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Lions' new-look offense behind defense so far

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions have the potential to put up a lot of points with Calvin Johnson catching passes from Matthew Stafford and Reggie Bush helping them move the ball on the ground and through the air.

So far, they're struggling to have much success in offseason workouts against their defense.

''They seem like they're a little bit ahead of us right now,'' Bush said Wednesday. ''We're still kind of getting into the swing our offense, still learning it, still trying to get lined up right. That's part of OTAs. We're not supposed to be perfect right now.''

New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi insisted he is not alarmed. Lombardi, though, would not completely overlook how poorly the offense performed while the media had its weekly access at practice.

''Today was a little sloppy,'' he said. ''I'm not going to lie to you. I was getting a little angry. The drops and some of the alignments weren't what you want. It was really a concentration issue.''

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was on hand, and he and his teammates gave Stafford little time to throw and broke up many of the passes he was able to attempt.

Detroit's players on defense let their offensive teammates hear about it too, playfully boasting after each play they made.

''I thought we dominated,'' linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. ''We're having a lot of fun. We're just flying around. There's so many different things in our scheme, so many looks.''

Even when Stafford had time to throw, he was either a little bit off or a defensive back got in the right position to prevent him from connecting on a long pass to Johnson.

''It's not frustrating,'' Johnson said. ''It's good to see the defense performing at a high level right now. We love it. We know they're going to get better and we're going to get better because they're so sharp right now. It's going to make us better in the end.''

Detroit's new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, appeared to have his players covering every spot on the field. That was relatively impressive without a pair of key players, cornerback Chris Houston and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, both of whom are recovering from surgeries.

Stafford brushed off the lackluster performance, but said he and his teammates have a lot of work to do over the next few months.

''It's on us as coaches and players to get this thing mastered,'' Stafford said. ''We're a ways from that. There's no question. This is a play-intensive, verbiage-intensive offense and it's something that is going to take time. That's what the offseason is for.''

NOTES: The Lions released a statement from coach Jim Caldwell about poet and author Maya Angelou. Caldwell got to know her well while he was coaching at Wake Forest from 1993-2000 and she was a professor. ''She was extremely impactful,'' Caldwell said. ''You look at just the body of her work and what a difference that made for our society from a cultural standpoint, and from a social standpoint as well. She influenced a number of students and folks, like myself, who worked there at the university, who had the great fortune of coming into contact with her.''

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Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage

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