DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2006

Hondo S. Carpenter

TODAY'S NEWS

  • The Lions practiced on the indoor field in pads today at the team headquarters and training facility in Allen Park.
  • The team announced today that the have placed RG Damien Woody (foot) on the reserve/injured list and signed WR Devale Ellis from the practice squad. Woody, who has not missed a game since signing with Detroit before the 2004 season, sustained a foot injury on the Lions first offensive series at Minnesota (10/8). Ellis was originally signed as an undrafted free agent May 8 after participating in the Lions' rookie mini-camp as a tryout player and was on the active roster for Detroit's season opener against Seattle. 
  • In other roster moves, Detroit signed RB Anthony Sherrell to the practice squad. Sherrell played at Eastern Michigan after growing up in Roseville, Mich.
  • The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions' injury report: DT Shaun Cody (toe), S Kenoy Kennedy (foot), LB Alex Lewis (knee) and RG Damien Woody (foot/IR) are out. T Rex Tucker (knee) and G Ross Verba (hamstring) are questionable. RB Shawn Bryson (knee), T Barry Stokes (ankle) and WR Roy Williams (back) are probable. Bryson, Cody, Kennedy, Lewis, Stokes, Tucker, Verba, Williams and Woody missed the team portion of practice today.
  • The following players have been listed on the Buffalo Bills' injury report: DT John McCargo (foot) is out and S Matt Bowen (shin) is doubtful. CB Nate Clements (quadriceps), LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring) and G Chris Villarrial (ankle) are probable. Bowen, Clements and McCargo missed the team portion of practice today.
  • LB Ernie Sims' 54 tackles through the first five weeks is the second most of any Lions linebacker since LB Steven Boyd had 58 tackles through the first five games in 1998. He has recorded at least 10 tackles in each of his first five career games.
  • Sims currently ranks first among all rookie defensive players in the NFL with his 42 tackles (press box statistics). He is also the leading tackler in the NFC and is tied for eighth in the NFL.
  • QB Jon Kitna scored on an 8-yard quarterback draw and had a12-yard touchdown pass at Minnesota (10/9) which marked his fifth career game with a rushing touchdown and at least one touchdown pass. The last time a Lions quarterback had both a rushing and a passing touchdown in the same game was in 2002 when QB Mike McMahon scored touchdowns on a 2-yard run and an 18-yard pass vs. Tampa Bay (12/15).
  • Kitna is currently first in the NFL in completions (121), second in attempts (192), second in passing yards (1,306) and eighth in completion-percentage among passers with 20 attempts-per-game (63.0).
  • The Detroit Lions 2006 "Football 301: Interactive Studies" seminar will be held at Ford Field on Friday, November 10 beginning at 5:00pm. Football 301 is a fun-filled evening geared to teach students about football strategy, equipment, official signals and helpful hints on watching a game. The seminar will include an informative lecture by Lions players and coaches, a question and answer session, interactive activities, a tour of Ford Field, autographs and a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception. All students will have the opportunity to participate in drills on the field, with each drill station being led by a Lions player. The football strategy portion of this year's event is scheduled to feature Lions players Brian Calhoun, Casey FitzSimmons, James Hall, Alex Lewis, Cory Redding, Cory Schlesinger, and Special Teams Coordinator Chuck Priefer. Advance tickets for the event are $50 per participant, and are available by clicking the Football 301 logo at www.detroitlions.com. Event day registration at the door is $60. Football 301 is presented by The Detroit Free Press, Gallo Family Vineyards and Henry Ford Health System.
  • The Lions (0-5) will return home this week to face the Bills at Ford Field. Detroit will look to get their first win after a frustrating 17-26 loss at Minnesota and Buffalo will be trying to get back on the winning track after a 40-7 loss at Buffalo. The two teams clashed in the 2006 preseason finale and the Bills left Ford Field with a 20-13 victory.
  • This week's game is scheduled to be televised live in Metro Detroit on WWJ-TV CBS Channel 62 with Gus Johnson handling play-by-play and Steve Tasker 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 out, Damien (Woody) is out, (Rex) Tucker (is) questionable, (Ross) Verba (is) questionable, Shawn Bryson (is) probable, (Barry) Stokes (is) probable, (Roy) Williams (is) probable - he is excused today for a personal matter.

On if WR Roy Williams will practice tomorrow or this week: "Yes. He has a personal matter, hopefully he's here tomorrow - so, yes I do (think he'll practice tomorrow)."

On what RB Shawn Bryson's injury was: "Knee."

On what his starting five offensive line will be with RG Damien Woody out: "We have to see where (Barry) Stokes is at; but, we got (Jonathan) Scott and Blaine (Saipaia). They have a shot to go in there."

On if T Jonathan Scott will start at right tackle: "If Stokes is up, Stokes would be at tackle. Then we have Frank Davis and Blaine also."

