DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE

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DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2006TODAY'S NEWS

  • The Lions practiced on the indoor field in helmets and shorts today at the team headquarters and training facility in Allen Park. 
  • The NFL has suspended Lions DT Shaun Rogers for the next four regular-season games for violating the NFL policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances. He has been placed on the team's reserve/suspended list and will be eligible to return to the active roster Monday, November 20. 
  • Detroit announced today that they have signed DT Cleveland Pinkney from the practice squad to their active roster and DT Keith Wright to the practice squad. Pinkney originally signed with the Lions April 13, reuniting with Head Coach Rod Marinelli who coached him in 2003 and 2004 at Tampa Bay. He was signed to Detroit's practice squad September 3. Wright entered the NFL as a 2003 sixth round draft choice (214th overall) of the Houston Texans. He spent the 2006 preseason with Tampa Bay who signed him January 12 and allocated him to NFL Europe (Hamburg Sea Devils).
  • DE James Hall has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after tying a career-high with 3.5 sacks (30.5 yards lost) and leading the defensive line with seven tackles, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble as the Lions defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-17 at Ford Field. Late in the third quarter, with the Bills driving and Detroit clinging to a seven-point lead, Hall sacked Bills QB JP Losman and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Lions at the Detroit 38-yard line. The Lions kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive to go up 20-10, providing Detroit with its margin of victory. Hall's total of 3.5 sacks is the most by a player in a single game this season and the fifth multiple-sack game of his seven-year career. The Lions' defense allowed just 242 total net yards (157 passing, 85 rushing) and held Buffalo RB Willis McGahee, the AFC's leading rusher, to 66 yards on 17 carries.
  • LB Teddy Lehman practiced with the team today for the first time since being placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list July 27. The Lions have three weeks to decide whether to activate Lehman to the 53-man roster, place him on the Reserve/Injured list or release him.
  • The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions' injury report: DT Shaun Cody (toe) and S Kenoy Kennedy (foot) are out. LB Alex Lewis (knee), FB Cory Schlesinger (hamstring), T Rex Tucker (knee) and G Ross Verba (hamstring) are questionable. DE James Hall (shoulder) and RB Kevin Jones (hip) are probable. Cody, Hall, Jones, Kennedy, Lewis, Schlesinger, Tucker and Verba missed some or all of the team portion of practice today.
  • The following players have been listed on the New York Jets' injury report: FB BJ Askew (foot), CB David Barrett (hip), WR Laveraneus Coles (calf), WR Tim Dwight (thigh), RB Cedric Houston (knee) and OL Trey Teague (ankle) are questionable. DL Dave Ball (hand), RB Kevan Barlow (calf), LB Matt Chatham (foot), OL Anthony Clement (shin), OL Pete Kendall (thigh), QB Chad Pennington (calf), S Kerry Rhodes (thigh), WR Brad Smith (thigh) and DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (knee) are probable. Askew, Barrett, Coles, Dwight, Houston and Teague missed some or all of the team portion of practice today.
  • The Lions (1-5) go back on the road this week to face the Jets at the Meadowlands. Detroit will look to build momentum after getting their first win, a 20-17 victory against Buffalo and New York hopes to win their second consecutive game at home after defeating the Miami Dolphins 20-17. This will be the Lions' third road game in four weeks. 
  • This week's game will be televised live in Metro Detroit on WJBK-TV FOX Channel 2 with Sam Rosen handling play-by-play and Tim Ryan adding color commentary. The game will also be broadcast on the Lions Radio Network (WKRK 97.1 FM) with announcer Dan Miller handling play-by-play, Jim Brandstatter adding color commentary and Tony Ortiz reporting from the sideline.

LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
Opening statement:
"Shaun Cody is out; Kenoy Kennedy is out; Alex Lewis is questionable; Cory Schlesinger is questionable; Rex Tucker is questionable; Ross Verba is questionable; Kevin Jones is Probable; James Hall, shoulder, probable. Teddy (Lehman) practiced today - he ran around a little bit. Obviously you know the Shaun Rogers (issue) is something that's confidential with the league. I can't really comment on his situation. What we have done is, we've identified it with the team and we've got some real good men coming up. While he's not here we've just got to get some other guys stepping up and getting ready to play. We moved Cleveland Pinkney from the practice squad up to the varsity and he's getting ready to go. I've got a background with him he's been doing nothing but practicing, practicing, practicing. He's a highly motivated guy. We've got Marcus Bell going in there who is a veteran who I feel very confident with. We've got Cory Redding inside as a three (technique) again. Tyoka (Jackson) is also in that mix. So I feel very good about that."

