DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE

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TODAY'S NEWS

  • The Lions practiced on the indoor field in pads today at the team headquarters and training facility in Allen Park.
  • The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions' injury report: WR Shaun Bodiford (knee) and TE Casey FitzSimmons (wrist) are out. DT Shaun Cody (shoulder) is probable. Bodiford, Cody and FitzSimmons each missed the team portion of practice.
  • The following players have been listed on the Seattle Seahawks' injury report: TE Jerramy Stevens (knee) is out. DT Russell Davis (foot), WR Darrell Jackson (knee) and T Walker Jones (shoulder) are probable. Stevens missed the team portion of practice.
  • The Lions announced today that they have released S Idrees Bashir. Bashir, who originally signed with the team March 29, was placed on the Reserve/Injured list September 2.
  • Detroit Head Coach Rod Marinelli will make his regular season coaching debut this week against Seattle, the 2005 NFC Champions, at Ford Field. The Lions are 3-0 in regular season openers at Ford Field and will face the Seahawks for the first time since moving into their new home. The two teams have met nine times in the regular season with Seattle holding a slight 5-4 series edge. Sunday's game will be televised live in Metro Detroit on WJBK-TV FOX Channel 2 with Dick Stockton handling play-by-play, Daryl Johnston adding color commentary and Tony Siragusa reporting from the sideline. The game will also be broadcast nationally on the Sports USA Radio Network, featuring play-by-play announcer Larry Kahn and color commentator Tim Pernetti. Reporting from the sidelines will be Troy West.

LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
Opening statement: "On the injury front: Bodiford, he's out for the game; Casey FitzSimmons is out; Shaun Cody is probable, he worked in the individual periods, got his pads on today but we kept him out of some periods. Other than that, everybody practiced all the way through it."

On whether RT Rex Tucker and DT Shaun Rogers practiced: "(Rex Tucker practiced) every period, all day. Shaun Rogers, all day; we kept him out of some 9-on-7, other than that everything was up and going."

On whether he has a decision to make at right tackle between Rex Tucker and Barry Stokes: "I think we'll let it play out through the week and see how he (Rex Tucker) keeps progressing. (Tucker) practiced and practiced pretty well actually. I take my hat off to him - it was good work."

On whether he's 'getting butterflies in his stomach' as his first regular season game as a head coach gets closer: "For me? It's not as much butterflies - I'm really anxious. All the things you believe in as a coach, everything I believe in from Day 1, the whole time, now I've got a chance to see it come and see if the habits are there. That's what I'm really wired in on."

On whether it's more stressful facing last year's NFC Champions: "Somebody else wrote the schedule - I'm just going to play it."

On being tested right away by the Seahawks: "(They're) a great team. They're really an efficient football team; they're really well coached obviously. They have a great (running) back, a great quarterback and the best offensive tackle in the world - he's awesome. Their defense plays hard; they play very, very hard. We'll have our hands full and we know that. That's the problem. The solution is what we do and that's what we've been working on all day, the solution of fundamentals and knowing what we're doing. We've got to make sure that we don't make mistakes and that we tackle well. We play one snap at a time. If something goes wrong, we've got to keep playing."

On whether he appreciates RB Kevin Jones desire to be the best running back in the NFL: "I'm excited about that. That's what we want. That's what our offensive line wants. We've talked about running the ball with authority and stopping the run. Those are the things we're trying to get done. Now, whatever we say, we have to back up; now we've got to put it on tape."

On how the offense is coming along: "I feel good (about it). Everybody's in there together right now. All of the veteran lineman are working together. It's easy to see out at practice but the test is gameday - what we do on gameday. That's the statement we have to make and we're going to put it on tape."

On RB Shaun Alexander: "They run and execute so well, with their running game - they just execute. You know it's coming sometimes; they just execute. What he does well: he may hit the hole, he may bounce out, he may cut back, he may reverse the field and that's when he's really dangerous. You have to leverage this guy. If you lose leverage on him, you have problems."

On if they are as good on offense as the Buccaneers were on defense when Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl: "I think so. They have their system down; they know the system; they know what to expect; they're extremely efficient, I mean very efficient. The tempo is very good; very good pace, very good tempo; their fundamentals are excellent. They've got a hat on a hat and their feet come alive. We've got to have our fundamentals and our discipline and all those things too."

On why they practiced indoors today: "We've been practicing inside all week - just to get the use of the speed again and stay off the grass a little bit. The footing wasn't very good out there; you could see it was all dug up and we were kind of concerned about the timing and the precision of the routes. We're going to be on turf this week, so we wanted to make sure our timing was back."

On whether he'll practice inside for home games and outdoors for away games: "That's something I want to think about; again, it depends if it's too chewed up or not and all of the sudden we're trying to run routes and the timing routes aren't there. Hopefully we'll give it a couple days rest here and tighten it back up."

On whether they would still be inside if they were playing Chicago this week: "I would like to be outside. Maybe not both days but at least one day - just to get the footing right; the feeling and again, come back with timing and precision."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH MIKE HOLMGREN
On if he's looking forward to coming back to Detroit:
"Oh, yeah - always looking forward to going there."

