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.


Easy to pick three stars after Lions win over Redskins

DETROIT -- After the Lions’ 37-25 win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday, it’s pretty easy to pick out the three stars of the game. (I realize it’s not hockey, lighten up.)

1. QB Matthew Stafford. He looked a bit rusty early, but was his cool, calm self. At half-time he regrouped, figured out how to attack and then went out and did it.

2. DT Ndamukong Suh. At half-time, Suh had played in exactly 6.5 NFL games and he had exactly 6.5 sacks, picking up two in the first half. Love that stat. Then to top it off, he picked up a fumble recovery and returned it for a touchdown. All in a day’s work for the rookie.

3. WR Calvin Johnson. In his fourth season on the team, perhaps the Lions are figuring out how to get him the ball. It’s about time. He had three touchdown receptions (nine catches, 101 yards) in the big win. He and Stafford were totally in sync. As Stafford said, “It was fun.”

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Levy a go, no surprises on Lions' active list

DETROIT -- It’s a full-go for a healthy Lions’ squad today against the Redskins at Ford Field. No surprises on the active list.

As expected Matthew Stafford and Jahvid Best will start.

DeAndre Levy will play his second game this season, starting at middle linebacker against the Redskins. He was expected to play, but had been listed on Friday’s injury report as questionable. He’s been out since he sprained his ankle at Minnesota on Sept. 26.

Everyone else on the injury report will play except for quarterback Shaun Hill who has a broken forearm. Derrick Williams will serve as the third quarterback.

WR Bryant Johnson (foot) and DE Turk McBride (ankle) were listed as questionable, but are active.

Inactives for Detroit are; RB Aaron Brown, CB Brandon McDonald, T Jason Fox, DE Willie Young and DE Lawrence Jackson.

Also, there were no surprises on the Redskins’ active list. RB Clinton Portis (groin) was listed as out on Friday.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Five things Lions must do to beat Redskins

Despite their 1-5 record the Lions are favored against the Redskins (4-3) on Sunday. Here are five things the Lions must do to win:

1. Run the ball effectively against the Redskins’ defense. This should be easier now that rookie Jahvid Best’s turf toe is better. The bye week helped and he said he is definitely close to being 100 percent. When Best was feeling good against the Eagles, he had his best game of his young career. He’s hungry for another 100-yard effort.

2. Quarterback Matthew Stafford must step in like he hadn’t missed the last five and a half games. The kid (he’s 22) is so confident that he thinks it will take just one or two plays to get back into the flow. Coach Jim Schwartz has so much faith in his quarterback he expects him to get back into it during pre-game warm-ups.

3. Stafford must be patient and give what the Redskins’ defense gives him. Wide receiver Nate Burleson said this is the offensive game plan. The Redskins are 31st in the NFL against the pass, but DeAngelo Hall can be effective as he showed last week when he had four interceptions against the Bears.

4. The return of middle linebacker DeAndre Levy, who is expected to play, should spark the defense and help out the linebacking group which has been inconsistent in the first six games, in large part because of injury. There’s a good chance fans might get their first look at Bobby Carpenter in a Lions uniform. They’ll be missing Zack Follett for the rest of the season.

5. The secondary must play its best game. After six games, the new guys should know the system. Louis Delmas, whose groin injury has slowed him down, practiced every day this week. The rest during the bye week helped him and many others.

Prediction: Lions 35, Redskins 21

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions vs. Redskins injury report for Sunday

LIONS -- LB Zack Follett (IR) and AB Shaun Hill (forearm) are out. WR Bryant Johnson (foot), MLB DeAndre Levy (ankle) and DE Turk McBride (ankle) are questionable. RB Jahvid Best (turf toe), S Louis Delmas (groin) and DT Andre Fluellen (concussion) are probable. REDSKINS -- RB Clinton Portis (groin) is out. T Jammal Brown (hip), T Stephon Heyer (ankle), S LaRon Landry (Achilles), S Kareem Moore (knee), FB Mike Sellers (foot), TE Chris Cooley (foot), CB DeAngelo Hall (back), G Kory Lichtensteiger (back), QB Donovan McNabb (hamstring), LB Brian Orakpo (ankle), C Casey Rabach (foot) and RB Chad Simpson (hamstring).

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Jahvid Best says he is close to 100 percent

ALLEN PARK -- Jahvid Best said he is close to 100 percent which is good news for the Lions who need to increase the production of their running game.

The rookie running back has not missed a game, but has dealt with turf toe on both feet. First it was his left big toe. That went away in a week or so, then he got it on his right foot. That has lingered. There is no cure for turf toe except rest so the bye week was a plus to getting him closer to 100 percent.

“Any kind of pressure I put on my foot it would hurt,’’ Best said on Friday.

His teammates can see a difference on the practice field. This week he practiced on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

“Before the bye week he wasn’t practicing until Friday, he wasn’t doing anything. He’s a tough kid and he’s sucking it up, he looks healthier,’’ center Dominic Raiola said.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Healthy squad prepares for Redskins

ALLEN PARK -- The Lions’ full team practice today (Friday) was just that. Again, all were participating except quarterback Shaun Hill (broken forearm).

With Matthew Stafford back on offense and DeAndre Levy back at middle linebacker, this team should look much more like it was expected to look all season.

The Lions are a favorite over the Redskins for a reason. It won’t be easy, but the Lions should win on Sunday. No excuses acceptable.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions optimistic Follett will return next season

ALLEN PARK -- The Lions are optimistic that linebacker Zack Follett will return to action next season.

“We remain optimistic, from where he was on the field to where he is now, he’s had a lot of good news. Any time you’re talking about necks and backs, there’s going to be a certain amount of gray area so to speak,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. “We’re optimistic that he’ll be able to continue. We’re still evaluating we’re still gathering information, he’s still gathering information.’’

Follett was shut down for the remainder of this season when he was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday night.

He injured his neck after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the loss at the Giants on Oct. 17.

“As we continue to be optimistic about Zack’s recovery and where he is, we also have to be a little bit realistic on his availability to come back at a point this year,’’ Schwartz said.

It has been his philosophy to err on the side of caution when it comes to injuries.

“He’s still getting more and more information, more and more tests done, but we don’t have any reason not to be optimistic. It probably makes a little more sense not to put it on the radar screen for this year,’’ Schwartz added.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Everyone in at practice including CB McDonald

ALLEN PARK -- Just a week ago, 19 Lions were held out of practice. Today (Thursday) that number was down to one.

