DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

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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 team announced today that they have released WR Corey Bradford and signed T Blaine Saipaia. Saipaia, 6-3, 315, spent the 2006 preseason with the St. Louis Rams where he had played the previous two seasons (2004-05). He played in nine games for the Rams last season and started three (two at RT, one at TE). Saipaia entered the league in 2000, finishing that season on the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Bradford signed with the Lions March 13, 2006. He started in the season opener vs. Seattle (9/10) and had three receptions for 36 yards.
  • The Lions are currently ranked sixth in the NFC in pass offense after only three games. In 2005 after three games the Lions' pass offense was ranked 12th in the NFC. In the NFL, Detroit's passing game is currently ranked eight in comparison to the 2005 season where the Lions ranked 26th after three games and 26th at the end of the season.
  • The following players have been listed on the Detroit Lions' injury report: S Kenoy Kennedy (foot) and LB Alex Lewis (knee) are out. CB Fernando Bryant (ankle), T Barry Stokes (hamstring), T Rex Tucker (knee) and G Ross Verba (hamstring) are questionable. DT Shaun Rogers (knee) is probable. Kennedy, Lewis, Rogers, Stokes, Tucker and Verba each missed the team portion of practice today.
  • The following player has been listed on the St. Louis Rams' injury report: T Orlando Pace (concussion) is questionable and missed the team portion of practice today.
  • The Lions (0-3) will make their first ever trip to the Edwards Jones Dome this week to face the Rams (2-1). Detroit will look to get their first win after a difficult 31-24 loss to Green Bay while St. Louis will be trying to build off a close 16-14 victory at Arizona.
  • Sunday'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:
"Injury update: we have Kenoy Kennedy, (foot) - out; Alex Lewis is still out; Fernando Bryant - questionable (ankle); Barry Stokes, (hamstring) is questionable, Rex Tucker, (knee) - questionable, (Ross) Verba, (hamstring) - questionable and Shaun Rogers', (knee) is probable. We signed Blaine Saipaia and he is a very good player, he was with the Rams. We let Corey Bradford go today, so we had a chance to get this young man. He's played tackle, he played guard, he played center and he's been a move tight end; he knows the offense real well and it gives us some real added depth right know that we really need."

On why WR Corey Bradford was let go: "As we looked at it, we felt that we had a lot of guys practicing and starting to play pretty well and we thought that was the right move for the group."

On if Bradford struggled to pick up the offense: "No, we just felt when we made the move that was the right guy to move."

On what the move means for WR Mike Williams and WR Shaun Bodiford: "It means there are opportunities for the younger players."

On if Bradford was brought in to be a mentor and a deep threat and what it means now that he's gone: "We just felt this was the right move for our team right now - it's a good move. We like some of the young guys that are coming up right now and we thought it was good move."

On if WR Mike Williams will play more: "It just gives opportunities for these young guys - good opportunities."

On if the move shows how much the coaching staff thinks of Bodiford: "Of all of the young players - it's a move we felt good with. We had to make a move with somebody and it had to be a guy and that was the position we're the deepest in on the football team and it was the healthiest. So we had to take a guy from there. Any guy you look at would have been 'why that guy?' So that's where it's at."

On where T Blaine Saipaia will start out at (what position): "The one thing is that he gives you really good position flexibility. He can play some tackle position for us and that is key for us right now."

On if Saipaia is listed as a backup behind T Jonathan Scott: "This guy just came in the first day. We felt Jonathan made some very good progress - did a nice job. It was the first try out the shoot for him and that's what this thing is all about - young players getting the opportunities to go out and have the chance to compete, to see what they can do."

On if CB Fernando Bryant got hurt today: "It was kind of lingering from the Chicago game."

On if Bryant practiced today: "It was questionable out there - he moved around some - (he's) sore and stiff."

On if he is considering any other roster changes to his starting line up; at left guard or cornerback: "No, not really. We just about have the same guys in the offensive line."

On if CB Jamar Fletcher will stat at cornerback again: "Yeah, we're building some depth there."

On if Bryant does play, will he play the nickel back with Fletcher on the outside: "We'll look at some situations of having a corner at some nickel situations; (John) McGraw some and a corner at some."

