The Detroit Lions continue to nurse plenty of injured players on their roster. Four starters and one reserve are inactive at practice today.
Running back Reggie Bush (knee), tackle Jason Fox (groin), linebacker Ashlee Palmer (ankle), receiver Patrick Edwards (ankle) and backup safety Don Carey (hamstring) were all held out of practice today. Guard Rob Sims was listed as limited for Wednesday's practice, but he was active and involved today.
After sitting out yesterday resting his knee, safety Louis Delmas returned to practice with the team. He has played in 112 out of 114 snaps this season with the Lions.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley was suited up again today and was more active than yesterday. He continues to stretch his shoulder on occasion, but took extra reps in the sled drill with the defensive linemen.
Wide receiver Ryan Broyles was also active today. He's still yet to make his season premiere with the Lions.
The Detroit Lions are in full focus of their Week 3 opponent the Washington Redskins. After suffering a 25-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, they're coming into practice a bit hobbled.
Inactive at practice today was running back Reggie Bush (knee), safety Louis Delmas (rest), tackle Jason Fox (groin), receiver Patrick Edwards (ankle), and safety Don Carey (hamstring). Bush hurt his knee after a 26-yard catch and run this past week. After trying to return in the second half, Bush said he lost his burst and was unable to return. He'll deliver a word for the media later today.
On the brighter side, tackle Nick Fairley was back with helmet and pads on. He only participated in defensive linemen drills as a snapper, but being suited and rotating his injured shoulder and arm in a circle earlier is a positive sign.
Head coach Jim Schwartz said yesterday receiver Ryan Broyles was "getting closer" to making his season debut. He too was practicing again during drills with the wide receivers. Last season, Broyles made his debut with the team on Week 3. We could see the same turn out Sunday at Washington.
The Detroit Lions travel down to Arizona to face their Week 2 opponents, the Cardinals. Plenty of lessons learned after their up-and-down victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the season opener. This road matchup is nothing to take lightly, and the Lions will have to click on all cylinders to leave Arizona with a victory.
Here are the most important keys to ending Week 2 2-0.
1. Attack Palmer
The front four of Detroit's defense got off to a nice start in Week 1, chipping in for three sacks, five hits on Minnesota's Christian Ponder and helping force three interceptions. After heavy pressure on Ponder, they should be licking their chops to get at Cardinals' new quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer is notorious for holding the football too long and is no threat to make plays scrambling on his feet. The Lions' depth on the line should be able to overwhelm Palmer and force some mistakes as well as knock down some passes.
Arizona's offensive line is one of the weakest links of the team. First-round lineman Jonathan Cooper broke his leg in Week 3 of the preseason against the San Diego Chargers on August 24. The battle of the interior should be won by the Lions.
Tackle Nick Fairley is listed as questionable due to a shoulder injury, but should be active. This could be a very disruptive day for captain Ndamukong Suh and Fairley.
2. Protect the Ball and Stafford
Last week, quarterback Matthew Stafford only turned the ball over once by an interception tipped at the line of scrimmage. Outside of that, he was effective and in control, completing 28 of 43 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
After standing strong against Minnesota's defense, it gets a little bit tougher on the road against Arizona. Protecting Stafford and taking care of the ball should be mandatory this week.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson will be shadowed all game by arguably the best cover cornerback in the NFL Patrick Peterson. The rest of Arizona's secondary is filled with ball hawks like Tyrann Mathieu and Jerraud Powers.
The offensive line kept Stafford's jersey clean last week only allowing one sack. However, the Lions will be without starting right tackle Jason Fox who is nursing an injured groin. He was replaced by Corey Hilliard in the first half last week and will get the start this week. This unit needs a repeat of success from last week against the Cardinals rush.
3. Help Reggie Stay Healthy
New acquisition Reggie Bush wanted to put on a show at Ford Field, and he did just that. Picking up 90 yards on the ground, plus 101 receiving with a touchdown, Bush gave an exciting glimpse of how exciting he can make this offense.
My biggest concern with Bush in this offense is overusing him, exposing him to getting hurt. During Week 1, it happened.
Bush hurt his groin, knee and dislocated his thumb which was popped back in during halftime last week. The presence and game-breaking ability of Bush is way too important to this offense and Detroit's success.
To keep him healthy, however, I wouldn't lighten up this workload on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan mastered a great scheme to get Bush open in space. If the Lions want to help preserve Bush's health, the other secondary options can be utilized in making plays of their own.
Another efficient game from receiver Nate Burleson and running back Joique Bell would help. Any sort of reliability from tight end Brandon Pettigrew would help. Stafford and receiver Patrick Edwards connecting on one of those deep routes they run would help.
4. Cover Everybody
The Lions secondary is, without question, a work in progress. If Detroit's defensive backs don't cover and hold their own against Arizona, they could be in for a long day.