Quarterback Shaun Hill (broken forearm) was the only Lion not participating in the early drills that are open to the media.

Running back Jahvid Best (turf toe) and MLB DeAndre Levy (ankle) were back at it which is a good sign that they will play on Sunday vs. Redskins at Ford Field.

Also, the Lions confirmed that they claimed CB Brandon McDonald off waivers. He practiced wearing No. 33. He will add depth to the cornerback position.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Big question now: Is Follett's NFL career over?

ALLEN PARK -- After receiving word on Wednesday night that Lions linebacker Zack Follett is done for the season, it’s possible we’ll learn more today (Thursday) about the situation.

Follett injured his neck in a helmet-on-helmet collision in the loss to the Giants on Oct. 17. He was placed on injured reserve Wednesday night.

Hopefully for Follett and the Lions, he will be able to come back next season. Follett is a football player -- and that’s a compliment. Works hard, is a good teammate and excels at hard hits. He took the challenge of becoming a starting linebacker this year and met it after spending most of his rookie season on special teams.

Follett is living proof that seventh-round draft picks can play a key role on an NFL team.

If Follett speaks today and/or the team expands on his injury situation, I will have the information here.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Everyone practices except Shaun Hill, Follett

ALLEN PARK -- Starting on Sunday injuries will no longer play a factor in the Lions success or lack of it.

At practice today (Wednesday) everyone was a go except for the two obvious injured players -- quarterback Shaun Hill who has his broken forearm in a cast and linebacker Zack Follett who will see a spine specialist on Thursday to help determine if he will be able to finish out the season.

Running back Jahvid Best took drills with the other running backs unlike on Tuesday when he ran alone on the sideline.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy, who has been slowed down most recently with an ankle injury, looked fine in the drills.

The Lions (1-5) play the Washington Redskins (4-3) at Ford Field on Sunday.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions take cautious approach with Jahvid Best

Jahvid Best did not go through early drills in Tuesday’s practice, but instead was running along the sidelines with a trainer.

The rookie running back has not missed a game, but has been hampered with turf toe all season. The Lions are taking a cautious approach with him.

“You need to balance his getting reps in practice and going through everything with his availability on Sunday and his availability over the course of the season and putting that injury behind him. I think we’re on the right track there,’’ Schwartz said.

The fact that the Lions are coming off their bye week is obviously also helpful to Best.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions mostly healthy in rare Tuesday practice

ALLEN PARK -- It was mostly a healthy bunch of Lions participating in practice today (Tuesday).

Key participants were quarterback Matthew Stafford and middle linebacker DeAndre Levy. Stafford (shoulder) hasn’t played since the first half of the opener at Chicago and Levy (ankle, groin) has been in just one game (at the Vikings) all season.

Running back Jahvid Best (toe) was not going through early drills, but instead was running along the sidelines with a trainer.

Also missing were tight end Will Heller and defensive tackle Andre Fluellen. Neither practiced last Wednesday and Thursday.

As expected QB Shaun Hill was watching, but not participating. His broken arm is no longer in a sling like it was last week.

Linebacker Zack Follett, who was injured in the Giants game, tweeted last Thursday that he will see a spine specialist this Thursday.

Coming off a bye week, the Lions play the Redskins at Ford Field on Sunday. (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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After bye, Lions should be rested and ready

In the NFL, health can mean everything. The Lions have been hit hard by injuries since the first half of the opener when they lost starting QB Matthew Stafford.

While other NFL teams are starting to lose players to injury, the Lions are starting to get guys back. It’s a good sign.

Even though the Washington Redskins managed to win Sunday’s game at Chicago, the Lions should have a good chance to meet them on Sunday when they play at Ford Field.

The Lions had a bye on Sunday and will be coming back a rested and healthier squad.

First, barring any setbacks, Stafford should be the starting quarterback. He hasn’t played since the first half of the opener at Chicago. He said on Thursday that he’s pain-free and because of the nature of the injury -- it was an A.C. separation -- all the zing will remain in his throwing.

Calvin Johnson didn’t miss the last game with a shoulder injury, but rest should bring him closer to 100 percent too.

Jahvid Best, who has played with turf toe, and has not been able to participate in many practices should be closer to healthy too.

The defense will be missing one starter for sure. Zack Follett tweeted last week that he will see a spine specialist this Thursday.

Coach Jim Schwartz said the plan is for middle linebacker DeAndre Levy to start. He’s only played one game and has been out the last three games with an ankle injury. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday which was not a good sign. If he’s back, you’ll see a difference in the defense.

The Lions have Monday off. They started preparing for the Redskins last week and will go full-out when they get back to work on Tuesday.

Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Among late acquisitions, Alphonso Smith stands out

Since mid-August, the Lions have acquired three players who were first- or second-round draft picks in recent years. Each needed a fresh start.

If there’s a need, general manager Martin Mayhew is on the case. All three additions have come on defense which is certainly no surprise.

Cornerback Alphonso Smith, a second-round pick in 2009 (37th overall) came to Detroit in a trade that sent tight end Dan Gronkowski to the Broncos on Sept. 4.

Defensive end Lawrence Jackson, a former 2008 first-round pick by Seattle (28th overall, out of USC), arrived Aug. 18 after the Lions traded a sixth-round pick in 2011 to the Seahawks.

Just last week the Lions signed linebacker Bobby Carpenter, a first-round pick by Dallas in 2006 (18th overall out of Ohio State), who was cut by the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.

In the offseason coach Jim Schwartz repeatedly said that the roster was not written in stone. That the Lions could still sign a player who would be a game-changer.

Will one of these three be the guy?

First, it’s too early to tell on Carpenter. His first practice with the Lions was Thursday. With the shortage at linebacker due to injuries, he could be thrown into action next Sunday against the Washington Redskins. He’s got experience inside and outside which made him more attractive because the Lions are short at both.

We’ll give Jackson an incomplete. He was slowed down from the get-go when he arrived with a hamstring injury. He’s seen some game action, but it’s too early to see what an impact he could make.

The winning grade so far goes to Alphonso Smith who played so well at nickel back that it was difficult to keep him off the field. He had an interception in three straight games and has started the last two games. Last year at Denver he played in 15 games with zero interceptions.