On the flexibility of T Barry Stokes and if he would be better inside as opposed to younger players with less experience: "Yeah - and Frank has been here for awhile. They have some really good edge rushers - really good edge rushers. All of those things come into play."

On if that's the reason why he feel betters putting Stokes at right tackle: "Yeah, if he's healthy and ready to go. Jonathan will do well too with them, but their two guys - those two ends, they can rush."

On if what he's saying is that it's T Jeff Backus and C Dominic Raiola and everything else is up in the air: "Yeah - and DeMulling, 'Mulley's' ok. He'll be up (at left guard). So then we just go to shuffle those other two guys around, find out as we go. Other than that we're fine."

On if Woody's injury was just a mid-foot sprain: "Mid-foot - he's getting it checked right now. So, we'll get more after the x-rays and all those atomic x-rays and whatever on him."

On if Woody had to go to a specialist: "Yeah."

On if he's made that move because it doesn't look like he could get back at all this year: "Yeah, it's just off the trainer's initial evaluation. It could be the Doctors (say), four to six weeks - it's there, and we just got too many guys on this list right now (that) we're still waiting, we're still waiting on four or five guys to get back that we've kept on this list for awhile. So, we're just hoping to get to the bye (week) and through the bye and hopefully get all these guys back."

On if it's a big blow to loose Woody: "Oh, he's a good player - good player."

On why WR Devale Ellis was signed on from their practice squad: "It gives us another guy in the mix there to look at. We have an opportunity to have a spot open and he's just one of the guys we think deserves it."

On the fact that he's waited so long to become a head coach, if that at all helps him to be patient to get a win: "No, it's just kind of day-to-day. (We're) just working, just pounding away what we're believing in and just kind of keeping the details going. That's the thing I'm just real patient with, is just keep working at it and all the discipline and all the structure we need to get done."

On if he can focus more on just getting through the minute and the day and not beat himself up: "Oh, I'm not going to do that, I'm not going to do that - I won't do that. I just go back to work. We had a good meeting today and just seeing some of the gaps that we lost, (we'll) work back and we take it on ourselves as staff members first, that we've got to re-teach those gap assignments and make sure we're disciplined on it. It starts with me and we just go back and re-teach it, and why, why - and the fits have got to be correct."

On how hard it is to function on offense without a quality offensive line: "It's tougher; it's a challenge. But, I think the key is that the guys that step into those positions now have to play like a starter. They have to do that. That's what we're counting on, and we can't count on them to play like backups. They've got to play. The communication is a little more difficult, but they've just got to work on it."

On if he had to change anything or make adjustments for what he doesn't have: "Oh, yeah, you do. Then hopefully we're able to put these guys in some better positions. Sometimes you may have to give a guy help on a rusher that you wouldn't necessarily do. So, that's where you open a guy like Stokes, because he'll make it back and be in good shape on some of these rushers."

On the defense doing everything right pretty much during the week in filling their gaps and if it's just until they get it down and it's second nature that it's week-to-week in terms of knowing what he's going to get: "The habits - I've got this gap right here, and that ball starts to break in and a guy bites - just biting. Now you got two guys in the gap and that ball hits it and that ball hits. That one 28-yard run was exactly that to a tee. We had everything filled, 'WILL' was filling to the free, coming in here and the one guy just came in and jammed inside - just can't do it. Just got to be patient and lock the gap."

On if the guys practice gaps correctly in practice: "Yes."

On if when game time comes until its second nature you don't know what you'll get: "You hope you keep engraining it, engraining it, working it, going over it, taking the film and showing them why we lost and how we lost. It's not that anybody's not trying, or not wanting to do it right - it's doing it right under pressure."

On if McGahee would be told to look for the cutbacks: "He's a natural - that's him. He'll start it in and then drift back, so we really highlighted that today - how important our discipline is on the backside. Every gap is important, but we need to be exact; you'll get a breakout with this guy."

On if he'll go with eight-man fronts to begin the game: "Sometimes the eight-man fronts are sometimes where your breakouts come. One guy is off - man now it's the free safety. Seven-man fronts - sometimes there's 5-yard pushes in there, 4-yard runs, because guys are two-gapping and falling back. So you get more guys sometimes on the hit. But the eight-man front played right should be minus yardage. So we need to stay on that and then get off - just discipline, discipline, discipline."

On if he feels they will see McGahee a ton early in the game: "Oh yeah, heck yeah. They're going to keep the ball on the string; they have a good line. I think it's a good solid line, I really like their tackles and the back is special."

On if he needs his defensive line to step up: "Oh, every day - it starts up front."

On if McGahee runs with power and if he has redefined himself since his knee injury: "He has that power and then it's that subtle cutback. He starts it down and brings people inside then he subtly cuts it back. We played against him last year and he's really good."