Even being past his prime, Carson Palmer's last game against the Lions was when he was quarterbacking the Oakland Raiders. Palmer had a dangerous game, completing 32 out of 40 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown, and that was with weapons like T.J. Houshmanzadeh and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Palmer's weapons are much-improved and found a little chemistry last week against St. Louis. Veteran Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best receivers in the NFL, and the Cardinals have some upcoming talent with Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd.
The Lions scooped up three interceptions, and one came from the secondary by safety Glover Quin. The cornerbacks didn't have the best performance last week, as rookie Darius Slay was picked on by receiver Jerome Simpson, and Bill Bentley dropped an interception.
The coverage units on special teams need to be on their best game as well. Arizona features one of the most dangerous return men in Patrick Peterson, and he's bound to return one at any moment.
Prediction: Detroit has lost the last four matchups against the Cardinals, mainly from mental errors and poor discipline. This could be a wild game that comes down to which team has the ball last.
Detroit 30, Arizona 27
|New York Jets @ New England (Today 8:30 PM)||
Both AFC East rivals survived a Week 1 scare. Tom Brady is 5-0 on Thursday nights, and that should continue even with doubtful targets (Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola). Winner: New England
|St. Louis @ Atlanta (Sun 1 PM)||
Atlanta's success thrives at home and through their offense. Roddy White's high ankle sprain could keep him sidelined or ineffective again, but Steven Jackson should be motivated plenty to play his old team. Winner: St. Louis
|Cleveland @ Baltimore (Sun 1 PM)||
The Ravens will continue to be haunted by Peyton Manning, at least until Sunday. Brandon Weeden is a turnover machine and Ray Rice has a favorable matchup if he gets the ball enough. Winner: Baltimore
|Carolina @ Buffalo (Sun 1 PM)||
Buffalo and Carolina both choked away upsets in Week 1. Both showed more fight than expected, and should be another close finish. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are looking to recover after each fumbling and struggling last week. Winner: Buffalo
|Minnesota @ Chicago (Sun 1 PM)||
The Bears offense clicked well enough to overcome a monster performance from Bengals' A.J. Green. Minnesota couldn't stop the Lions on offense and got the majority of their help from overturned rulings by officials. Winner: Chicago
|Washington @ Green Bay (Sun 1 PM)||
Washington was picked apart by the fast-pace Eagles offense, and it doesn't get much easier in Week 2. The Packers offense was able to move against the 49ers despite the loss, and their defense should be able to pressure RG3. Winner: Green Bay
|Tennessee @ Houston (Sun 1 PM)||
Arian Foster wants to be the featured more in Houston's offense, as he should be. He's arguably the best offensive weapon for the Texans, and should help their well-balanced attack against the Titans. Winner: Houston
|Miami @ Indianapolis (Sun 1 PM)||
Andrew Luck remains lost in the discussion of the best young quarterbacks courtesy of the budding spread option. Luck's a smooth athlete with mobility as well, and should lead his team over the Dolphins. Winner: Indy
|Dallas @ Kansas City (Sun 1 PM)||
The Kansas City Chiefs did what they were supposed to do against a team as bad as the Jaguars. The Cowboys should have Dez Bryant active and should win by double digits. Winner: Dallas
|San Diego @ Philadelphia (Sun 1 PM)||
Chip Kelly's offense seems to be in the right place, and knows how to utilizes his pieces. LeSean McCoy touched the ball 31 times for 184 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles should keep the pace high against the Chargers who gave up a victory last week in usual Chargers fashion. Winner: Philadelphia
|Detroit @ Arizona (Sun 4:05 PM)||
Larry Fitzgerald was in vintage form last week (8 catches, 80 yards, 2 TDs) with his new quarterback Carson Palmer. The Lions should keep Palmer in check if the defensive line pressure's Arizona's weak offensive line. Nick Fairley should be active as well. Winner: Detroit
|New Orleans @ Tampa Bay (Sun 4:05 PM)||
Tampa Bay tossed away a victory courtesy of LaVonte David's late hit on Jets' Geno Smith. This game should feature plenty of offense. The Saints aren't at their best on the road, but Drew Brees should be able to outduel Josh Freeman. Winner: New Orleans
|Denver @ New York Giants (Sun 4:25 PM)||
Never bet against Peyton Manning in the regular season. His chemistry should only improve over the season with Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and breakout tight end Julius Thomas. If Denver's O-line can protect Peyton, he should stay undefeated against little brother Eli. Winner: Denver
|Jacksonville @ Oakland (Sun 4:25 PM)||
This one can get ugly. Tyrelle Pryor called his NFL starting debut "awful", but actually made some plays with his legs and his arm in a close loss to the Colts. Maurice Jones-Drew should see the ball more against Oakland, but won't be enough for that offense on the road. Winner: Oakland
|San Francisco @ Seattle (Sun 8:30 PM)||
The 49ers showed last week why they're the class of the NFC and possibly the whole league. Colin Kaepernick made great use of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis last week, and should find more success against the injured defense of Seattle. Winner: San Francisco
|Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati (Mon 8:40 PM)||The Steelers have injuries everywhere and have a tough road challenge against the Bengals. A.J. Green had a monster performance Week 1 against Chicago and could continue his tear against his division rivals. The Bengals pass rush could be in Big Ben's face all day if he continues holding the football. Winner: Cincinnati|
|Baltimore @ Denver (Thu 8:30 PM)||A new era of Baltimore will need time to retain their elite status. Home-field advantage and Peyton Manning will be too much for the Ravens. Winner: Denver|
|New England @ Buffalo (Sun 1 PM)||The Patriots are still the cream of the crop in the AFC East. Buffalo could be the worst team in the league by the end of the year. Winner: New England|
|Seattle @ Carolina (Sun 1 PM)||Both quarterbacks are pioneers of the spread option, but Cam Newton could cough up some turnovers to Seattle's opportunistic defense and the best secondary in football. Winner: Seattle|
|Cincinnati @ Chicago (Sun 1 PM)||The Bengals ranked third in sacks last year, and should bring plenty of pressure from Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson to another new offensive system for Jay Cutler since joining Chicago. Winner: Cincinnati|
Miami @ Cleveland (Sun 1 PM)
|A toss up between two young quarterbacks. The edge goes to Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns this week for having breakout candidate Trent Richardson. Winner: Cleveland|
|Minnesota @ Detroit (Sun 1 PM)||A sloppy preseason by Matthew Stafford should be improved by Sunday. Detroit's defensive line can create problems for Christian Ponder and the loss of Jerome Felton will be a big factor for the Vikings. Winner: Detroit|
|Oakland @ Indianapolis (Sun 1 PM)||The Terrelle Pryor experience is officially on in Oakland, who could struggle heavily this season. Andrew Luck should be able to throw all over Oakland's defense at home. Winner: Indianapolis|
Kansas City @ Jacksonville (Sun 1 PM)
|After battling last year for the No. 1 overall draft, the Jags could face the same fate this season. The Chiefs finally get Jamaal Charles back and should run away with a season opening win on the road. Winner: KC|
|Atlanta @ New Orleans (Sun 1 PM)||The Saints are 11-3 against the Falcons since Drew Brees joined the franchise. This potential shootout favors the road team however, especially with new acquisition Steven Jackson in the backfield. Winner: Atlanta|
|Tampa Bay @ New York Jets (Sun 1 PM)||Darrelle Revis said he'd "spill the beans" on his former team for this weekend's matchup. Probably not necessary against the rebuilding Jets who have officially launched the Geno Smith era. Winner: Tampa Bay|
|Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (Sun 1 PM)||Chris Johnson struggles at Heinz Field. CJ2K picked up only 51 yards in '11 and 57 yards in '09. Not sure Jake Locker is ready to carry this team on the road against a hostile opponent like the Steelers. Winner: Pittsburgh|
|Green Bay @ San Francisco (Sun 4:25 PM)||Green Bay was embarrassed in the playoffs last year by the Niners. Colin Kaepernick is playing behind one of the best lines in the league and has a special target in Anquan Boldin with the absence of Michael Crabtree. Winner: San Francisco|
Arizona @ St. Louis (Sun 4:25 PM)
|The Cardinals still don't have a reliable quarterback to get their best playmaker Larry Fitzgerald the football. This game may get ugly offense, but could get some nice highlights from rookie Tavon Austin. Winner: St. Louis|
|New York Giants @ Dallas (Sun 8:30 PM)||The Cowboys and Giants will come down to who makes the least mistakes. Eli Manning and Tony Romo both still have their occurring miscues, but Dallas should clean those up with a healthy DeMarco Murray and better pass attack. A bigger year from Dez Bryant should be expected. Winner: Dallas|
Philadelphia @ Washington (Mon 7 PM)
|The Eagles should be able to keep Michael Vick upright this year with Lane Johnson and a healthy Jason Peters. But if they continue to underuse LeSean McCoy, more mistakes and turnovers should be on the way. The Eagles defense could also see plenty of trouble against RG3 and Alfred Morris on the ground. Winner: Washington|
|Houston @ San Diego (Mon 10:20 PM)||Houston finally got a new target in DeAndre Hopkins to help take pressure away from Andre Johnson. The Texans pass attack plus Arian Foster on the ground could be too much for San Diego to deal with. The Chargers have too many new players and coaches to matchup to an elite opponent like the Texans. Winner: Houston|
Detroit Lions No. 5 pick Ziggy Ansah hasn't practiced since August 24 due to an unknown injury. However, there was a glimpse of positivity at today's practice during group drills.
The first-round pick was on the sideline doing sprints with team trainers earlier. Ansah wasn't in pads and without a helmet, but being somewhat involved at practice shows he could be nearing a return soon. Defensive end Willie Young took part with the first team group reps instead of Ansah.
Safety Louis Delmas was on the field for the second straight day practicing with the defense. He hasn't practiced in back-to-back days all season. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was also on the field running drills.
The team will release it's first injury report at 4 PM today.