Schwartz likes him because he has a nose for the ball. While at Wake Forest he became the ACC’s all-time leader in career interceptions with 21. Some things don’t change, despite the move from college to the pros. (Perhaps it was the thin air in Denver or the system.)

Smith is looking more and more like a quite a pickup. Could he be a game-changer?


(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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For Lions, three questions loom at linebacker

When the Lions get back to practice on Tuesday to prepare for the Washington Redskins they will face three questions regarding the linebackers.

1. Will DeAndre Levy be ready to go? The middle linebacker’s bad luck has been costly to the Lions defense. He had a stiff back in training camp then pulled a groin in the preseason. He played in one game -- at Minnesota -- and sprained an ankle. That has kept him out ever since. Coach Jim Schwartz said the hope is to have him back against the Redskins, but Levy did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. All he did was stretch with the team and then ran a few drills on the sideline on Thursday

The Lions have built their defensive back seven around Levy and safety Louis Delmas who is playing despite a groin injury. Neither has been close to 100 percent all season.

If they are to find success in the final 10 games of the season they need Levy in there. In the first six games they played five different linebackers in the middle -- Levy, Landon Johnson, Ashlee Palmer, Spencer Havner (who has been waived/injured) and Vinny Ciurciu who was brought back the week prior to the Giants game. This doesn’t even count Jordon Dizon, who should have been the backup in the middle, who was lost for the season during training camp.

2. Will Zack Follett, who has started five games on the outside, return this season? No one knows the answer to this. Follett missed one start because of a concussion, but this injury that resulted from a helmet-to-helmet hit in the Giants game is neck related. Follett tweeted on Thursday that he’s getting more movement in his neck and that he will see a spinal specialist next Thursday. He’s tough, he’s the pain train. But whether he can come back has nothing to do with toughness.

3. How much can Bobby Carpenter help and how soon will he be ready to step in? Carpenter was signed this week and was at his first Lions’ practice on Thursday. He’s played mostly in a 3-4 alignment, but was in training camp last summer with the Rams who play a 4-3. He’s played inside and outside. Last season, which Schwartz calls his best in the NFL, he played nickel linebacker for the Cowboys. If he’s a fast learner and has something to offer he could help the linebacking depth.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Schwartz looking to make a run in final 10 games

BLOOMFIELD TWP. -- Lions coach Jim Schwartz was warmly welcomed as the guest speaker at the annual Oakland Hills Country Club caddies dinner on Thursday night.

The coach pulled out his golf-speak when addressing the Lions 1-5 start.

“We’ve hit the green but we haven’t been able to sink any putts,’’ Schwartz said.

But he assured those in attendance that the Lions would get it turned around.

With 10 games remaining, he said, “There’s no reason we can’t make a run.’’

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Bobby Carpenter practices; 19 others sit out

ALLEN PARK -- Linebacker Bobby Carpenter participated in Lions practice today (Thursday) while 19 others were out.

Carpenter, a former first-round pick out of Ohio State, worked out for the Lions on Wednesday after being cut by the Dolphins on Tuesday.

It’s a bye week for the Lions, so some of the players not practicing are just getting rest. Quarterback Matthew Stafford returned for the second straight day.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy, defensive end Turk McBride and running back Kevin Smith were doing drills along the sidelines, but not practicing on the field.

Levy, who said last week his ankle is feeling much better, has only played one game this season. His presence should shore up the defense especially with the loss of LB Zack Follett.

Quarterback Shaun Hill was watching with his left arm in a sling following surgery on his broken arm on Monday.

Others not practicing were: WR Calvin Johnson (shoulder), S Louis Delmas (groin), RB Jahvid Best (toe), WR Nate Burleson (ankle), CB Alphonso Smith, WR Bryant Johnson, DT Andre Fluellen, RG Stephen Peterman, TE Will Heller, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DT Corey Williams, TE Brandon Pettigrew, LT Jeff Backus and CB Nathan Vasher (nose/biceps).

Cornerback Paul Pratt who was activated to the 53-man roster over the weekend is back on the practice squad.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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LB Bobby Carpenter works out for Lions

ALLEN PARK -- Linebacker Bobby Carpenter worked out for the Lions today (Wednesday).

The Lions have a shortage at linebacker with the injury to Zack Follett and the continuing healthy issues with DeAndre Levy (ankle, groin).

Carpenter, a first-round pick out of Ohio State by Dallas in 2006, was cut by Miami on Tuesday for poor special teams play. He was the starting nickel linebacker for the Cowboys last season and was traded to St. Louis in the offseason. He was cut by the Rams on Sept. 4 and picked up by Miami.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)


After cuts, Lions have two open roster spots

ALLEN PARK -- The Lions have two roster openings after they cut cornerbacks Dante Wesley and Paul Pratt.

Wesley was called for a personal foul penalty late in the third quarter on Sunday at the Giants. Pratt was signed from the practice squad on the weekend.

Also cornerback Jack Williams was taken off the physically unable to perform list. The Lions have 21 days to activate him or make another move. Until then he does not count against the roster.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Stafford practices, Levy and 17 others do not

ALLEN PARK -- Quarterback Matthew Stafford was one of the few starters who participated in Lions practice today (Wednesday). Stafford has not played since the first half of the opener at Chicago when he injured his throwing shoulder.

The Lions have a bye on Sunday, so it’s likely some of the 18 Lions who did not practice are being given rest.

Coach Jim Schwartz indicated on Monday he was hoping to have middle linebacker DeAndre Levy back for next game -- against the Redskins on Oct. 31. But Levy (ankle, groin) stretched with his teammates but did nothing else.

Linebacker Zack Follett was absent which was expected after his collision on Sunday. Quarterback Shaun Hill was watching with his left arm in a sling following surgery on his broken arm on Monday.

Others not practicing were: WR Calvin Johnson (shoulder), S Louis Delmas (groin), RB Jahvid Best (toe), RB Kevin Smith (knee), WR Nate Burleson (ankle), CB Alphonso Smith, WR Bryant Johnson, DT Andre Fluellen, RG Stephen Peterman, TE Will Heller, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, DT Corey Williams, TE Brandon Pettigrew, LT Jeff Backus and CB Nathan Vasher (nose/biceps).