On what kind of impact losing DT Shaun Rogers has had on the team: "It's an impact but it's behind us because it's not going to matter. I've taken it; I've put it over here and identified it with the team and now we move right on to the next situation which is the next man up and I've got a lot of confidence in these guys. Everybody now, as a team, you start stepping up as a team. It's not about individuals it's about your team. Each guy has got to wear a little bigger hat this week."

On whether he has talked to Rogers: "We talked and he's just got to take care of his business; we put it behind us and then we move on."

On whether he was put on the 'Do Right' list: "There are a lot of 'do rights' (for the entire team). I've got a whole list. I've got to do that. It is what it is. I just put it over here and now we've got to move on and go."

On what his message was to the team: "Well, we had a problem here, which we've had many since I've been here - I'm getting good at this (laughter); because it doesn't bother me. I take that rock, sometimes there is a stone in my shoe, sometimes there's a rock in my shoe. I took the rock out of my shoe and put it right there. I said: (that's the) problem, but it's over here and we can't deal with it now so I'm going over here and I'm going to work with these guys. That's how I do business. I'm just going to do it. I've been like that all the way, I'm always going to be. I'm excited about these other guys coming up. I feel like there may be another 'Wally Pipp' story coming. You see them; every week you see them. I'm positive that something else good is going to happen."

On what his initial thought when he found out that Rogers was going to be suspended: "That he wasn't going to be here. I can't (worry about it), I don't have that luxury. I'm not going to (worry about it). If I had that luxury I would do it but I don't have that. My next step is my next step."

On whether players are supposed to run anything they take like that past that training staff: "It's all league policy - that's the league. It's a policy throughout the league."

On whether they encourage the players to run any type of medication they take past the training staff: "Well yeah. The trainer does a nice job all around."

On whether he thinks the Jets will game-plan differently now: "That would be my guess, yeah. They might run inside on us a little bit more - maybe. If the other guy plays his gap like he's supposed to, it doesn't matter. Do what we do and play our gaps and hustle and we've just got to play together as a team and really work hard as a team and not let things like this affect us. We can't do anything about it. I'm just moving on. Marcus Bell, he's got to have a great game. I'm counting on him to prepare and play. Cleveland Pinkney, he's coming up to the varsity and I'm counting on him."

On whether DT Marcus Bell will play the nose tackle: "Yes."

On the rotation of the defensive line: "Marcus Bell will play the nose tackle; Cory (Redding) will play the three (technique) and then Cleveland (Pinkney) can play both the three and the one (technique). Tyoka (Jackson) can give us some rush help in the nickel situation."

On if DL Tyoka Jackson can go inside at all: "He could in a pinch but I prefer to keep those three ends rotating right now. Tyoka's the one guy that can go outside and inside; he gives us some flexibility."

On if he's heard anything about DT Shaun Rogers' knee: "Not yet, I haven't heard anything yet today."

On the status of other injured players: LB Teddy Lehman, LB Alex Lewis, RT Rex Tucker and LG Ross Verba: "Tucker had his helmet on today and kind of worked around a little bit. All of those players are questionable right now. I'm just waiting to see how this works to see how they're moving around this week. The last thing I want to do is get these guys finally close and then do too much where the bye week would really clean it up for us right now. I'm going to be smart with these guys and get the right guys up so we can get it going, but not overlooking that we've got to go out and play our best game of the year."

On if all players listed as questionable did not practice with the team today: "Some didn't. Some did. Tucker got some, but not all the way through. He just got some work in, some individual. Some of them just got individual work. Kenoy (Kennedy) is out and (Shaun) Cody is out."

On if he's decided since he's playing a team that has field turf that he will practice indoors or if he'll practice outside at all: "No, because it's footing. I just want to work on our footing this week. It'll be just the speed, maybe open the doors up, I don't know. Now it's the speed and the timing. You hate to get off on that part of it. If we're playing on grass then we have to get back on grass and get our footing there."

On what Jets QB Chad Pennington brings to the table: "He gets (the ball) out. He is, to me, a lot like (Minnesota Vikings QB) Brad Johnson. He's got a nice way of working up in the pocket to avoid pressure. He buys time real well; very smart quarterback; gets the ball out quick. So we have to put great internal pressure on this guy. Basically, just do what we do and then detail some of the things that tailor to these guys. We can't make mistakes; just can't make mistakes. We've got to eliminate mistakes on the road. It's an important game for us; we've just got to get wired in and practice well."

