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Daily Lions Update and Transcript of Lions Head Coach Rod Marinelli's Press Conference


  • The Lions had a full-squad practice this afternoon in pads on the outdoor field at the team's headquarters and practice facility in Allen Park. This week's practice routine is intended to simulate the regular season.
  • The Lions released WR Taye Biddle from the Reserve/Injured list. After playing collegiately at Mississippi, Biddle entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent for Carolina in 2006 and spent six games on the Panthers' active roster as a rookie. He was released by Carolina at the end of the 2007 preseason and was soon signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad where he spent the entire season. The Buccaneers re-signed Biddle January 25, 2008 but waived him July 25. Detroit claimed Biddle off waivers July 29, but added him to the Reserve/Injured list on August 19 after a groin injury. 

On the players with current injuries: "Campbell's still got the hamstring, but he's coming. It looks pretty good. Again, I won't know about this week. (Sean) McHugh, his ankle, and it will be questionable for this week. A.C. (Aveion Cason) won't play with the ankle. And Cliff (Avril). He practiced today. We'll see."

On DE Cliff Avril's back injury: "He practiced. You know how that goes. Guide it in and we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

On if he's discussed the rotation for the next preseason game: "Not yet. Just wanted to get a good fundamental day today, see how we come out of that. We'll see. We'll kind of talk about it tonight."

On the things from Saturday's game that stood out on film: "Effort was good. The effort part I really appreciate. And I think we're becoming a solid-hitting football team. We have to clean up the kickoff team stuff. Let's get that right. Our punt team hasn't been tested in pressure yet, so I'm on that. I want to test it and test it. And we have to make sure our field goal protection is right too. We had some leakage, so we have to stop that up a little bit and have to keep improving our run game. Penalties are down, I was pleased with that. Have to get turnovers."

On the elements of the running game that are and are not working better: "When it works the pads are down and we're knocking people off the ball. Our feet are right. When it doesn't, we get high and we get jolted. It's that simple. If you're here (Illustrated) and I block here and I get you turned that means we have a chance. If I come here and you stuff me, we don't have chance. And so it's that individual, one-on-one battles. We have to win the battles up front. It's bone-on-bone football. You have to win your battles."

On that description being interpreted as though the team isn't good enough to compete: "No. It's like if the run is popping against you, does that mean we're not good enough? Not detailed, our pad level could be high - usually it's about pad level and hand placement and footwork and those are the things. It's not all the time assignments. It's discipline. I could be a great athlete, but if I step like that (illustrated) and my feet cross, I don't have a chance. So those are things; it's the subtle details. The fundamentals. It's fundamentals. It's not about talent, it's not a lack of (talent). It's just the fundamentals. They have to be there every down."

On the possibility of only one or two rookies being in the starting lineup when the season opens: "Well it means nothing. It means the best players play. And it means it's probably a real strong draft class that you could have some guys competing for jobs and for depth. That's a good sign."

On wanting guys from the draft to play and make an impact: "To be on your team. Sometimes it's the best 53 players you can put on your team. It's about 53. it's not 11 or 22. It's about 53 guys, and it's also about developing players and building a future with these young players and good, solid veterans. It's a great blend to have. A guy may not start opening day. (It) doesn't mean he won't start in three weeks. That doesn't mean it's the end of the year."

On where rookies T Gosder Cherilus and LB Jordon Dizon stand in terms of development: "I think they're learning the game. Both are playing hard. It's about just getting on details."

On what he wants to accomplish in a fourth preseason game: "I want to stop the run. It's important to me. And then the tackling is important. I want to continue to work on the run game; that's important. Reduce our penalties, reduce sacks. That's really important. And the effort's got to be good. The punting, I want to make sure we're punting the ball well. And reliable protection. That's important. Field Goal team reliable protection. I'm really looking toward that. I want to keep improving our kickoff team."

On if accomplishing those goals will be difficult if the starters don't play: "Doesn't matter. There's 53 other guys who could be there. And they could be part of the kickoff team, they could be part of the punt team, be part of our field goal team. They could be a backup on defense that we'll rotate into a game. Every guy matters."

On if playing against the Browns' 3-4 defense was not useful since the Lions will primarily play 4-3 teams in the season: "No, what it does is though you see who can adjust. You really find who can adjust. Line up, you go in there and adjust to it. It's like all of a sudden in college, you're out in the West and you're playing passing teams every week and a wishbone team comes up. You want to see who can adjust and play assignment football and disciplined football. And your protections, it was a challenge for us because the looks and the different pressures. That was one thing they did do a very nice job on; we got a hat on a hat that we were supposed to in terms of the pressure. I don't think anybody came through free."

On the gaps in the running game: "Sometimes we just didn't get a block, just blocking the guys."