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Violence in NFL, college needs to be addressed

On the same field, the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, two football players went down in two days on kickoff returns and had to be carted off and sent to the hospital.

On Saturday during the Rutgers-Army game, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand collided with an Army player on a kickoff return.He suffered a spinal cord injury, underwent lengthy surgery and the hope is that one day he will be able to walk again. But nothing is certain at this point. In one play his life changes.

On Sunday, at the same field, Lions linebacker Zack Follett crumbled to the turf after a helmet-to-helmet hit on a kickoff. Luckily, his news seems much more optimistic. Test news was positive and he flew back to Detroit on Monday.

Football has gotten so violent that Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson said he’s glad to get out of each game without an injury.

He said when QB Shaun Hill went out with a broken arm in the first half Sunday, then Follett had to be carted off on a back board, it did not give him the feeling of what or who would be next and there was good reason for that.

“I would feel sorry for myself and this team but this is such a violent sport and being in it eight years nothing surprises me,’’ Burleson said. “When I was younger in the NFL I always was caught off-guard by how many injuries I see, but nowadays I’m thankful to make it through a game, as fast and as big and as hard as these guys hit. It’s tough. The thing that makes us comfortable is knowing that the guy stepping in has done that job previously.’’

Kicker Jason Hanson has a little different perspective since he’s in his 19th year in the league, not to mention he’s a kicker.

“It’s a violent game out there. I sit back, I used to sometimes think I was one of the guys, you see what they’re doing I could never withstand that. It’s incredibly powerful and some of it’s the nature of the game. Some (way to change it is) they have to take more precautions, some of it will be the guys realizing ‘I can’t hit that way I’m putting everyone in jeopardy, myself and the other player,’’’ Hanson said.

With a few violent head-on collisions in Sunday’s games, the issue of violence is being revisited this week.

Violence has to be controlled in some fashion or no one will be left to play the game. Parents are watching and have to make the decision whether they want their child to play in such a violent environment.

Burleson said if he had the choice his son would grow up to play a non-violent sport like golf or baseball.

“It’s a dilemma the league will face for a long time because it’s a game where you hit each other,’’ Hanson said.

The NFL has now said they will monitor illegal hits more closely.

Ray Anderson, the NFL vice president of football operations, said on an ESPN radio show on Tuesday that the league is watching and will be enforcing the existing rules regarding head shots more closely.

"If there are flagrant and egregious violations of our current rules, we will be enforcing effective immediately discipline at a higher level," Anderson said. "We need to get our players firmly in line with the current rules, and that's what our intentions are, effective immediately."

It’s a step. No one is certain if it will be enough.

(Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at

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After scare, Follett on his way back to Detroit

ALLEN PARK -- Zack Follett was released from the hospital in New Jersey on Monday and sent back to Detroit.

Follett lost consciousness and temporarily feeling in his extremities after a helmet-to-helmet hit on a kickoff in Sunday’s 28-20 loss at the Giants.

“He’s doing a lot better. His tests all came back very, very encouraging, we look forward to a quick recover and seeing him back on the field some time,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said.

There is no relation to Follett’s concussion of a few weeks ago. “This injury has nothing to do with a concussion,’’ Schwartz said.

Whenever the team got an update from the hospital on Sunday, Schwartz shared it with the players. Follett had his cell phone and was also able to call many of his teammates.

Follett also sent a Tweet on Sunday night thanking everyone for their prayers and saying he was OK. You can follow him on Twitter @ZakarianFollett.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Early news on Zack Follett sounds positive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In the NFL they keep ambulances on site for a reason.

Lions linebacker Zack Follett was the reason on Sunday in the Lions’ 28-20 loss to the N.Y. Giants at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

On a kickoff return, Follett was trying to bust a wedge, when he took a helmet-on-helmet hit and collapsed to the turf.

He appeared motionless as medical personnel from both teams gathered and eventually placed him on a back board and had him carted off the field. He was shipped to Hackensack Medical Center.

“Any time they bring a back board out for a player it’s a scary situation. Our players were very concerned ...’’ Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zack. He’s a valuable member of this team, he’s a favorite in our locker room, he’s a favorite across the city of Detroit and rightfully so. We’ll keep him in our prayers and hope for the best.’’

The news after the game appeared to be positive. According to a Lions spokesman, there was no evidence of a fracture of the cervical spine. He also had movement in all four extremities. He stayed the night in New Jersey where he was expected to undergo extensive tests and evaluation.

As Follett was attended to on the field, his teammates gathered around him, some on bended knee.

“That’s a sad situation, at some point they have to outlaw the wedge in football. It’s the wedge period. You’ve got two 300-pound guys coming to you, they want you to hit the wedge,’’ safety C.C. Brown said.

The Lions had to regroup and try to win the football game.

“Zack got hurt, it was what it was. We knew what it was. We were down four points, we kept Zack in our minds but it didn’t change what we were trying to do,’’ center Dominic Raiola said.

Safety Louis Delmas called the situation mind-boggling.

Quarterback Drew Stanton, who played the second half for the injured Shaun Hill, had enough on his mind.

“It’s unfortunate. You’re out there trying to win a football game, but then reality sets in that we’re just playing a game. We hope he’s all right,’’ Stanton said. (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Report: QB Shaun Hill has broken forearm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- And now Shaun Hill goes down and out.

Injuries have been hurting the Lions since the first half of the opener at Chicago when they lost Matthew Stafford with a separated throwing shoulder.

Hill has been playing well in Stafford’s place, but was lost in the first half of today’s game at the Giants with a left arm injury. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting it’s a broken left forearm.

Drew Stanton stepped in and will finish the game.

The Lions are down 21-10 at the end of the third.

The bye next week could absolutely not come at a better time for Detroit. Presuming Stafford has no setbacks, he should be ready to start in two weeks against the Redskins at Ford Field.

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Hill to start at Giants; Stafford third QB

AST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Shaun Hill will get his fifth straight start at quarterback for the Lions today vs. the Giants. Matthew Stafford will be the third quarterback, the first time he’s served in this capacity since he was injured in the opener.

Ashlee Palmer will start at middle linebacker as expected with DeAndre Levy (ankle, groin) and Landon Johnson (concussion) inactive.

WR Calvin Johnson, who was limited in practice all week with a shoulder injury, is active.

