Key Questions: Who stepped up at safety, Johnson's performance, and the trade deadline

Posted Oct 29, 2012

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz took his last look back at his team's big win over the Seahawks during his Monday press conference before turning focus toward the Jaguars.

Q. The Lions suffered yet another blow to their secondary with the loss of safety Louis Delmas to a knee injury in the third quarter. Who stepped up big in the secondary for the Lions Sunday?

A. It has to start with second-year safety Ricardo Silva. Silva was thrust into the starting lineup because of the concussion suffered by Amari Spievey last week and did a nice job. 

He made his first-career interception in the third quarter and ended the game when he recovered a fumble as time expired.

“He made a big play in the game,” Schwartz said of Silva’s interception.

“I thought our defense did a good job of holding those deep shots off. When he did take a chance on one, Ricardo was in position to make the play. Made a big play for us and recovered a fumble at the end of the game.

“He’s a young player. He’s still working through some things. He had a couple plays that, you know, he can be better on, but he made a very key play in the game and I think that’s a very good sign.”

Silva was one of the culprits on Marshawn Lynch’s 77-yard touchdown run and he was slow a couple times getting some signals to his cornerbacks, but all-and-all Sunday was a good game for a player making just his second start.

Q. Why, for a second-straight week, did the Lions struggle to get Calvin Johnson the football early in the game?

A. Johnson is banged up, but neither he nor Schwartz will ever use that as an excuse.

“I mean, he’s, you know, plowing through it,” Schwartz said. “I mean, he didn’t practice a few days last week. It’s mid-season in the NFL. It’s stuff that you just deal with.

“He also made the first two catches in our 16-play scoring drive. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Calvin and he can find a way to deliver even if he is hobbling a little bit.”

Part of the credit needs to go to the Seahawks, too, for rolling over some coverages and paying a lot of attention to Johnson. The biggest difference with Sunday’s game was that the Lions took advantage of some other one-on-one opportunites because of the attention Johnson received.

The game-winning touchdown to Titus Young was a perfect example. Seattle was so focused on Johnson on the other side that all Young had to do was get inside his man and it was over.

“I think that we were moving the ball around,” Schwartz said. “Matt (Stafford) was sharp. Matt was 70-percent completions. We were scoring touchdowns.

“That’s the only thing that mattered, scoring enough to get the win. You know, we’re not playing fantasy football trying to get players certain number of stats or anything else. We’re just trying to win.”

Q. What happened on the Stafford interception in the third quarter?

A. Chalk that one up to a bad read by Stafford, but also to the effect of Johnson not being in the game on that particular play.

Scheffler was in the left slot and ran a post route. If Johnson had been in the game he would have been the outside receiver on the other side of the field running a go route.

With Johnson in the game, Seattle safety Earl Thomas would have likely flowed over to Johnson’s side of the field and would not have been able to recover to help over the top and intercept the pass intended for Scheffler.

“The interception that Matt (Stafford) threw, and generally that’s a play that gets a lot of attention to where Calvin is on that play,” Schwartz said.

“When he wasn’t there, it clogged up the rest of the play and we ended up getting intercepted on it. So, he has a tremendous impact on the game and it’s always positive.”

Q. Was the Willie Young special teams penalty that occurred on a Seahawks' punt the right call?

A. “It got called,” Schwartz said. “He has to be a yard off the ball and he was a yard off the ball.

“That one ended up hurting us because our defense had gotten a stop and defense went right back on the field. Ended up getting a red zone stop and held them to a field goal, but that was three points.

"Three points in this game, three points was obviously a big deal.”

The rule states that a player can’t be lined up right over the center without giving him a 1-yard cushion. The truth is Young probably shouldn’t have lined up that way for an official to make or not make the call.

Q. What is the status of cornerbacks Jacob Lacey and Drayton Florence, and safety Amari Spievey?

A. Schwartz said he expects Lacey to make his return to practice this week after missing the last two with a concussion.

Florence suffered a broken forearm against at San Francisco Week 2, but continued playing despite the pain.

The Lions placed him on its reserve/injured list with a designation to return, which allows him to return to the practice field this week. He’d be eligible to play at Ford Field against the Packers Nov. 18.

“He’s moving around well and his arm’s healed up,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said it was too early to tell with Spievey.

“He’s still got some hurdles to clear,” he said.

Q. Could the Lions be active at the trade deadline this week?

A. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew has always said that there’s never a finish line when it comes to improving the roster.

The Lions are banged up the secondary, but are also close to getting guys like Lacey, Bill Bentley and Drayton Florence back.

There’s some potential for some secondary help at safety -- depending on the health of Delmas and Spievey -- or possible add a speed element to their offensive backfield. But the NFL trading deadline isn’t typically a time for a lot of blockbuster moves.

“It’s probably maybe a little bit more this year than years past just because it got moved back,” Schwartz said of the trade deadline being moved from after Week 6 to after Week 8 this season and teams fielding more calls.

“Any path that we can take to improve our team we are certainly willing to look at.”