Notebook: Lions Face Another Passing Threat

The Lions will welcome the return defensive end Dewayne White for Sunday's tilt at Cincinnati -- and they'll need him. News and notes inside as Detroit looks to rebound from the Thanksgiving Day debacle against Green Bay.

When the Lions return to action Sunday at Cincinnati, they should have defensive end Dewayne White back from a toe injury.

They're going to need him.

They're facing yet another high-powered passing attack, and they need to get after Carson Palmer much better than they've been getting after quarterbacks lately. Otherwise, he'll pick them apart.

"The bottom line is, we haven't rushed well enough," coach Jim Schwartz said. "That's not just the tackles. It's not just the ends. It's as a four-man group, we haven't been able to get that job done."

In the six games before their bye week, the Lions had 15 sacks and 26 quarterback hurries. In the five games since, they have only four sacks and 14 quarterback hurries.

The Lions played at Green Bay right before the bye. They sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers five times. The Lions' last game was against Green Bay. They sacked Rodgers only once, even though the Packers rank worst in the NFL in sacks allowed.

"We haven't been able to get good pressure on the quarterback," Schwartz said. "We've had to blitz quite a lot."

But blitzes aren't enough.

"We had guys totally free running to the quarterback, but the quarterback gets rid of the ball," Schwartz said. "Most of the time when you're blitzing, you're not blitzing to sack the quarterback. It's very rare that you blitz him and you actually sack the quarterback.

"What you're trying to do is, you're forcing the tempo, forcing a bad throw, forcing them to throw somewhere that they don't want to throw. It's third down and 10. You blitz. They throw a 5-yard pass. You tackle them. You're off the field.

"Generally, your sacks come from playing coverage with a four-man pass rush, when the quarterback has to hold the ball waiting for those plays down the field. It's happened on our offense. We're not doing a good job in our four-man pass rush.

"A little bit of it goes hand-in-hand with coverage. There have been times we've had good pass rushers that we've blown coverages in the back end. But that's really the lifeblood of what you do defensively, is to be able to stop the run in your four-man pass rush. We need to do a better job there. Our numbers have been down, but they've been down because we haven't rushed very well."

LINEUP WATCH: The Lions had a revolving door at left guard. Now they have a revolving door at both guard spots.

Manny Ramirez and Daniel Loper both were benched at points in the second half of the 34-12 loss to Green Bay. Backup Dylan Gandy filled in at both spots. Loper eventually left with a back injury.

Ramirez and Loper rotated at left guard the first half of the season. Then right guard Stephen Peterman suffered a season-ending ankle injury Nov. 15 at Minnesota. Ramirez started on the left and Loper on the right afterward. They played well Nov. 22 against Cleveland but struggled against Green Bay.

BY THE NUMBERS: 18 -- Interceptions for rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. That's two more than Joey Harrington had as a rookie in 2002, after the Lions took him third overall.

Player Personnel Notes:

  • TE Brandon Pettigrew will have season-ending surgery after suffering a left knee injury against Green Bay on Thanksgiving. His knee buckled without contact as he tried to make a block early in the game.
  • QB Matthew Stafford started Thanksgiving Day despite suffering a left shoulder injury the previous Sunday. He didn't practice and was listed as doubtful on the injury report, but he improved before the game and took some pain medication. Schwartz said he came out of the game fine.
  • WR Calvin Johnson played Thanksgiving Day even though he was obviously not 100 percent. He had hand and knee injuries. He caught only two passes for 10 yards, even though he was targeted 12 times.
  • S Louis Delmas played Thanksgiving Day after hardly practicing because of an ankle injury. He did not appear to be bothered too much.
  • DE Dewayne White is expected to return Sunday at Cincinnati after missing two games with a toe injury.

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