On if McGahee has similarities to Eric Dickerson: "I would think so. He is a powerful man - he's explosive. So we definitely have our hands full."

On what the offensive line has left with the guys healthy to play: "Really a good veteran left tackle, he's playing really well - Jeff (Backus), he's playing really well. Dominic (Raiola) at center, those two guys have really played extremely well for us all year. You have a left guard Mulley - he's solid, cranking it in there. You have some youth with Jonathan (Scott) in there and if (Barry) Stokes is up, he's a salty veteran who can help us. Frank Davis has a lot of young potential."

On if he agrees with Backus saying he doesn't want anything to change: "Just the consistency and a lot of time that is the consistency in the run game. Where things change is what the defense does, that's what changes you."

On if there are any linemen left to grab in the league: "One, we were lucky to get Blaine when we got him. He's used to the system; he can play a lot of spots; he has a lot of mobility in terms of those things - bright guy. So he can pick that stuff up pretty good. But when you get a rash of guys like this - it is what it is. So in the long run we'll have the chance to really develop - Scott has played, Frank's going to have to play and Blaine's going to have to play and we're counting on them to step up and play like starters."

On how Ellis will affect the wide receivers: "We just wanted to bring him up this week and see how he's doing. He's just been devastating in our practice squad. He's just fast, really fast. He really has some stuff to him and we need to take a good look at him. He has special speed, so we'll see."

On if he has looked at the Tigers at all: "I haven't had a chance but I love baseball. I admire what their doing - what a season."

On if he believes when the Tigers are done if it will put more or less pressure on the Lions to win: "I don't believe anything else can put more pressure on me than me - there's nothing. It's so important to me to be good and football is so important to me."

On if the Bills remind him of a Jauron coached team: "Their defensive coordinator came from Chicago with Lovie (Smith). So it's very similar to ours; it kind of follows suit to that. They play some cover-two and the hustling; they're getting some energy off of their front four - they're very active right now. They do a nice job with McGahee, I mean they have a special back; they're doing a nice job of running. The quarterback is coming, he seems like he's coming every week"

On if Holt is going to start: "Good chance if he's totally healthy."

On what is the injury with him: "His back - hopefully he's loosening up."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH BILLS HEAD COACH DICK JAURON

On if it's weird to go from Chicago to Detroit, both teams he's coached for, in consecutive weeks: "Well, in some ways it was really nice, and it will be nice; but, in other ways, particularly after a loss - the last weekend - it's never nice to lose. But, in those two places, and really I have to say, every place that I have been fortunate enough to coach in the NFL - I loved it. I loved being there. I loved living there. So, it's nice in that regard, and it's always nice to play in the NFL. Games on Sunday's are just unbelievable, they're so exciting and everybody is doing everything they can to win. So, I guess in some ways I like going back. In many ways it's another NFL Sunday. So it's great in that regard, and then if it soon - if it's close to when you were there before you generally know a good number of people and they're generally really good people. So, that's a good part of it too."

On how much he recognizes on this defense from the two years he spend coaching here: "Certainly a number of the players are still there. The scheme is different - it's somewhat different; but, there are always components that are incorporated in just about everybody's scheme. We play a similar scheme here, but a lot of the personnel - certainly there's a lot of guys here. There's a lot of change over every year as you guys know in the NFL on every team; but, there are a good number of players that are still there."

On how disappointed he was that he didn't get the chance to come back and be more than the interim head coach: "Well, let's see, how do you say this; I'm really happy to be where I am. I guess that's the best answer to that. I had an opportunity to come to Buffalo and I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it and what a great challenge it is at the same time. I try to spend as little time as possible looking back - its human nature to reflect at times - but, as much as I can avoid it, I avoid it. I'm really happy here."

On how much he interviewed for the position and how much he felt he had a shot at it: "I'm not sure there's much good in going in that direction - for me. I enjoyed my time there, I really appreciated the opportunity I had and really enjoyed being there and now I'm not there. I'm here, and I as I said earlier, I'm really happy about it."

On if there's any difference coaching on a newer franchise than there is coaching for a 'Bedrock' team: "Well, yeah, there is a difference. But, I'm certainly in no way indicating that I think the difference is better. Let me explain it; the difference to me is the history - and I like history. I like reading about it; I like thinking about it. I grew up as a teenager in the 60's when the AFL - I was from the Boston area and the Boston Patriots were big rivals of the Buffalo Bills, you know, the old AFL. So, I was familiar with it, and I know the history and I like the history. Of course, we all know the history of Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit. Chicago is a charter franchise; Green Bay and Detroit are almost as old. I'll say this; the experience in Jacksonville was a great NFL experience for me. I had the opportunity - Tom Coughlin brought me there - to start the franchise and that was terrific; that was really something and we had no history. So, there was an opportunity to kind of write the history from the beginning. I had never done that, except for there, I'd never been involved except for there. Tom, of course, did a terrific job and it was great too. Like I said earlier, I've really loved every place I've been, although they've been different and Jacksonville was different in the regard of being the newest."

