed three games an ankle injury.
  • DE Dewayne White has missed three games with a hamstring injury.
  • DE Jason Hunter did not play Sunday because of an ankle injury.
  • S Ko Simpson has missed two games with a hamstring injury.

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