On what he thinks about coming back to the 'scene of the crime': "Obviously I've been asked a number of times about that and I talked to the players about it briefly - only briefly - because the situation, the environment, everything, is so different - a regular season game from the Super Bowl. Our focus has to be on the Detroit Lions. To me, it's a little bit of a non-issue, and talking with the team and talking with players and I've heard players respond. Yeah, when you walk into the stadium, probably the first time - we're going to practice there on Saturday - you look around and someone might think about a missed opportunity or a lost this, or whatever; but, that's it and then we're getting ready to play the Lions."

On if it's trying to get even with the world by beating the Lions, despite the fact that they had nothing to do with the Super Bowl loss: "No, I think we've done a decent job of separating the two events."

On what he thought the first time he saw the schedule: "Well I remember exactly what I said. I said, 'that's a little unusual' - to whoever handed it to me - that's all, then I look through it. I don't change much. When I look at the schedule every year - it comes out in April or whatever - I get nervous. I go: 'oh boy, we got to go on the road here,' and I'm looking at night games and all of that stuff. Other than the fact that someone said, 'what do you think about going back there?' I had never really thought about it. All I said was: 'that's a little unusual.' Since I've been in Seattle we've gone on the road our first game and I think it's tied in with the baseball thing here a lot. We rarely get a home game for the first game. That was quite different in Green Bay, usually you were at home. That idea of the schedule makers - having the computer spit it out - I'm not sure that's how it works all the time."

On having post Super Bowl depression and if it was any different this time than his second trip with Green Bay: "Yeah it was. I made a mistake after the Denver vs. Green Bay Super Bowl in the fact that I'm not sure if I looked at that film - and I can't remember if I looked at the film - but if I looked at it I waited a long time to look at it. I might have not even looked at it until June. Quite honestly, that was a mistake because it stayed with me longer; and then, the other part of that game is I didn't think. I tried everything in my bag of tricks to get the guys to believe that it was going to be a really, really hard fought game - and I couldn't, I just couldn't. I felt like I really let the team down in that way.

"This game - I remember, my wife (Kathy) was in Africa, she phoned me that night after the game and said what you must do is as soon as you get home; you have to look at that film; look at it immediately and deal with. That was good advice. I should know that but she had to tell me. We could have played better in the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh - there's no question about that - but, I thought the team was prepared to play the game. They came out with a lot of energy. So I looked at the two games differently. They both hurt; it hurts and it hurts for awhile; but to me, those two experiences were quite different."

On what he thinks of QB Jon Kitna and if he thinks he can be a good starter in this league: "Absolutely, and he's proven that. Jon did a nice job in Cincinnati, when he was the starter there; he did a good job for me my first couple of years here in Seattle. I have a lot of affection for Jon Kitna. We've talked a couple of times a year and we still do that. I think he's a great young man and a great player. I told my own guys just a little while ago, that when he finished football, whatever he chooses to do he'll probably be better at that. He's just that type of a young guy. He cares about people, he loves the game, he's a great leader and I think with Rod (Marinelli) coming in there - first time head coach, and a new head coach this year - I think it's a good thing to have Jon Kitna in there."

On if he shares the same positive feelings toward the offense as QB Matt (Hasselbeck): "Well, I probably won't be quite as vocal as Matt, but we do have experience on offense. They have been a productive offense the past few years and I'm glad the quarterback feels that way - that makes me feel better right away. There are a couple of questions marks, honestly, because we lost an offensive lineman and we lost a wide receiver off of last year's team that were very productive for us. So, it remains to be seen, but I think we're going to be ok. Nate Burleson has to come in and do a good job at wide receiver and Floyd Womack comes in at left guard and has to come in and play. There's nothing that other teams don't have to deal with; but, we do have the MVP at running back which helps enormously and most of the guys are back."

On why RB Shaun Alexander is so good and if he's taken for granted: "I think the taking for granted part has to do with geography of Seattle and where we are located. I think people that play against him realize that he's a really fine running back. He has a great ability to avoid just the crunching blow. A guy who carries the ball as much as he does - now he got banged around in the Washington playoff game - but, as a rule he comes out of games ok. He just has great vision and he has a real knack for scoring touchdowns - he likes to score them - we get down in the red zone and he makes things happen that you don't think can happen. Last year, I thought he took a real, real big step in being our short-yardage back. Before I put someone else in there and bang them around a little bit, he came up to me and wanted to do that, and he had tremendous confidence in his ability. He talked to me during the games about certain plays or his wanting to do something - and I listen now, he's earned that, certainly."

On if it's tough playing a team that he might not know as much about due to the new coaching staff: "I think there's always a little surprise element. Rod was in Tampa for a long time. I would expect to see, as he's shown on film, a lot what made him successful and what made them successful in Tampa on defense. Of course, we know Mike Martz, having played against Mike when he was with the Rams for so many years. So we know a little bit more than you would about a brand new staff. You could see anything and everything and I'm sure we probably will. It is a new staff and so you're thinking you're not quite sure. I'm sure they'll be some things in there that we haven't seen - obviously - but hopefully we can show them some new stuff too."

