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News » Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-02

Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-02

Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2008-10-02
The Lions won't make many changes after the bye week. The biggest will be at running back, where veteran Rudi Johnson will start over rookie Kevin Smith. Johnson has looked stronger, faster and more explosive, and as long as he stays hot, he should get the ball. Smith will see some carries, however.

Rookie linebacker Jordon Dizon is not yet ready to play in the middle, even though he had the bye week to get even more comfortable with the system. The Lions simply trust veteran Paris Lenon to make all the calls.


--RG Stephen Peterman will get the cast off his broken hand Friday, but his chances of playing Sunday are dim. He likely will be replaced by Manny Ramirez.

--OT George Foster did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury. The Lions did not provide an update on his injury or his prospects for Sunday.

--CB Travis Fisher was limited in practice Wednesday because of a groin injury, but he moved around well and likely will be able to play Sunday.

--WR Roy Williams has complained about not getting the ball enough, and he doesn't seem happy about the adjustments the Lions made over the bye. He thinks Calvin Johnson will see more of an increase in catches than him.

--QB Drew Stanton's sprained thumb has healed and he will be available to play, but he likely will remain as the third quarterback despite some calls for him to start.

GAME PLAN: The Lions cannot afford to dig themselves another deep hole. In their first two games, they fell behind, 21-0. In their third game, they fell behind, 21-3. They need to be more aggressive on offense to put up points early, getting the ball to wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. The defense must be more aggressive to harass quarterback Kyle Orton, blitzing more often, because the four-man rush has not worked. The Lions have only three sacks in three games.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Bears pass defense - Johnson has 17 catches for 376 yards and two touchdowns in three games. He'll face Bears pass defense that has five interceptions. The Lions have been falling behind badly and need to be more aggressive on offense to keep from digging another big hole, in case the defense keeps giving up points. The Lions might give the ball to Johnson earlier and even more often, even if the Bears sit back in a Cover Two to try to take away the deep pass.

Lions FB Jerome Felton vs. Bears LB Brian Urlacher: Felton is 6-0 and 246 pounds, while Urlacher is 6-4 and 258. The matchup between Urlacher and former Lions fullback Cory Schlesinger used to be a classic. The collisions cost Schlesinger many a face mask. Now it's Felton's job to go against Urlacher - and Lance Briggs, too - as the Lions try to raise their running game from second-worst in the NFL.

Lions pass defense vs. Bears QB Kyle Orton: The Lions have three sacks and zero interceptions. But Orton has been sacked 10 times and has thrown four interceptions - two in each of his past two games. The Lions simply have not made enough plays on defense. They have lost three games to teams with a quarterback who had never started an NFL regular-season game before this season. Orton is a more stationary target in the pocket. They have to put pressure on him and make plays on the ball.

INJURY IMPACT: With RB Stephen Peterman likely out because of a broken hand, the Lions must turn to Manny Ramirez, a fourth-round pick last year who has played only one NFL game. The Lions like Ramirez, a road-grader, but he has little experience and the Lions' running game ranks second-worst in the league already.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 2, 2008

Don Muhlbach Name: Don Muhlbach
Position: C
Age: 26
Experience: 5 years
College: Texas A&M
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