Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.

2/25/2015

Detroit Lions — Reggie Bush, a consummate pro, will be missed


When Reggie Bush first arrived in Detroit two years ago when he signed with the Lions as a free agent, he was a good fit right away.

The veteran running back was not shy and took on an immediate leadership role. It’s just the way he was.

He was always a professional.

Bush was released by the Lions on Wednesday with two years remaining on his contract.

Since he played at USC and once dated Kim Kardashian, Bush could have been all Hollywood. He was not. He seemed to fit right in to Detroit with a strong work ethic. He even has a passion for classic cars.

REGGIE BUSH PHOTOS HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2014

He took his responsibilities with the media seriously.

Last week at the NFL Combine, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew described Bush as a warrior. He said Bush played through his injury in the loss to Dallas in the playoffs.

“Reggie fought through some things throughout the entire season and was able to get on the field and compete that means a lot to me. I think the locker room respects him and I have great respect for him for that reason,’’ Mayhew said on Friday.

Before the season started offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who was with the New Orleans Saints when Bush was there, was pleased that Bush still had his trademark explosiveness.

But Bush injured his ankle and was hampered for much of the season, although he played in 11 games.

He turns 30 in March. 

It’s been a good run for Bush who could still find work with another NFL team.

He will be missed by his teammates and the Lions’ fans who got to know him.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)



Detroit Lions Mayhew: Ziggy Ansah can be phenomenal player


Two years ago when Ziggy Ansah was drafted by the Lions, it was considered somewhat of a risky pick.

Ansah had only played football for two full seasons at BYU. 

Safe to say now that drafting Ansah was an excellent move.

He’s been a standout in his first two seasons.

“I think he can be even better. I think he’s a good solid player right now, I think this guy can be a phenomenal player, a great player if he keeps coming the way he’s coming,’’ GM Martin Mayhew said. “He’s just been a guy who’s consistently improved at every stage, every step along the way.

“He’s continued to become a better pass rusher, he’s been working on that pretty hard. The guy is so athletic, so big so physical, he’s a dominant run defender, so this guy brings a lot to the table,’’ Mayhew said.

Ansah started all 16 games in 2014 and missed just two games in his rookie season. He had 7.5 sacks in 2014, second only to Ndamukong Suh (8.5) and eight sacks in 2013.

At the end of last season, coach Jim Caldwell said he thinks Ansah is just scratching the surface.

No doubt there’s still room for improvement.

“This is a really big offseason for him as far as coming back and continuing to build on what he started building,’’ Mayhew said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Check out transcript of chat discussing Detroit Lions

If you missed Thursday's chat where we  discussed the Detroit Lions and their possible offseason moves, check out the transcript here

Much of the discussion focused on  Ndamukong Suh, who can become a free agent on March 10.  Monday is the deadline to place a franchise tag on the defensive tackle. Will a deal get done before then?

Also there was plenty of talk on the NFL draft where the Lions have the 23rd overall pick. Join the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 5.


2/21/2015

Trae Waynes credits MSU coaches, teammates for his success


INDIANAPOLIS — Trae Waynes is just the latest cornerback with NFL talent to develop at Michigan State.

Darqueze Dennard, his friend and former Spartans teammate, was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft going 24th overall. He was the third cornerback selected.

Waynes has a good chance to be the first cornerback drafted.

“I would have to give all the credit to my coaches and the people before me,’’ Waynes said on Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I was fortunate to play under coach (Harlon) Barnett, coach (Pat) Narduzzi and coach (Mark) Dantonio and the guys I had in front of me to show me the ropes, like Darqueze they helped shape me into the player I am today.’’


While Waynes is ranked the top cornerback by many experts including CBSsports.com, he will let his test results determine that.

“I think a lot of it would depend on how I perform, hopefully I can perform at my highest level to move me up in the draft,’’ Waynes said.

When asked how he would defend a big wide receiver like Calvin Johnson, he had a quick reply: “With the bigger receivers my mindset is not to get into arm wrestling with them it’s almost pointless,’’ Waynes said. “I’d have to depend on my footwork and technique to mirror their routes, stand in front of them and try to throw off their timing as best as I can.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

NFL Combine — Marcus Peters needs to prove he's 'a good teammate'


INDIANAPOLIS — Marcus Peters may be one of the most talented cornerback prospects in the upcoming draft, but he’s going to have to convince NFL teams that he has changed.

Peters was kicked off the team at the University of Washington on Nov. 6 after repeated clashes with the coaching staff. He was ejected from a game earlier in the 2014 season when he was seen laughing on the sideline in a big loss to Oregon.


I really think in my heart, I’m a real, real good teammate,’’ Roberts said on Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine.