On who would be the choices if Bryant can't play: "It could be (Stanley Wilson) or it could be (Keith Smith) - it could be both of those guys."

On the linebackers getting to much depth in the Green Bay Game: "You know what happened: he was in the gun and it was like a three step drop - the ball comes out pretty quick - we were getting back to deep. So we have to shorten our drops a little bit."

On what is preventing the team from playing man-to-man: "It's part of our package. One of things is the 'TWO' has always been a good coverage against him (Favre) and he's very patient with the ball. He didn't try to go up top much - credit to him. We have to keep mixing it - play our man coverage, four man rush with man coverage, our five man rushes with man coverage."

On if the opponent continues to max protect what is the coverage change: "Now you have guys jumping people, huddling people up. We just have to get good at what we're doing and we did some of it."

On if he is considering any more blitzes: "We're always looking at things to offset it. When you (face) max protect, you don't want to blitz. You have blockers picking it up, that's when you want coverage. The more they keep in the more you want out."

On if the max protect is what hurt them last Sunday: "That didn't really hurt us. What hurt us was we had the coverage one and the big play down the field, we had a bracket one time and he threw over our head and we had a penalty on the play for 28 yards. We had a three-deep coverage and the safeties lined up on the wrong side and the guy leaked out so three big plays - that's what hurt us. It was just doing the little things right and we made mistakes."

On if Bradford was surprised on what happened today: "He's a real veteran. It's all part of the business. Any guy in that group would have been surprised, not just him. They're all working and they're all competing all the time - it's the NFL. That what this league is, you don't want to lose a good player, but we've also go three lineman down, a linebacker down, and a secondary guy down. So, there's no other place to pull from. We've got six offensive linemen who are healthy right now and we have to find a way to get a seventh guy. You have to pull and any guy you pull from any group will be a surprising shock."

On if Coach Martz has been talking about going against his old team: "The game at hand, he's just looking at the game at hand."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH RAMS HEAD COACH SCOTT LINEHAN
On what's going to be tough about going against the Lions defense: "Well, nobody's been able to run the ball against them. I mean, we certainly want to have us a running game that's effective and I haven't seen anyone do it yet. The defensive line is pretty stout. I think that's an issue because that's where you start offensively - is finding ways to run it. I know that the secondary has had some different lineups in there, but it seems like that's getting shored up. The only way I look at it is that they're playing pretty darn good - (they) shut Seattle down; last week they ran into a red hot Brett Favre - which a lot of teams have done. So, it's a big challenge now."

On how Green Bay neutralized the defensive line and what he can learn from them: "Well, I think they were still pretty effective against the run. I think (Brett Favre) had a really good day. Certainly if you get one-dimensional in any one phase offensively, it's risky. I think they were able to throw it pretty effectively and that was probably the difference in their day offensively and what they've done. I think any defensive coach would say that they'd rather have it that way."

On how much (if anything) he's kept of Martz's system: "A lot of things. There are things that we've ran in places that are very similar, so we tried to keep those similar and kept a lot of getting lined up and the formations similar because we have so many older players - players that have been here. So, we've tried to make it easy on them and like I told our guys here I've basically plagiarized (Mike Martz) and every other great offensive coach that I've studied. I had a lot of plays before I even got here that were probably plays ran by the Rams before, so that's kind of how I look at it."

On what the key is to winning close games in the NFL (if there is one): "Luck has something to do with it. We got a little lucky last week; got a little unlucky and then got a lot lucky. I think, usually the guys that are on the bus before you leave have a big factor in hanging in there, the character of the team usually gets tested in tight games. I think that's pretty important too."

On RB Kevin Jones having his best running game of the season last week and what the Rams need to do to slow him down: "Well, when you have a group that's starting to gel up front and a back that can get it done and get yards after contact, it's great. He's a great yards after contact back, that's a tough one - I'm not sure we have that answer yet."