No other surprises on the inactive list. Also out for the Lions are RB Aaron Brown (hand), CB Nathan Vasher (nose/biceps) and DE Turk McBride (ankle).

Coach’s decisions are: T Jason Fox and DE Willie Young.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day at New Meadowlands Stadium, but the wind could be a factor.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Five things Lions must do to have chance at beating Giants

The Lions are 10-point underdogs for Sunday’s game at he N.Y. Giants. With a loss they could tie the NFL record with 24 straight road losses, but that is not on their minds. All they are thinking about is a possible two-game win streak heading into the bye week.

Here are five things the Lions must do to beat the Giants:

1. Establish the running game early. The Giants, who have 13 sacks in their last two games, can’t sack the quarterback if they are running the ball.

2. The offensive line must give Shaun Hill plenty of time. They were able to do this last week in the win over the Rams, but the Giants defensive line is bigger, stronger and better.

3. Spread the wealth on offense. Last Sunday Hill connected with five different teammates who each had four receptions. A remarkable stat. If the defense and special teams could pitch in to put points on the scoreboard all the better.

4. The safeties have ton continue their improved play. Louis Delmas has looked more like his old self in the last few weeks, he needs to lead the pack for the defensive backs.

5. The Lions’ defensive line must pressure Eli Manning early and often. This isn’t a stretch, they’ve done it during the first five games.

Prediction: Giants 27, Lions 24.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Stafford a possibility to play Sunday at Giants

For the first time since his injury Lions QB Matthew Stafford has not been declared out for Sunday’s game on Friday’s injury report.

Stafford had limited practice on Friday, along with WR Calvin Johnson who injured his shoulder on Sunday.

Both of them could be game-day decisions because coach Jim Schwartz did not rule either of them out.

If Stafford is active does that mean he will play?

"We’re probably ahead of ourselves there, just talking about it, but we’ll see Sunday. If he is able to get back, it has shown that he’s right on track and he’s healthy enough to be able to be in a game. But let’s wait until Sunday before we start… let’s not get ahead of ourselves,’’ Schwartz said.

Stafford separated his throwing shoulder in the first half of the opener at Chicago and has not played since.

Backup Shaun Hill has started four straight games and led the Lions to a 44-6 shellacking of the Rams last Sunday.

Schwartz would not announce on Friday if Hill would start, but it seems likely that he will.

The coach said Calvin Johnson has improved every day this week.

"Where he’ll be Sunday we really don’t know right now. But he’s improved every single day so far. He hasn’t had any setbacks,’’ Schwartz said.

Stafford and Calvin Johnson, along with LB Landon Johnson, are officially listed as questionable on the injury report.

RB Jahvid Best, WR Nate Burleson, S Louis Delmas and KR Stefan Logan are listed as probable while LB DeAndre Levy, CB Nathan Vasher and DE Turk McBride are out.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Ciurciu thrilled the Lions wanted him back

Playing at the New York Giants on Sunday will be special for linebacker Vinny Ciurciu who was just brought back by the Lions on Thursday.

“It’s really cool. I grew up watching the Giants, it will good to go back, my family will be able to watch me,’’ said Ciurciu who grew up in New Jersey.

He had to scrounge for tickets once he got back to town this week.

Ciurciu played nine games for the Lions last season and spent the whole offseason with the team before he was cut on Sept. 4.

With the situation so desperate at middle linebacker because of injuries he got the call. He had been working out and managing apartments back in New Jersey.

“It’s really humbling to go from playing football to a 9 to 5 job. You get to appreciate what the NFL is all about and how lucky and special this job really is,’’ Ciurciu said.

On Sunday expect to see him on special teams and possibly in on defense.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Expect Shaun Hill to start on Sunday

ALLEN PARK -- Still no announcement today (Thursday) from coach Jim Schwartz on the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at the N.Y. Giants.

Expect it to be Shaun Hill even if Schwartz has not made it official.

Matthew Stafford said today that is shoulder is progressing with no setbacks. While he has thrown on his own, he hasn’t participated in practice. He separated his shoulder in the first half of the opener at Chicago.

Stafford would not say if he had a chance to play on Sunday. Under coach’s orders players can not be specific on their injury situations.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Calvin Johnson, Best practice; still no go for Stafford

ALLEN PARK -- Calvin Johnson caught a few balls at practice today (Thursday) which was a bit of an improvement over Wednesday when he just ran routes. The Lions wide receiver still looked like he was treating his right shoulder gingerly.

He fell awkwardly on the shoulder early in Sunday’s win over the Rams.

Matthew Stafford did not throw at practice which pretty much rules him out for Sunday although Jim Schwartz has not made it official.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy, who said on Wednesday that his ankle is much better, hoped to practice today but did not.

RB Jahvid Best (toe) did not practice on Wednesday but was back today.

Others out were LB Landon Johnson (concussion), CB Nathan Vasher (nose, biceps) and DE Turk McBride (ankle).

Also Lions brought back LB Vinny Ciurciu and waived/injured LB Spencer Havner.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Schwartz leaves door open for Stafford to start Sunday

ALLEN PARK -- Coach Jim Schwartz did not make an announcement today (Wednesday) on whether Matthew Stafford or Shaun Hill will start at quarterback on Sunday at the N.Y. Giants.

“It’s probably an indication that Matt is making good progress and it’s probably too early to make any announcements,’’ Schwartz said.

The coach would not be more specific about Stafford’s progress.

The last four Wednesdays Schwartz has announced that Hill would start. Stafford separated his throwing shoulder in the opener at Chicago and has not played since.

Reportedly he has been throwing on his own the past two weeks. In a radio interview on Monday Stafford said it felt “pretty good.” He politely declined to talk to the media on Wednesday.

Calvin Johnson, who injured his right shoulder early in the fourth quarter on Sunday, said his issue is range of motion. He was on the practice field, but did not have any balls thrown his way. It’s uncertain if he will be ready to play against the Giants.

“It’s just how it feels come Sunday,’’ Johnson said.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Stefan Logan is NFC special teams player of the week

ALLEN PARK -- Lions return specialist Stefan Logan has been named the NFC’s special teams player of the week.

Logan returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown in Sunday’s 44-6 win over the Rams. It tied the Lions’ record for longest touchdown return.

More importantly it put the Lions up 10-3 early in the game and provided a spark for the offense and defense.