VIDEO OF MARCUS PETERS AT COMBINE

NFL teams, of course, are concerned about his behavior.


“Everybody wants to know if am I a hothead which is false. I made some immature decisions, I learned from them and I’ve grown as a man,’’ Peters said.


Asked if he thinks he’s the No. 1 cornerback in the draft, Roberts said, “Coaches they make that decision, I’ll bring a shut-down mentality to the game, I’m a ball hawk, I’m a team player,’’ Roberts said

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CBSsports.com has Michigan’s Trae Waynes projected as the top cornerback with Peters second and Quinten Rollins (Miami-Ohio) as third. Peters is a projected late first round or early second-round pick.


The Lions, who have the 23rd overall pick, always take the best player available in the draft. It's unlikely they would select Peters over concerns about his behavior. Same could happen with many NFL teams.

Even though he was kicked off the team, he will be participating in the pro day at Washington.


(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


2/20/2015

NFL Combine — Leterrius Walton proud to represent CMU


INDIANAPOLIS — Leterrius Walton said he wants to show teams at the NFL Scouting Combine how much he loves the game of football and how he can compete with anyone.

The defensive tackle, who played at Central Michigan, said he’s been treating the Combine like a game day. “Woke up at 4 o’clock this morning and been going ever since,’’ Walton said.

He was expected to talk to the Detroit Lions on Friday night.

The testing starts for defensive linemen on Saturday.


“I’m a big guy, I’m very athletic, I want to get out and show them I’m able to move and play on their teams for a long time,’’ said Walton who is 6-foot-5 and 321 pounds.

He played football, baseball and basketball at Clintondale High School.

“I was a pretty good baseball player, I played a lot of travel ball in my time,’’ Walton said. “A lot of different schools were looking at me for baseball. I love football, football is my sport.’’

CBSsports.com has projected Walton as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

He is one of three Chippewas invited to the Combine along with wide receiver Titus Davis and running back Thomas Rawls.

“It’s a big accomplishment for CMU. I know all three of us are here and we’re going to do our best and do it for CMU,’’ Walton said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)



Detroit Lions GM not concerned about Calvin Johnson's injuries


INDIANAPOLIS — Calvin Johnson is not going anywhere soon.

Just because he’s 29, it sounds like the Lions have no plans to move on from the wide receiver any time soon.

“Calvin’s a stud. Calvin’s a great player, he’s a phenomenal player. He has a very bright future, a very bright past. I plan on him being around for a long time. He’s a heck of a player,’’ general manager Martin Mayhew told Lions beat writers on Friday.

Johnson missed three games in 2014 with an ankle injury. He finished with 71 catches for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns.

“Like I said before, sometimes guys get injured. It’s not a big concern for me,’’ Mayhew said. “He’s another guy he gets out there and plays. There was one game this year, I think it was Buffalo, he gutted it out. He got out there and he got another shot that game in exactly the same spot which was unfortunate.

“This guy, he goes to war, he goes to war every week. He gives everything that he has. When you have a guy like that who’s one of the highest paid guys but he’s a great teammate, he’s great in the community and he works the way he works. That’s what you want,’’ Mayhew said.

“Then you have other guys in the locker room who aspire to be like him. They say they want to get paid what he gets paid. They better bring to the table the things he brings to the table.’’

That’s how you want your salary structure, you want to see (Matthew) Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh at the top of your pay scale. If you look around the league that’s not always the case. Guys at the top may not be great examples for guys in the locker room, but those three guys really are great examples for the other players we have. 

Johnson has offered to restructure his contract in order to re-sign Suh. Mayhew would not comment on that possibility. Johnson signed an eight-year $150.5 million contract in 2012. 

But Mayhew did not shy away from praising the wide receiver known as Megatron.

“I couldn’t be happier with Calvin, I’m glad I have the opportunity to witness his career because it’s something special,’’ Mayhew said.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Frank Clark looks for new beginning at NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS — Defensive lineman Frank Clark, who was kicked off the University of Michigan football team in November after a domestic violence arrest, said he accepts responsibility for his actions.

“I’m going to continue to grow from it, continue to learn from it and In the future hopefully one of these teams will give me a shot,’’ Clark said on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“It’s not like I fell out of love with the game, it’s like it made me love the game more just going through the things I went through, it made me appreciate the game more,’’ Clark said.

He’s been in counseling since November.


“Counseling has taught me how to be a man and how to accept responsibility for all my actions,’’ Clark said. “When you go through things in life whether good or bad you always got to learn from it. Counseling taught me how to grow up and how to learn from everything I go through. Whether I say it’s my fault or now, how to accept responsibility.’’

