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News » Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-17

Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-17

Detroit Lions Notes, Quotes 2009-03-17
--OLB Julian Peterson was acquired by the Lions, who sent DT Cory Redding and a fifth-round draft pick to the Seahawks. It's a swap of expensive contracts: Redding signed a seven-year, $47.8 million deal two years ago, while Peterson is three years into a seven-year, $54 million deal of his own. Peterson, who is due to make more than $6.5 million and count $8.8 million against the salary cap next season, declined taking a pay cut in Seattle, according to ESPN.com. He's expected to provide a much-needed outside pass-rushing presence for the Lions. Peterson was held to five sacks last season, but recorded a combined 19.5 in the two previous years.

--Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry is considered the safest pick in the draft. The main question is whether he is worth the pick as a strong-side linebacker, but Schwartz gave the strongest indication yet that Curry might be. Schwartz talked again about basing his defensive scheme on multidimensional players and not pigeon holing players by position, and he raved about Curry's versatility. "You don't draft a linebacker early unless he's a three-down player," Schwartz said. "I mean, a player that can't be on the field on third down, that's not an early draft pick. Aaron has size. He has speed. He has athletic ability. He could fill a lot of different roles."

--Then again, the Lions could take a left tackle. The Lions already have a left tackle in Jeff Backus, but he is not a Pro Bowler and they have an opening at left guard. Asked if Backus could move to guard, Schwartz left open the possibility - and indicated a rookie could play at guard and later move to tackle. "I think (Backus) has the physical tools that he could do it," said Schwartz, who was a defensive assistant in Baltimore from 1996-98. "He's obviously a proficient left tackle in the NFL. I've seen a lot of other tackles play guard. When I was with the Baltimore Ravens, Jonathan Ogden was a rookie, and he played left guard as a rookie because we had a left tackle that was an experienced player that he wasn't going to beat out that year. But he played left guard, did a good job at it, ended up moving to left tackle. I don't know that there's as much exclusivity in those positions as maybe some people think."

--Schwartz used to be the defensive coordinator in Tennessee, and his old star defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth, signed a huge free-agent contract with Washington. Did the Lions explore signing him?

"We looked real hard at it obviously," Schwartz said. "Every chance you get to improve your team, you're going to have to look at. But it was obviously pretty early on in that process that his money was going to be significant. Probably where we are as a team, it was more important for us to get more players rather than just one."

--Anthony Henry was a starting cornerback in Dallas before the Cowboys traded him to Detroit. But he's 32, and there was talk about moving him to safety there. What is the Lions' plan for him? "We're planning on starting him off at corner," Schwartz said. "The way I left it with him is, the ball's in his court. Whether he stays at corner or not won't be up to me at all. It will be up to him. He's a guy that's I think close to 33 years old, has a lot of experience in the NFL. The thing I like about him is, if we do choose to end up moving him to safety, he has that skill set that he can make that move, and there have been people that have done it - Troy Vincent, Rod Woodson. There's been a bunch. It's going to be performance."

--The Lions have a desperate need at linebacker. Why haven't they addressed that more in free agency? How does he see the Lions' current linebackers? "Sometimes it's a little bit of supply and demand," Schwartz said. "If you looked at the free agent linebackers, it wasn't as deep as maybe some corner or wide receiver or other positions that you could get help quickly. I think when you talk about our linebackers you have to start with Ernie Sims. He was a highly drafted player here that started pretty well and maybe had a little bump in the road last year. We need him to produce better. I think there's ways we can help him do that. And then next, I guess, you have to go to Jordon Dizon, a guy that was a second-round pick last year, and we need to find ways for him to be productive, and we need to find ways to fit him into our scheme."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's a saying, the NFL stands for 'Not For Long,' and it doesn't matter if you're 16-0 or 0-16. I think the players recognize that. The players know that the league provides us with the tools to be able to turn things around." -- Coach Jim Schwartz, on convincing free agents to join a team that went 0-16 last season.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 17, 2009

Dominic Raiola Name: Dominic Raiola
Position: C
Age: 29
Experience: 8 years
College: Nebraska
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