Logan, who is just 5-foot-6, was cut by the Steelers on Sept. 4 and signed by the Lions two days later.

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Calvin Johnson limited; Stafford, Levy, Best do not practice

ALLEN PARK --Calvin Johnson was at practice today (Wednesday), but no balls were thrown his way. The Lions wide receiver fell awkwardly on his right shoulder early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 44-6 win over St. Louis. He did not finish the game.

Johnson participated in drills and ran routes, but didn’t have a chance to catch in the early part of practice that the media could witness.

Three middle linebackers did not practice -- DeAndre Levy (ankle, groin), Landon Johnson and Spencer Havner. Johnson left Sunday’s game with an illness. It is unknown what is wrong with Havner. If all three are out on Sunday it’s likely Isaiah Ekejiuba would start at middle linebacker.

Those not practicing also included RB Jahvid Best (toe) who could just be resting to stay healthy for Sunday.

QB Matthew Stafford was not practicing. It seems highly unlikely that he will play on Sunday at the Giants. Coach Jim Schwartz could make an announcement on the starting quarterback at the end of practice.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions could tie road losing streak record this Sunday

With a loss on Sunday against the Giants at the new Meadowlands the Lions could tie the NFL record with 24 straight road losses.

Of course they would tie themselves. The Lions from 2001-2003 set the record at 24.

Guess what? These 2010 Lions want no part of the record. They don’t feel they own it and many of them have been around for only the last three road losses.

Don’t blame them. They wear the same uniforms, but this is a much different team than the Lions put on the field in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Coach Jim Schwartz will not even mention the streak to his team this week.

"These guys, is that fair to put that on Shaun Hill, or Julian Peterson or Kyle Vanden Bosch? If we had the same team for all that time and we were all through that, then maybe it is something we’d talk about. We talk an awful lot about things we put on film in the first four weeks of the year and how we needed to approve. Writing what happened for the last couple years isn’t part of that,’’ said Schwartz who has lost 11 straight road games as the Lions head coach.

The coach sees good reasons why the Lions have struggled on the road.

"We haven’t been a very good football team. We haven’t won very many games at all. Like I’ve said before, you don’t win on the road because you know how to pack a suitcase or guys look good in a suit,’’ Schwartz said. “You win on the road because you have good players that play well, that fit a scheme, that are coached well. We haven’t done a good job of doing that. When we do, we’ll win on the road."

Schwartz’s record as head coach is 3-18. But on the positive side, he’s riding a one-game winning streak.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions Calvin Johnson has more tests on shoulder

ALLEN PARK -- No news on condition of Calvin Johnson’s shoulder after he fell on it in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 44-6 win over the Rams.

Coach Jim Schwartz said if the Lions practiced today (Monday) he would not be able to go. The coach said more tests were being done.

Also, Schwartz said that QB Matthew Stafford continues to progress with his shoulder injury. He was expected to throw today. He said Stafford has had no setbacks. Shaun Hill has started the last four games.

After Sunday at the New York Giants, the Lions have their bye week. It would seem they’d give Stafford another week off if he was close and considering the Giants have 13 sacks in the last eight quarters.

But Schwartz said Stafford will play when he is ready.

Neither Johnson or Stafford were available to talk to the media today.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

After big win, Lions have to maintain focus

ALLEN PARK -- It’s called the 24-hour rule. Twenty-four hours after a game, the Lions have to forget about it and move on to plan for the next opponent.

It works for losses and wins like Sunday’s 44-6 blowout of the St. Louis Rams.

“We have to make sure we don’t get a hangover from this win because I think you don’t want to make it more than it is, it’s just one win,’’ center Dominic Raiola said after the game. “I think it’s important we enjoy it, put it to rest tomorrow and we start talking about New York already. That’s a team that lost early, but now they’re on the rise.’’

The Lions (1-4) play at the New York Giants (3-2) on Sunday. Instead of tying the NFL record for 24 straight road losses, the Lions would like to roll up a two-game win streak.

One thing is for sure, Raiola and the other leaders of the team will keep them focused on the task at hand.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Best, Burleson, Scheffler active for Lions

DETROIT -- RB Jahvid Best, TE Tony Scheffler and WR Nate Burleson were all questionable for today’s game vs. the St. Louis Rams, but all three will play.

The coaches must have faith that Best’s turf toe will not bother him much because the only other active running backs are Kevin Smith and FB Jerome Felton.

Running backs Aaron Brown is out with a broken hand and Maurice Morris is inactive as a coach’s decision.

One position change of note is that Alphonso Smith will start at right cornerback instead of Jonathan Wade. Smith has an interception in each of the last two games so this is not unexpected.

DE Lawrence Jackson, who also was not on the injury report, is inactive.

QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) and MLB DeAndre Levy (groin, ankle) were listed on Friday’s injury report as out.

Shaun Hill will get his fourth straight start at QB with Landon Johnson starting in place of Levy.

Others who are inactive are T Jamon Meredith, T Jason Fox and DE Willie Young.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Rams present golden opportunity for a Lions' win

While the St. Louis Rams haven’t won on the road, the Detroit Lions, as we know, haven’t won anywhere.

Sunday is a golden opportunity and they should grab it. Detroit played three of its first four on the road and will be on the road next Sunday at the New York Giants before their bye week.

This team seems to have the right attitude for an 0-4 team, if there is such a thing. But to go into next week 0-5 would test the strongest of souls.

The Lions are missing two key players in Matthew Stafford and DeAndre Levy, but Nate Burleson will be back and Jahvid Best will be in. Best had his best day so far at the Ford Field against the Eagles, he needs to match that on Sunday.

The Lions can win this game but it won’t be easy. The Rams will be playing just their second road game. Can rookie QB Sam Bradford be rattled? We’ll see.

The Lions are 3-point favorites and they’ll be playing at a sold-out Ford Field. Prediction: Lions 27, Rams 21.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Knee no longer an issue for Lions' Kevin Smith

After seeing action in his first game this season at Green Bay, running back Kevin Smith said asking questions about his knee is no longer acceptable. He is coming off ACL surgery in December.

Smith carried three times for 12 yards and caught four balls for 22 yards at Green Bay.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he wasn’t sure what to expect when Smith played at Green Bay, but he liked what he saw.