On how much St. Louis film he'll look at vs. Detroit, if St. Louis will be more for scheme and Detroit for personnel: "Right, and that's what you do. Although, you see as you watch both our games and St. Louis and what Detroit is doing offensively, you get a feel for who's calling the plays there. The same thing, we watched some Tampa film because in the pre-season not everyone shows everything, first of all, and secondly, a lot of the players aren't even there anymore or the guys that were going to play are injured, or whatever it is. We've done a little of our homework in both of those cases."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH SEAHAWKS QB MATT HASSELBECK
On his thoughts on coming back to the scene of Super Bowl XL:
"Well - I guess we are. We had a great time last time to be honest; it was a lot of fun. There were different activities, and different things that we got to do and a lot of us had family and friends there. (Chris) Chelios had a great little sports bar next to our hotel, we were there all the time and it was a lot of fun. I don't anticipate that it's going to be the same kind of thing this year. I doubt the people are going to be as friendly as they were last time and I doubt we're going to have free time and I know that no one in my family is coming to the game. So, I guess it will be different in that respect. It's just another football game that happens to be in Detroit."

On what he expects from the Lions defense with Head Coach Rod Marinelli and Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson: "Well, they're both great coaches. We've played against both of those guys and we've done a good amount of studying of their old Tampa (Bay) stuff, and we've probably studied more of the (New York) Jets stuff. We've been studying a lot of stuff the Jets have done in the past and a lot of stuff that Donnie (Henderson) liked to do in the past. They're really good coaches and both times that we played -the last time we played - both of those guys, their defenses had great days. Tampa dominated us last time we went down there and the Jets played us very well as well. It's just one of those things you've got to do when you prepare for a team when it's their first game. You can see what they've done but obviously they're going to have some tricks up their sleeves and we're just trying to get ready for it."

On how he feels about their (Seahawks) offense going into the season: "It's a little different without Hutchinson here, and Pork Chop's (Floyd Womack) playing that role and Joe Jurevicius we lost last year but we replaced him with Nate (Burleson). We're a pretty strong offense. I'd love to sit here and say I'm not sure about our offense, but I am sure - we're going to be really good on offense - I'm pretty confident of that. It's because of the guys on our team, we have so much talent. We have Walter Jones, he's just an unbelievable player; we got (Robbie) Tobeck who played in the Pro Bowl last year; 'Pork Chop' is a good player; Chris Gray is a very, very good player - underrated; Sean Locklear is a good young tackle; our receivers don't get the respect they deserve; our fullback (Mack Strong) played in the Pro Bowl last year; our tailback (Shaun Alexander) was the MVP of the league and our tight end even, he holds the franchise record for catches in a season. We're pretty strong on offense and our defense has just gotten that much better from last year; so, I would say - unlike in years past - we feel really, really good about our team. We're playing with a lot of confidence and that doesn't mean that we're not working hard to get better each and every day. But, maybe for the first time in a long time that we've started a season, saying we all feel good about our teams' chances this year, it feels really good. It was not always like this here."

On if there is a standard now for the team based on last year - if they don't make it back to the Super Bowl they're not successful: "That's not the way I'm approaching it. The way I'm approaching things this year is I want to win our division (again); I want to win the NFC West - we went undefeated in the NFC West (last year) - I'd love to do that again, and if we do that, that would give us a great chance to have home-field advantage in the playoffs and if we get to play at home in the playoffs that gives us a great chance to go back (to the Super Bowl) again. But, first things first: we have a very tough game here - an NFC game on the road against a good opponent who's very well coached and has a great offensive coordinator and a great defensive coordinator. After that, we have got a bunch of our conference games - our divisional games. I think if you look too far ahead it's hard to accomplish your goals. You got to put one step at a time; I think that's the approach that we're taking and that's one of the things we did last year."

On the fact that in recent history a lot of Super Bowl "runners-up" have failed to make it to the playoffs the following season and why this year will be different: "Maybe it won't, I don't know. I hope that's not the case with us. I don't know anything about those other teams - I guess it's the last five teams or something - I don't know much about them. What I do know is about our team and I doubt that would happen to us. I could be wrong and that's why you play the games. Maybe I will be wrong, but I doubt it. Mike Holmgren said in our team meeting - our first team meeting back this year - he talked about what all the different people were saying about what's going to happen this season. His point was that nobody knows what's going to happen. The only people that really affect the amount of games we win this year are us. I think that's a good approach and that's the approach we're taking. Who knows? Maybe we fall flat on our face this year. I don't think that will happen, but that's why you practice and why you play the games."

On if he thinks TE (Jerramy) Stevens will play in the game: "I'm not the injury guy, but that's not a hard one to answer - I'm still not allowed to answer it."

 

Courtesy of the Lions