Schwartz says it feels good to be focused on one opponent

Posted Sep 5, 2011

The first regular season practice always feels a bit empty.

"When we had the team meeting this morning, it looked like we're still waiting on half the team," said Head Coach Jim Schwartz. "You get so used to having 80 and 90 guys here."

There are a lot of expectations surrounding this Detroit Lions team and now it's time for the talk to stop and the play on the field to speak for itself.

"This is a very focused group," said Schwartz. "It's a hard-working group. It's good to have our focus on one team, it's good to have our focus on the regular season, it's good to get in to a regular season week."

Detroit's win at Tampa Bay last year represented a multitude of things for the Lions.

It was the franchise's first road victory since 2007, was an overtime win and knocked Tampa Bay out of the playoff running.

"They have an outstanding quarterback," said Schwartz. "A very mobile quarterback that was difficult to get down. We rushed well last year, but we didn't get him on the ground enough."

With the pass rush being Detroit's bread-and-butter, the hope will be to better last year's total of 3.0 sacks for 25 yards.

Unfortunately, though, the Lions won't get to see their rookie lineman - defensive tackle Nick Fairley - debut against the Bucs.

"They're not out of the woods," said Schwartz of both Fairley and tackle Jason Fox, who also suffered a foot injury. "Out of the boot, but not out of the woods. They still have a lot to do, but they're doing more and more every day."

The players will have Tuesday off before a typical regular season week of practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.