He said he’s talked to former Michigan coach Brady Hoke a number of times and they still have a great relationship. He said he has no hard feelings about Michigan or anyone.

“Basically I put myself in a position where I shouldn’t have been in anyway,’’ Clark said. 

He has to convince NFL teams, who are extremely concerned about character issues and in particular domestic violence, that he is worth taking a chance on.

“I mean it’s easy, but at the same time it’s hard because you can say I didn’t do anything, I can plead not guilty all I want,’’ Clark said. “At the end of the day when you look at domestic violence you don’t look at a 270-pound man and go, ‘Whoa did she hit him or did he hit her?’ Domestic violence you automatically assume the man had something to do with it.’’

The pre-trial hearing was Friday, but his attorney was handling the situation while Clark was at the Combine.





Detroit Lions Martin Mayhew proposes NFL instant replay change


INDIANAPOLIS — As promised, Martin Mayhew has proposed a change to the NFL’s instant replay rule. 

The Detroit Lions general manager offered up his idea on Thursday at the NFL General Managers Advisory Committee meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Basically what it does is keeps the instant replay rules the way that they are. One issue with complicating that rule it’s already a difficult enough to understand what you can challenge and what you can’t challenge,’’ Mayhew said on Friday.

“It keeps everything the same as it is, it just adds one caveat that is if an official throws a flag you can throw your challenge flag, you can challenge that call. If he doesn’t throw a flag you can’t challenge it,’’ Mayhew said.

“So you may have a questionable call during the game, but if it’s not called a penalty you can’t challenge it.

“What you don’t want to have is, all of a sudden, a quarterback throws a 70-yard bomb for a touchdown late in the game and somebody challenges that somebody out there was holding,’’ Mayhew said. “You don’t want that.’’

Of course, the change was proposed following the bad call in the Lions’ playoff game at Dallas when officials threw a flag for pass interference on an attempted catch by Brandon Pettigrew, made the announcement and then picked up the flag. 
This new rule would have allowed officials to use instant replay and get the call right.


“It doesn’t solve all the world’s problems. But I think one of the real travesties of the game, one of the things going on right now that could be a lot better — on Monday after the game people talk about the officials, the officiating and the bad calls, this call that happened, that call that happened,’’ Mayhew said. “I think they should be talking about the players on the field.

“I think Tony Romo played one of the better games I saw a quarterback play last year in that game. He was under duress, made decisions, put that last drive together,’’ Mayhew said. “I thought it was a valiant effort. The next week nobody really even recognized it or talked about ti. They were talking about the call.’’

He said at Thursday’s meeting about 60 percent of the members were against the measure and 40 percent in favor.

“I think what this proposal does it allows you to get more calls right. I think that’s what we really want to achieve,’’ Mayhew said. “I don’t think it slows the game down dramatically because the penalty flag has already been thrown.  So the game is stopped at that point. That would be one concern people voiced is that it might slow the game down, but I think the big takeaways are it’s going to probably be used on game-changing plays, on big-time plays that impact the game.

“It doesn’t complicate the rule unnecessarily, it doesn’t allow a fishing expedition to try to find a penalty ... the official has to make a affirmative act of throwing the flag,’’ Mayhew added.

The NFL competition committee will look at the proposal prior to the NFL owners meetings in March.

“They’ll watch video of a lot plays this rule would have impacted, then they’ll make a recommendation to the ownership,’’ Mayhew said.






2/19/2015

Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh makes fashion statement


INDIANAPOLIS — While there are many questions surrounding Ndamukong Suh, here’s a new one: What was he thinking with these shorts?

Michigan Football tweeted this photo on Thursday morning of Suh with coach Jim Harbaugh.

All’s good. It was apparent Suh was in the area when earlier in the week, he  tweeted about how cold it was in Detroit.

But those shorts.

Seriously.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said on Wednesday that he is still optimistic about getting a deal done with Suh. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)




2/18/2015

Duke's Laken Tomlinson compares to Lions' Larry Warford


INDIANAPOLIS — Two things about Laken Tomlinson: He watches Lions right guard Larry Warford to pick up tips and if he doesn’t make it in the NFL he could have a future in neurosurgery.

The Duke offensive guard has no plans, however, to fail in the NFL.

He’s a projected second-day pick before the Combine workouts.


It’s unknown if the Lions will bring back left guard Rob Sims which could be a good fit for Tomlinson.

“One of the things I want to market to all the teams is I’m one hell of a player and making a choice in me is probably the best investment they can make,’’ Tomlinson said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday. “I want to come in and be an immediate starter and have an immediate impact on the team.’’

