Lions taking action, benching players

The Detroit Lions are no longer satisfied with just being competitive in certain areas. Mistakes are being called out on the carpet and players are being benched.

To say that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has been on a rampage this week would be putting it mildly. The Lions are second in the league in sacks (9) yet rank 30th in overall defense.

They have given up nearly 700 yards (681) in aerial offense in two games and now face Brett Favre, who in his career has torched the Lions for nearly 9,000 yards (8,753).

"I think we got a few things straight around here," Cunningham said.

The back seven, the linebackers and defensive backs, felt the full fury of Cunningham's wrath. Veteran outside linebacker Julian Peterson was benched for the final two defensive series against the Eagles after he missed his gap on a 46-yard TD run by LeSean McCoy. The safeties, C.C. Brown and Louis Delmas, also heard it from Cunningham.

"(The Eagles) were sending two receivers out and we were in a cover-two, and they had eight guys blocking," Cunningham said, frustrated that despite that they threw for 329 yards. "Somebody has to pay for that, and they did. We can't let that happen.

"I looked at the tape and four or five times they had four guys blocking (Kyle) Vanden Bosch. I can't tolerate four guys blocking one."

Other players have to make plays to keep offenses more honest.

"That (message) was made loud and clear this week and I think we got results on the practice field," Cunningham said. "Now it depends on how we play in the game."

Delmas, who wasn't on the field for two of the Eagles' long plays on Sunday, was asked what he thought about Cunningham's challenge.

"With all due respect to my coach, I take that as an insult — in a good way," he said. "He's trying all he can to get us going. As safeties, and me as a leader, I need to do my job and get my teammates going. Coach Gun stated a fact. We didn't make no plays last week."

There are signs, though, that the clouds might be lifting. Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy, who has been out with a groin injury the last four weeks, is expected to make his first start. They might be without starting outside linebacker Zack Follett, though. He still hasn't passed all the necessary neurological tests after he was concussed on Sunday. If so, the Lions would start Landon Johnson.

Johnson started in place of Levy in the middle the last two games. The drop-off from Follett to Johnson on the outside will be far less than the drop off from Levy to Johnson was on the inside.

"I think we've made some headway," Cunningham said. "It's hard when you don't have everybody in place and we haven't had what we felt was our best 11 players on the field at the same time from preseason through the first two games. Levy and Delmas are back practicing now, so we will see what happens."

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 – Rushing touchdowns scored by the Lions in the last six meetings with the Vikings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He still has the same amazing 65-yard arm strength. They (Vikings) aren't scoring as much and they are missing some of their playmakers, but Brett looks about the same as always — ageless when it comes to that arm and his enthusiasm for the game." --Lions head coach Jim Schwartz on Brett Favre.

NOTES

  • DT Ndamukong Suh recently said via Twitter that he didn't think the Lions would lose another home game all season. To which Schwartz said, "It would be a story if he said the opposite."

  • WR Nate Burleson (ankle) did not practice again Thursday and is doubtful for Sunday. Derrick Williams would most likely be the third receiver, though TE Tony Scheffler will also see duty there in the Lions' two-tight end sets.

  • OG Stephen Peterman (foot) said he hoped to return to practice on Friday and he expects to play. Five-year vet Dylan Gandy has been playing in Peterman's right guard spot Wednesday and Thursday.

  • OLB Ashlee Palmer tweaked his ankle Thursday. He is expected to play.

  • QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) has already been ruled out for Sunday. Schwartz would not say whether he would dress as the third quarterback on Sunday.

  • FS Louis Delmas is battling soreness in his calf and biceps, in addition to the lingering groin issue. When asked if he felt 100 percent when he was on the field, he said, "When you are out there and you are not 100 percent, they are going to run right past you. Nobody even cares about (whether you are injured or not). All they know is you got beat for a touchdown and that's not what I'm about."


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