On whether the team had ever practiced a 3-4 defense in camp before playing the Browns: "No. The toughest thing is we don't have that type of player on our roster. That big nose and the big, four I-ends. We don't have that tackling so it's really hard to create. Just like when somebody's playing us and it's a quick, fast team and you're a 3-4 D (defense), they can't recreate our speed. It's the same thing."

On if he expects QB Drew Henson to play in the Bills game: "Well we're going to see how much he can absorb, but I think he's got a chance You'd like to see him a little bit, and we've got to be ready to go. If something happens or something, you never know. He's got to be ready. He got some looks out here today."

On if they teach Henson everything at once to see how much he can learn: "No, you reduce the plate. You give him a little bit of chop suey over here. Just a little bit of stuff and let's just do that stuff."

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On if Henson showed anything worthwhile in today's practice: "It's hard to say, he's just coming out here working right now. He's got a good arm. He's got a powerful arm."

On if he was happy to see S Gerald Alexander show some big play ability during Saturday's game: "He's just kind of chopping wood all the time. He never gets beat, he's always in position. But, boy, he's starting to flash right now and that was good, but he is so sound and so solid. It was (good) to see him come out and flash some in this game."

On if he thinks it is important to have playmakers in the secondary: "Yes, guys come off those hashes, you've got a chance. If you break off those hashes and get in a rush, to get a chance for interceptions. But it's also those guys dropping in the box. That's where it's at."

On if Alexander is starting to excel more throughout the preseason because he is allowed to play more physically: "He does, that's a big part of his game. He's a very physical guy. All of our safeties are physical know, all of them. Daniel (Bullocks), when he gets back and hopefully gets some work, KP (Kalvin Pearson), Dwight (Smith), all those guys, they're very physical."

On if he thinks he has more athleticism in his secondary, which would allow him to bring his CB's in on blitzes more often: "I think I feel good about it. We can. I thought in the past, we would pressure, but we had to play off a little bit more than you'd like to, so you couldn't challenge. So you'd get a free guy in and the ball would be out. So you're seeing right now, we're getting a free guy. The ball gets out, but we're hitting them. We're hitting the quarterback right now. That's a chance to punish them a little bit."

On the importance of his defensive players making tackles: "Those guys are very short tacklers. When something catches, we're using our speed and angles right now. And those are fierce tacklers, we've got some real good tacklers out there. If you tackle well, it's makes it tough on the offense to put a long drive together."

On the difficulty of making cuts: "It's always difficult. I try to explain that to them this morning. No question about it, it's difficult. But, I will treat them like men. When I do that, I don't have to sugarcoat anything because that's an insult to them. It's just the film they produce. We have to make a decision off of it."

On if he's going to wait until tomorrow to make his first cuts: "Yes."

On where rookie LB Jordon Dizon is in his learning process: "I think he's still learning it right now, just to be as consistent as you want him to be. But it's a lot in there, there's a lot to that position."

On how he plans to get Dizon into the lineup this season: "I think that you never want to put anybody in who's not ready, that doesn't make sense. He's a guy, that as you develop, you'd like to have two guys where your starter doesn't have to play every snap, either. As you've got a nice rotation at that position, then you start developing him as the season goes on. You never know with an injury, you never know. So you've got to sit in there and you've got to make sure. That's position is like saying we've got a quarterback and the second one, don't worry about him. Well, you have an injury, you better have the second one ready. That is a critical position, and he'll play this year."

On if he thinks there are any formations that he might be able to fit Dizon into: "Nickel, seeing as we have a Nickel MIKE, to help (him) to grow in those areas. He's got great feel, he's got space awareness. There's not, at times, as many run fits. That's where it's the hardest-regular people shifting, moving. But, we're just going to keep going with the guy."

On if he is surprised that Dizon is still making the transition to playing on the NFL level: "No, it's hard. I remember when we were in Tampa with Derrick (Brooks). He was a second round pick and it just took him a little bit of time. This guy (Dizon) is going to make the transition very fast. He's very instinctive. But you need two backers. Sometimes, on game day, you may just suit up five guys there. So, you've got to make sure the guy's got position flexibility all the way through."

On if he thinks he might dress three middle LB's: "I said five linebackers may suit up for a game. We have to determine that down the road, see how many you have. There's got to be some flexibility within it, but if you end up moving this guy around, it's too hard."

On if he thinks there are any players that will miss Thursday's game due to injury: "I think Danny (Campbell) would not, I think right now. AC won't, Aveion won't and I think there's a chance for McHugh, but I think Avril will be fine."

On having Offensive Coordinator Jim Colletto and Assistant Head Coach/Passing Game Coordinator Kippy Brown on his staff: "It's been great. Jim's a play caller and a coordinator. And Kippy, he'll go in and set up a lot, with the offensive coaches, and he leads the direction of the passing game. They bring it into Jim and they all talk it through. Then they make their calls."

On if he provides any input for the passing game: "I listen. My biggest thing is during the week. I do it during the week. Because you have too many guys talking to multiply it like that. I may say I want to run it here."