On his offense stepping up this week: "It's team. When you really want to build a football team, this team all has to come together. Everybody tightens their belt just one more notch up. We've tightened it big notches now; one more notch and we're okay. And now Jason Hanson has to step up and the punter (Nick Harris) has to step up. It's fun. And we just go in and this team tightens up as a football team. It's really some of the teams with the best talent that don't always win. It's the team that can play together, and that's what I'm preaching. We're going to play together and we're going to find a way to win."

On what he thought about the Chicago Bears winning a game against the Cardinals solely on defense and special teams: "That's a team that at that moment, uses whatever it takes to win a game and that's what we've got to try to do."

On if the Buccaneers contacted him at all about trading for DT Anthony McFarland: "No."

On thinking that they would because he knew him as good as anybody: "Yeah, but at least our initial situations was our tackles are pretty deep."

On if he thinks it was a good deal for the Colts who were successful in trading for McFarland: "Oh yeah. I do."

On if they would have considered trading for McFarland if they knew about DT Shaun Rogers' suspension: "I just think that that option (contract) was just way too big. One thing I've told our team is that I want to see, and in a sense it's a good, that if I like guys on the practice squad that are really practicing well I'll move those guys up before I go out on the street because I know them, they know our system and I'm starting to understand them. If I have to go out and look on the street now to get a guy, then it's saying something that I need to change the practice squad guys. So I feel good about the guys that we're moving up."

On McFarland knowing his system and not being a 'guy off the street': "Yeah, but he brings a hefty contract and it took a second-round pick to get him."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH JETS HEAD COACH ERIC MANGINI
On if he's tired of the 'young coach' angle he gets from week-to-week:
"I like to be the young guy. I think it's a good thing to be and hopefully they'll be talking about me someday as the old guy. Really the only time in my career that I was called the old guy was when I was a ball boy. So, it's something I'm used to and I think it's a good distinction to have."

On the trend of having a lot of young coaches and if he likes it: "I like the trend - yeah. I love the trend I think it's great and I think it's an opportunity for me. I share the same vision with Terry (Bradway) and Mike (Tannenbaum) and Mr. (Woody) Johnson and had a real good opportunity - philosophically - to come to an organization where everybody believes the same thing. That's what we work on day in and day out: a vision of players that are smart, tough, hard-working, competitive (and) selfless guys that football is important to. That's who we want to be part of the team and that's the kind of team that we want and that's who the New York Jets are going to be."

On how he and Marinelli are both new head coaches: "I think Rod has done an excellent job and I think that apart from a few bounces here and there, the record would be a little bit different. He's obviously making progress with the win last week. All first year coaches go through learning curves. I know I'm going through it myself and that's part of the job, as well as a challenging part."

On how much an impact the loss of RB Curtis Martin has had on the team: "Well Curtis is still here everyday and he's rehabbing. The great thing about Curtis is that he sets a great example for the guys that are currently playing. He takes some of the best notes of anybody on the team, even though he knows he's not going to play. Then he spends time with the young guys and even some of the older guys with their preparation and becoming better professionals. So, even though he's not on the field, he's still having an impact daily."

On how the suspension of DT Shaun Rogers will effect their game plan: "Well, until it's official from the league we're going to prepare for Shaun the way that we would prepare for anybody else and the one thing that I see on tape with Detroit's defense is that they're fast, they're aggressive, they're tough and they play well as a unit. There are a lot of defensive linemen there that have contributed and played a big role, and there's some flexibility with a defensive (line) coach - or ex-defensive (line) coach - as a head coach; and of course Donnie (Henderson). Whoever they have in the game will do an excellent job."

On the match-up between T D'Brickashaw Ferguson and DE James Hall: "I think that D'Brickashaw is learning week-in and week-out and playing left tackle in the league is tough. He's got another great challenge this week; he's had some great ones here through the early part of the season. I think that Hall has done a great job with the three and a half sacks last week and the pressure he consistently puts on the quarterback. He's a good player and D'Brickashaw is learning each week that he's going to line-up against some really outstanding players."

On the influence that Bill Belichick has had on his philosophies and daily routine: "Well, Bill has definitely had an impact on me. I was with him for ten years; but, I was also with some other really outstanding head coaches - Ted Marchibroda (and) Bill Parcels and some assistants - whether it be Charlie Weis, Kirk Ferentz (or) Romeo Crennel - and I've taken things away from all of those guys and really taken the things that I liked the most and incorporated them with some things that Mike (Tannenbaum) liked and we put together the best program for the New York Jets. Bill played a big role, but all those guys have had an impact."