On how the Lions have talked about how they see themselves getting closer to a win despite being 0-5 and how he see's that manifesting on the film he's watched: "They're right. They've obviously been really close. They've done a lot of things right and, you know, the fickleness of our game, of game Sunday's. The ball just bounces in funny directions sometimes and you can't do a whole lot about it except keep struggling, you know? Keep fighting through it. I know there's a lot of character there and I know that they've done a terrific job, Rod and his staff have done a terrific job coaching them. They'll do fine. Obviously, I hope it's not this weekend just as obviously they hope it is. Overall, we're all working towards the same thing in trying to get there."

On how good RB Willis McGahee has been for him: "Willis has done a terrific job for us. He's a tough guy; he's a willing worker and he doesn't shy from any work in practice. You don't worry about his conditioning - he works at it and he likes to play. He really enjoys playing the game. So, it's been good, you know, it's been good. We've just got to do a better job with our entire football team - a better job everywhere - being more consistent."

On if McGahee is a different style runner now since rehabbing from his college injury: "It's an interesting question, but probably not from me, because I only know him as I have him. So, I can't tell you that, I don't know. He's good; he's really good in my opinion. I don't know how much better he would be or could be, or any of that. I just know he's a really good back and I'm glad we have him."

On how some of the players here said that he was a calming influence for them in a difficult time last year following the departure of Coach Mariucci and how difficult it was for him to take over: "It was hard, it was very hard. I think the world of Steve (Mariucci) - I thought the world of him then, still do, obviously. It was a difficult situation for everybody to be in, everybody in the whole organization. How do I say this? I did it because I really have a lot of respect for ownership, I have a lot of respect for those players and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the coaching staff that I was there with. That's the reason why I did it and it was interesting. It wasn't easy, but in the long run I expect it will be a good experience, but it wasn't easy in the short-term."

On if Bills Owner, Ralph Wilson, who resides in Michigan, adds a little significance to this game: "Well, that's a question you'd probably have to ask him and I'm sure he'd have an answer for you; but, I'm certainly not going to speak for our ownership in regard to that. I don't know how much more incentive you can ever have in an NFL game - just speaking from our position. Every single game is - you know there's so few of them in a year and they're critically important, obviously. You've got that 60-minute period to do everything you can to win it. So, it's hard to imagine them getting more importance than getting another game."

On if he's followed the baseball playoffs at all: "The truth needs to be spoken - I'm a Red Sox's fan. So, I was very disappointed when they didn't make it, but how can you not focus on Detroit and what they've done in such a great year for them. I do like baseball, but I'm broken hearted with the Sox at home."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH BILLS RB WILLIS MCGAHEE
On what he sees in Detroit's defense:
"They have a very fast corps of linebackers, a nice defensive line; they're getting comfortable and they're starting to play better. Things just aren't going their way right now."

On how the Lions' defense have held a number of good backs to short yardage and if McGahee sees a big week coming up for him here: "I'm looking for a big week every week, so I'm going to go out and play the same way. We have to rebound after the loss we just had and hopefully we can make something happen."

On if he has any thoughts on playing consecutive NFC teams and if it's a little unusual for him: "Yeah, it's unusual for me because I haven't played as many NFC teams since I've been here. But, it's a great experience just to get to go up against another conference. I like it."

On if the Bills have any disadvantages coming to play in Detroit, having not played a regular season game in Detroit for twelve years: "I don't look at it like that. We played a preseason game up there. We were just up there for our preseason game, so that's how I'm looking at it."

On if Coach Jauron has told him about any defensive schemes the Lions might throw at him: "No, Coach is just letting us do what we do, you know what I mean? He's going to coach us the same way he's coached us all year and he's going to continue to do that. We're going to continue to do our same routine."

On the fact that he leads the AFC in rushing and if it's what he envisioned throughout the rehab on his knee: "No, just good things are falling my way right now. Hopefully I can maintain staying on top but nothing is guaranteed."

On if there's any extra motivation to play in Detroit since Coach Jauron coached here: "No, there's no difference in Coach Jauron's coaching style. That's not a motivator. We're going to go out and play hard regardless. What motivates us is the loss we just took. We got a monkey on our back right now."

On how some of the Lions who previously had Coach Jauron said he was a calming coach, and what McGahee's take is on Juaron's personality: "He's a good coach, he's a player's coach - everybody loves him. He's not the type that goes around yelling and doing all that. He's going to talk to us like men. That's the type of coach he is."
COURTESY OF THE LIONS

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