“I really thought he was very effective, he brings some veteran to our group out there too. You’re going to need that when you’re playing a team on the road against a team that blitzes a lot like the team we played last week,’’ Linehan said. “It’s nice to have a guy who has a pretty good knowledge and understands protections and things like that as well. I was happy with his first go-around and I thought he was looking closer to himself than he had been up to that point.’’

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Schedule is difference between Lions, Rams

ALLEN PARK -- It’s time, actually it’s past time.

Sunday should be the day the Lions win their first game of the season when they take on the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field.

The Rams are 2-2, while the Lions, as we all know, are 0-4.

There is a huge difference in these two teams. It involves the schedule.

The Lions have no friends in the NFL scheduling office. They played three of their first four games on the road at divisional opponents (Chicago, Minnesota, Green Bay). When they reach the bye week they will have played four of their first six on the road.

Winning on the road is tough for any team, it’s tougher for the Lions because of the monkey on their back in the fact they’ve lost 23 straight road games. They can tie the NFL record, which they also own, at 24 with a loss at the New York Giants on Oct. 17.

The Rams, on the other hand, have played three of their first four at home. They lost their only road game -- at Oakland. It was a nice way to ease rookie quarterback Sam Bradford into the NFL.

The Lions have not gotten any breaks this year -- not from the officials, the football gods or the schedule makers.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions Levy and Scheffler sit out practice

ALLEN PARK -- No surprises at practice today (Thursday).

TE Tony Scheffler (concussion) and LB DeAndre Levy (ankle, groin) were not practicing.

Coach Jim Schwartz said on Wednesday that Levy's ankle is keeping him out not his groin. He has played in just one game this season.

It is unclear when Scheffler got his concussion. He finished Sunday's game.

Neither was QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) who has been ruled out for Sunday against the Rams.

Returning to practice for a second straight day were WR Nate Burleson (ankle), DT Sammie Hill (knee, ankle), safety C.C. Brown (quadriceps) and S Louis Delmas (groin).

In a roster move, WR Tim Toone was placed on practice squad injured reserve, and WR Alric Arnett (West Virginia) was signed to the practice squad.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions' Burleson loves Moss trade to Vikings

ALLEN PARK -- Nate Burleson loves the move that sent Randy Moss back to the Minnesota Vikings from the New England Patriots.

“This is the biggest soap opera you can see on TV,’’ said Burleson who spent time with Moss playing for the Vikings.

The Lions wide receiver thinks the city of Minneapolis is probably going crazy with the return of Moss who gives Brett Favre another weapon.

“As a fan of Minnesota, because they drafted me, I like the move and I’m excited to see him back in the purple and yellow, even if he’s in my division,’’ Burleson said. “I’m still a fan, he was kind of like a big brother when I was out there so I’m always going to cheer for Moss on the field. I’m just not going to cheer as loud when we’re playing against each other.’’

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said that with Moss, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice (when he returns), tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and Adrian Peterson on the roster, Favre will have plenty of options.

“There’s a lot of guys they can spread that football around to, but we see that every week. Chicago has good skill players, Green Bay has good skill players. It’s a little of an arms race in the NFC North right now,’’ Schwartz said.

The Lions will play Moss and the Vikings in the final regular season game on Jan. 2 at Ford Field. Detroit would have met up with Moss on Thanksgiving when New England plays at Ford Field.

The Lions haven’t played against Moss in the regular season since 2004.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Rams coach fearful of Lions' Logan, special teams

ALLEN PARK -- St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is worried about three facets of the Lions in preparation for Sunday’s game at Ford Field.

One, lots of skill and talent at the offensive skill position. Detroit’s offense is ranked 13th in the NFL.

Two, defensively the front is as good as anybody’s in the NFL.

Three, special teams. “That No. 11, Stefan Logan, he can kill you. He covers, beats blockers, makes tackles, he returns. We’re a little concerned about their special teams, no question,'' Spagnuolo said in a conference call today (Wednesday).

The Rams are 2-2 and have won two straight with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford leading the offensive charge.

The 0-4 Lions are looking for their first win after losing their first four games by a total of 24 points.

"From our standpoint, it's a very scary position to be in,'' Spagnuolo said.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Stafford, Levy don't practice; Burleson does

ALLEN PARK -- While injuries have been costly so far this season, at practice today (Wednesday) many of those who have missed time were back on the practice field.

That did not include QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) who was on practice field but not participating.

Among those practicing were WR Nate Burleson (ankle), RB Aaron Brown (hand) and DT Sammie Hill (leg) who did not play on Sunday at Green Bay.

Also S Louis Delmas (groin) practiced which is unusual. He has been taking Wednesdays off and practicing Thursday and Friday to prepare for games.

RB Jahvid Best, who has been hampered with a toe injury yet still has played every game, was also at practice.

Those sitting out were linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin), safety C.C. Brown and tight end Tony Scheffler.

Also the Lions picked up T Jamon Meredith who had been released by Buffalo. On Tuesday they released G Manny Ramirez.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Would Lions be 3-1 if The Catch by Calvin had been ruled a touchdown?

One of my neighbors thinks if The Catch by Calvin Johnson in the opener at Chicago had been ruled a touchdown that the Lions would be 3-1, and maybe 4-0, now instead of 0-4.

First thought was that he’s crazy. But on further review perhaps he is right. I’m not buying 4-0, but maybe 3-1.

In the four losses the Lions have lost by a combined 24 points. Fourteen of those were in the loss to the Vikings which means they lost three games by a total of 10 points.

Don’t tell me a loss is a loss. It isn’t.

Last season in the first four losses, the Lions had lost by a combined point total of 61 points.

Last year at Lambeau Field, in the sixth game of the season, the Lions were smoked 26-0. On Sunday they lost 28-26 at Lambeau.

Face it, this is a different team even if you just measure by points on the scoreboard.

Oh, one more thing. When will we ever quit mentioning The Catch? Not for a long, long time.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Lions Stafford, Burleson get closer

ALLEN PARK -- Although injuries have not been used as an excuse for the Lions' 0-4 record, they have played a part.

Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed the last three starts with a separated shoulder of his throwing arm. He said in a radio interview on Monday night that he is unsure if he will play this week.

“He will be back whether it’s this week or not, whether it’s next week or not, whether its the week after that it’s still yet to be determined,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s doing a good job in his rehab, he’s right on course.’’