On heading into the year did he ever plan on playing a 3-4 defense: "We've used some 3-4, we've used some 4-3. What we try to do is put together the best defense for that opponent on a daily basis to minimize strengths and tag weaknesses. That's why it's so important to have smart and selfless guys - guys that can play different roles and cater to the opponent that we're playing."

On if he's surprised that QB Chad Pennington has rebounded so quickly: "Chad is a great person (and) a very good example to the younger guys because he's such a pro in his approach. He's got an unbelievable work ethic and he's incredibly smart. Facing him on the other side of the ball for a lot of years I saw that and in getting to know him I saw it even more first hand. The things that he does he earns and he works at and usually when you do that good things happen."

On his impressions of QB Joey Harrington: "I thought that he did a really good job - especially late in the game. He brought them down the field three times and gave then an opportunity to tie the game in a pressure situation. I think that he's making the most of his opportunity and really do some positive things. He did some really good things a week earlier against New England."

On how he feels the two rookie offensive linemen have performed: "I think the rookie class as a group has done a really nice job because of the way they've approached becoming a professional. They've all worked extremely hard, they've all done a good job taking the coaching, getting involved with players that are good mentors and that's really helped their development. We're really ten games into the season when we count preseason games, so they've learned a lot in regards to the varied experiences that they've had."

On whether he prefers to have a running-back by committee or if he prefers to have just one back: "The same philosophy offensively is in place that we have defensively where we're going to put the best players on the field and the best packages on the field to give us a chance to win that specific game. So, if it's one running back, if it's three running backs, if it's no running backs - whatever the situation is were always going to try to cater it based on our opponent."

On if anything has surprised him so far in being a head coach: "When I first took the job I talked to a lot of guys that had significantly more experience than myself, which is pretty much everybody. They said that there would be five to six things everyday that would come up that you didn't expect and that's part of the job and that's what's made it exciting and challenging. There's not a day that I come into work where I'm not happy to be here or excited to be here and I look forward to whatever adjustment to the schedule that's going to come up."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH JETS WR LAVERANUES COLES
On how he feels about the match-up with WR Roy Williams:
"I didn't know I was going against Roy Williams."

On if he ever compares himself to other receivers: "No. I just play the game."

On looking at the other side of the ball does it make more of a challenge going against a top cornerback like Dré Bly: "Of course - anytime you have to step on the field and you have to compete against a guy like Dré Bly and Fernando Bryant and a secondary like they have, you have to put a lot of time and preparation into getting ready for them. Of course Dre's been to a couple of Pro Bowls and Fernando is nothing but a few plays away from making that trip himself, so anytime you play against great corner's like that you really have to make sure you bring your best game because you know they're going to bring theirs."

On if he sees rookie S Daniel Bullocks as a rookie or a professional in terms of his playing ability: "He's been great; you'd never know that he was a rookie; but, I think what happens is when you have a rookie back there and you have two veteran corners, it kind of boosts his confidence and allows him to play a lot higher of an intensity level. That's a great secondary when you watch them on film, they're just doing such an excellent job covering receivers and basically just taking away certain things."

On how it is to have QB Chad Pennington back: "Anytime you have your quarterback back it's always a good thing as a receiver."

On if he thinks it's fair to call the Jets a surprise team right now: "No, not at all. I think we were predicted to win four games and we still have a few to get there. So, I think once we get to four and then maybe we win another one people can say they went above expectations. Right now, this is just a ball club going out every weekend fighting and trying to win a game."

On how it's been leaving the Jets and going to the Washington Redskins and then coming back to the Jets: "I mean, it's been great. The resurgence on the field is cool, but I think the most important thing is the relationship with my teammates off of the field. I think that's the most important thing. I think a lot of people try to put a lot of emphasis on our performance in football and of course that's what we're here to do; but, I think relationships off of the field with the guys is just as important, if not more important because they're just like your family away from home."

On how the loss of DT Shaun Rogers will effect the Detroit defense and what they're going to do: "Well I think at this level Shaun Rogers is of course a great player; but, they do have that guy that's behind him and he's also at a professional level. Anytime you have a guy that's professional stepping in a lot of times you find that the guy behind him is just as hungry as the guy that was playing and he's excited about getting his chance to play. He'll step into the ball game and do a very good job and then end up playing a lot better than most people would have expected him to."

 

Courtesy of the Lions