On WR Roy Williams referring to the Rams defense as 'weird' and how he would describe it: "I can understand because there are some conventional type defense's in the league that people are used to seeing. One thing, (Jim Haslett) and (Rick Venturi) and (Willy Robinson) and those guys, have got a lot of things they've been working on, you know - obviously they've been working together. It's a progressive defense that plays good percentages and things like that, that an opposing team might run a certain type play in a certain situation. So, I guess it's a little bit 'weird' or unconventional. I'd like to think of it as a progressive type defense more than anything else."

On what he means by having a progressive type defense: "Well, I think we're trying new things. I think the great thing about our defense is that they start by being sound, but they try new ways to do maybe the same thing. It's not just offense's that shift in motion and disguise. I think defenses are getting to where they do a good job of not showing their hand either and I think we work very hard at that."

On if it's going to be interesting to watch with all of the shifts that Martz does and if they're going to get into a trap where they try to out-smart each other: "The way I look at it - the two geniuses are going at each other (Mike Martz and Jim Haslett) - I'm just going to sit there like you guys and enjoy the show."

On if he thinks that offenses have gotten so sophisticated that in order to be successful or to be tricky you have to play unsound defense and do things they don't expect: "I don't like the term unsound. I think you've got to be unconventional and still be sound. I think you have to show things both ways if you can - if it's possible. I think, you can look at unsound a couple of ways: If you're unsound then you're really playing with fire, I think if you're unconventional and then by the snap your sound, I think that might be a bit better. I think if you can put your difference making type players in those kinds of looks, in a position where they might get a one-on-one or something like that, then that way you can - I'd be really careful about the unsound part."

On if what he's saying is that he's disguising it to make it look like they're unsound to force a match-up and then by the time of the snap they're where they want to be: "I didn't say they're trying to be unsound - maybe you just want to give it a different look than what you're actually doing."

CONFERENCE CALL WITH RAMS QB MARC BULGER
On his feelings about Mike Martz coming back to St. Louis: "You know, I haven't really thought about it much until today because I knew questions were going to come. But you know, I don't think it's going to affect us too much. I think for him though - being the head coach here - he might (be affected). His routine might be a little different; he might not be used to walking on that side of the building. So, I think it will be a little bit tougher for him than it'll be for us, since we're in the same routine."

On what the feeling has been like in town about the return of Martz and if it's a big subject: "I would assume so, I haven't really read much; but, he had a lot of success here and had a lot of great years here, so I'm sure the fans and everyone will have a warm welcome here."

On Martz's feel of the game and how it's different from other guys he's (Bulger) known: "In offensive history he was my only coach I had in the NFL. The six years I had with him were all I know and I learned a great deal from him, as well as (Kurt Warner). I know it's aggressive and you never give up and you go 100 miles an hour at all times. So, I learned a lot and I think that he definitely helped me get my career started."

On how different the St. Louis offense is now without Martz: "It's different. You know, I think even if teams like Arizona used to and I know in Buffalo they use the same system as Coach Martz, but they're still different because he's continually changing things and he never has a set offense - he's always growing it and putting in new ideas and that's what made it fun to be in and I think that's why it's always been so good."

On what's going on with his offense with only two touchdowns in three games: "You know we're - like I said, we have a new offense. We've kicked a lot of field goals, we've been moving the ball, so it's not like we're not getting a lot of first downs and not being able to move the ball, so we're happy with that aspect. We know it's going to take patience anytime you have the same system in for eight or nine years and try to change it. We're 2-1, so whether we're doing well or the defense (is) that's all we care about - winning games."

On what he sees in the Lion's defense: "I mean, I haven't gotten to look at them too much, but you know, up front they're really, really good. (Shaun Roger's) is a big player, great playmaker and I know he hasn't gone too great yet, but we know his capabilities. Obviously, I played with (Dré Bly) here and we know what kind of a playmaker he is. They've got that athletic linebacker crew and I know (Torry's) brother (Terrence Holt) - he's a student of the game. So, it's going to be a tough match-up, but I'd say as far as I can see the front force play is the strength right now."

On how Rams Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson has done and how much he's brought from Detroit: "I don't know about how much of the offense he brought, it's Coach Linehan's system. I know that (Greg) had the west coast system and we're not west coast; but, he has a great feel for the game and I've learned from him and I still think he's continuing to learn Linehan's offense. It's been nice working with him so far."

 

Courtesy of the Lions