Wide receiver Nate Burleson, another key part of the offense, said on Monday that he ran routes and caught some balls on his own for the first time. He's given himself the green light to play on Sunday vs. the Rams. Of course, the trainers will get the final say.

“Probably Wednesday and Thursday will be big days for him and see what he’s able to do on the practice field and how much he can do. He’s a lot closer than he’s been the last couple weeks,’’ Schwartz said.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Hill perhaps gives insight on Stafford's return

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Lions quarterback Shaun Hill perhaps mistakenly gave insight into the return of Matthew Stafford after Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Packers.

When talking about his interceptions he said they were the result of not playing together much with the starting wide receivers. Then he said, “Those are soon to be alleviated.”

Perhaps that didn’t mean anything, but it sounds like he’s going to be the starter for at least the next little while.

If Matthew Stafford, who is out with a separated throwing shoulder, was telling the truth when he talked to the media last week -- and there is no reason to doubt him -- he’s on a day-to-day schedule and has no planned date for a return. He is throwing lightly, but has not practiced.

The Lions play the St. Louis Rams at home on Sunday, then play at the New York Giants on Oct. 17. Then they have a bye week.

If Stafford is near ready the next two weeks, it would not be surprising if the Lions held him out until after the bye week. Coach Jim Schwartz always likes to err on the side of caution when it comes to injuries. Also Stafford said he wants to come back when he’s completely ready to go.

The Lions are 0-4 but it is not all because of Hill. He has played well enough to keep the Lions in games until the end. Sunday at Lambeau Field, a tough place to play, he had his best game yet.

One thing we know for sure. There is no quarterback controversy. When Stafford is healthy and ready he will move back into the starting role.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Finally, Lions get the ball to Calvin Johnson

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Get the ball to Calvin. It’s been the Lions’ fans battle cry all season.

It’s not like quarterback Shaun Hill wasn’t trying, but Calvin Johnson has been so double-teamed it was difficult to get him the ball.

In Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Johnson was the target 11 times and had six receptions for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was his third career multiple touchdown game.

In the first three games he had 14 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown.

“It wasn’t just me (that was more involved), everybody was touching the rock the whole game and when you do that, we move the ball like we did today,’’ said Johnson who was one of seven Lions to catch at least one ball.

Johnson had most of his offseason practice reps with starter Matthew Stafford, so he and Hill are slowly getting more accustomed to playing together.

“Everybody is gaining more chemistry with Shaun and, at the same time, we knew we were going to be in the fight today and we were going to have some matchups and we were going to take advantage of those,’’ Johnson said.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Levy, Burleson inactive; Kevin Smith a go for Lions

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy (groin) is out for today’s game against the Packers. Landon Johnson will start in his place.

Running back Kevin Smith, who is recovering from ACL surgery, will see his first action this season.

No surprises on the list of inactives.

Also inactive are DT Sammie Hill (leg), QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder), WR Nate Burleson (ankle), RB Aaron Brown (hand), G Manny Ramirez, Jason Fox and Willie Young.

No third quarterback is listed which means Derrick Williams would likely backup Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton if needed.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Clay Matthews could have been drafted by Lions

You’ve heard the talk about Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews being on track for the NFL’s defensive player of the year. In three games he has a whopping half-dozen sacks, along with 15 total tackles.

Matthews and the Packers will face the 0-3 Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

The Lions could have drafted him in 2009, but instead they got TE Brandon Pettigrew with the 20th overall pick in the first round. Matthews was the 26th overall pick.

The Lions have no regrets.

Jim Schwartz remembers being at USC’s pro day where Matthews was working out.

“A lot of people worked Matthews out as a tight end. There was that much discussion, like ‘Hey, he’s a great athlete, but maybe he’s better suited to play another position.’ He made an unbelievable catch in that workout that I still remember,’’ Schwartz said.

One reason he wasn’t attractive to the Lions is he did not fit their scheme.

“He plays a little bit of a different position in their defense. He’s more of defensive end in our scheme. That’s a little bit more of a stretch. We liked him in the draft, but I think it’s sort of like we talk about having profiles and getting guys that fit exactly the role that we want,’’ Schwartz said. “... For sure we’ll have to know where 52 is and have to take him out.’’

Matthews’ dad, William Clay Matthews Jr., was a Pro Bowl player who spent 19 seasons in the NFL with Cleveland and Atlanta.

“I was around his dad in Cleveland in 1993 and I was around his uncle (Bruce Matthews) in Tennessee for about three years or so, and you can tell that blood’s pumping through his veins. That goes from their grandfather down to their father,’’ Schwartz said. “If you could put that in some vials, you could sell some of that stuff, because he’s very impressive that way. It’s really amazing that he was a walk-on in college and didn’t start until he was a senior." (Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Delmas fined for middle-finger salute to Vikings fans

A frustrated Louis Delmas gave Vikings fans at the Metrodome the finger during Sunday’s game.

On Friday, the team announced it had fined Delmas $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Lions starting safety admitted it, how could he not. had the photo up on its site on Monday. It was a little blurry, but it was clearly Delmas holding up his middle finger.

(Follow me on Twitter @PaulaPasche.)

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Five things Lions must do to have chance at beating Packers

Five things the Lions must do on Sunday to have a chance to beat the Packers:

1. The defensive line must exert relentless pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers. He’s been sacked only three times this season, he’s not an easy target. However the Lions fearsome foursome must get in his face early and often.

2. The secondary must play as well as they say they do in practice. Louis Delmas, who has been hurt by not practicing much due to a groin injury, had a better game last week against the Vikings. Now he needs to take it to the next level. All his db buddies need to step up also.

3. Stay aggressive on both sides of the ball. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said his guys are getting more physical which is exactly how he envisions a good defense.

4. The Lions must be able to run the ball. Must. It looks like Jahvid Best could play which would help. He needs another game like he had against the Eagles. When they stopped him on the ground, Shaun Hill connected with him through the air. If Best doesn’t play it will be up to Maurice Morris, Jerome Felton and Kevin Smith (if he’s activated).

5. Stay the course, don’t fold. Mistakes happen, it’s how a team bounces back that matters.

OK, that said, it’s going to be tough for the Lions. The Packers are likely to be a little feisty coming off a Monday night loss at Chicago and Lambeau Field is not a friendly place to play.

(Follow me on Twitter @Paula Pasche.)

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