He said he’s been compared to Warford, who has started for the Lions for two years.

“I’ve had some comparison to him, some people have said, ‘Oh you play like this guy.’ OK, let me go check him out and see how he plays,’’ Tomlinson said. “I watched tape on him and saw resemblance in my own technique so I continually watch more film on him. He has really nimble feet.’’

Tomlinson said the Lions have talked to him this week.

“Some of my strengths are I play with fundamentals, I play with great pad leverage and I’m a hell of a nasty player,’’ said Tomlinson who had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.

He’s also incredibly smart. At Duke he’s a pre-med and a psychology and evolutionary anthropology double major.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)






Check out transcript of Detroit Lions chat from NFL Combine

If you missed the special NFL Scouting Combine edition of the Lions weekly chat on Thursday, check out the transcript here. Plenty of discussion on Ndamukong Suh and possible draft picks for the Lions.

Join me for the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26. — Paula Pasche



Detroit Lions talk to Arizona State lineman Jamil Douglas


INDIANAPOLIS — Jamil Douglas has talked to several teams — including the Detroit Lions — so far at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Douglas, who played at Arizona State, moved from guard to tackle last season.

Douglas said the meeting with the Lions was like the others.

“Picking your brain, they like to get to know you,’’ Douglas said on Wednesday. “I sat down with the offensive line coach (Jeremiah Washburn) we talked a bit and it was a good meeting.”

The Lions are re-working the offensive line which will be without long-time center Dominic Raiola. It’s unknown if left guard Rob Sims will return.


Douglas said his versatility makes him more attractive. He moved from guard to tackle for his senior season. He said the teams he has talked to see him as both.

“I think it will play a huge difference, a lot of the teams I’ve talked to said they only travel seven linemen, so if you’re able to be versatile and play those different positions you can be one of those guys who travel.

“It’s helped me a tremendous amount and I’m thankful I did it,’’ Douglas said of the move.

He thought he was the most comfortable at guard as a sophomore and junior, but then was also comfortable after making the move to left tackle last season.

Douglas said he had also talked to the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs.

His dream was to be a basketball player but then he stopped growing when he hit 6-foot-4. His official weight was 304 with a 79-inch wingspan.

On many draft boards, Douglas is considered a fourth- or fifth-round pick. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)





Niners' Trent Baalke has moved on from Jim Harbaugh


INDIANAPOLIS — San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke has moved on from Jim Harbaugh.

The former 49ers coach told a San Jose Mercury News podcast that it was not a mutual decision that he would no longer coach the 49ers.

“Jim’s moved on, we’ve moved on, he’s got a heck of a job,’’ Baalke said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday morning. “We’ve got a new head football coach, we’re tying to get ready for the draft, free agency and the offseason program.’’

Harbaugh was hired as coach at Michigan on Dec. 30.

When pressed, Baalke still did not want to address the Harbaugh issue.

“Jim did a heck of a job he’s a heck of a coach, and I think once again he’s gone his direction we’ve gone ours,’’ Baalke said. “I feel very good about the direction we’re headed, I’m sure he does as well.’’

Harbaugh has been working with quarterback Jameis Winston prior to the Combine, according to USA Today. Winston was at the Michigan State at Michigan game on Tuesday night.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

2/17/2015

Detroit Lions make it official: Joe Marciano new special teams coordinator


After word leaked out 10 days ago, the Detroit Lions made it official on Tuesday that Joe Marciano has been hired as the special teams coordinator.

Marciano replaces John Bonamego who left the organization to become head football coach at Central Michigan.

Maricano spent 2014 as a special teams consultant for the Minnesota Vikings. Previous to that he served as the special teams coordinator for the Houston Texans for a dozen seasons (2002-2013).

Coach Jim Caldwell issued this statement: “Joe obviously has had a remarkable career. First of all, we were trying to find a guy that had a significant amount of experience. We have a fairly veteran team and we wanted to make certain that we had a guy in there who has been through it before and understands how to implement a new system. Not only that, he had results in the past. The role they (special teams coordinators) play is vast within the framework of a team because of the fact that they probably touch, motivate and talk to more players than anyone except for the head coach, so it requires a guy with a unique skill level to be able to do that. He has to be a fine communicator. He also has to have a real fine sense of talent and how to utilize that all within the framework of special teams.” 

The Lions coaching and scouting staffs will be in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Scouting Combine which starts on Wednesday.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

2/11/2015

Check out transcript from latest Lions' chat

If you missed Thursday's chat on the Detroit Lions, check out the transcript.

As you might imagine plenty of talk on Ndamukong Suh and what the offensive line might look like in September.

Join me for my next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19 from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche for updates..