KEY QUESTIONS: Reggie's injury status, penalties, Pettigrew and Slay

Posted Sep 16, 2013

In his Belle Tire Monday Press Conference, head coach Jim Schwartz addressed player performances and game situations from Sunday's 25-21 loss in Arizona

The last thing Jim Schwartz said in Monday's press conference following a 25-21 loss to Arizona a day prior was: "They made the plays to win the game. We didn't."

It was certainly a good way to categorize the loss. The Lions had an opportunity to win a close game on the road and couldn't make enough plays at the end of the game to leave Arizona 2-0.

Hopefully, it's not one of those games Schwartz and the Lions look back on in December and wish they could have back.

Schwartz's last comment was fitting, but he covered quite a bit before that.

Here are the key questions from Monday's presser:

What is the injury status of Reggie Bush?

Bush said after the game that he didn't think the knee injury he suffered in the second quarter after taking a helmet to the knee was serious.

Schwartz confirmed that Monday when he said an MRI on the knee came back negative.

"We did a lot of sideline tests on it, as much as you can do manually and stuff like that," he said.

"He was able to go back in the game, even though he wasn't effective when we did that. The tests today were encouraging. He's going to be sore, but he doesn't have anything that's long-term."

We'll have to monitor Bush's progress this week leading into Sunday's game in Washington.

Does Brandon Pettigrew's role change at all moving forward after two weeks of struggles?

The Lions are in a little bit of a tough spot here because Pettigrew is their best blocking tight end. He needs to be on the field in a lot of situations because of that.

"There's some tough catches in traffic that he's made in the past that he needs to get back to making some of those," Schwartz said. "(With) tight ends, there's always going to be contact and a lot of those balls, there was contact. Our guy has got to be stronger than their guy when it comes to that."

In short, Pettigrew has to be better moving forward.

So why did tight ends Joseph Fauria (6) and Tony Scheffler (4) play only 10 snaps combined?

Fauria proved to be a playmaker last week when recorded three catches, including a touchdown, in only 11 snaps. But he was a complete non-factor Sunday.

"It's just the way things went and the way the game went," Schwartz said. "We didn't have very many opportunities in the stuff that they were going to be featured in, particularly red zone stuff."

Where did all the contributions from other weapons that we saw last week go?

We mentioned Fauria above, but last week, in a win vs. Minnesota, the Lions got contributions from him as well as receivers Nate Burleson and Patrick Edwards. In fact, those three players combined for 12 catches, 135 yards and a touchdown.

This week, seven catches for 45 yards, all from Burleson.

"Pat Edwards and Kris Durham and (Tony) Scheff and Joe Fauria," said Schwartz. "The others guys that we need to be able to get plays out of them over the course of the game.

"We certainly need to improve in that regard because last week that was something that helped us and this week, when it got to the second half and we didn't have Reggie, Calvin was still getting a lot of attention, but we weren't able to break it open with one of those other guys."

Did the Lions miss Ryan Broyles Sunday and when can we expect him back?

It certainly appeared that way once Edwards was lost to an ankle injury early in the game.

Broyles has been inactive the first two weeks of the season as he continues to come back from a second ACL injury suffered late last year.

"I think Broyles, like in the preseason, we limited his play because you have 80 guys out there and you can say, 'He's only going to play 15 or 20 or 'X' number of snaps.'" Schwartz said.

"You have a much more difficult time doing that in an NFL game when you only have 46 active guys, because everybody has to be prepared to play a significant number of snaps because you never know how it's going to go. He's getting closer. He's physically strong. He's working his way back into game-shape. He's working his way back into endurance-shape. And also just the confidence and everything else. He's making progress. It's too really hard to say right now."

Depending on the Lions injury situation at receiver, we could see Broyles back on the field this week.

What has to change when it comes to the penalties? Is it coaching?

The Lions had 11 penalties for 88 yards in a Week 1 win over Minnesota and added eight more for 101 yards on Sunday. That's 19 penalties in two games.

Sunday, a couple of those penalties cost the Lions dearly, which has happened in the past.

"It's certainly too many for us, but we're two games into the season. There's probably a dozen teams in the NFL that are probably saying the same thing," Schwartz said. "Last year, our penalties decreased significantly and we won four games. The year before, we had a lot of penalties, we went 10-6.

"Again, I don't want to make it sound like you're trying to get penalties, because we're certainly trying to avoid them, but you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to that too. You get a penalty, you need to take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Schwartz said the two pass interference penalties on Bill Bentley, in particular, are a case of a player having bad technique early in a play and putting himself in a bad spot before panicking.

"I don't think that has anything to do with discipline," he said. "The more experience he gets, the more times he's in that position, the better he'll play."

Has the team lost confidence in rookie cornerback Darius Slay?

For a second consecutive week, the Lions "went to the bullpen" and called upon veteran Rashean Mathis to replace Slay in certain situations.

"I think 'benching' is a little bit too much of a negative connotation there," Schwartz said. "I know it's sort of all sport, but I prefer a 'call to the bullpen' there.

"There are a lot of things that Slay has seen for the first time. He just lacks experience. He's green in a lot cases, but he's a very talented player. There is not a whole lot of learning curve. You have to be able to get it and get it quick. When he's been on, he's been really good. There have been some times that he hasn't been on that we have had to go to the bullpen."

But how does Slay gain that experience Schwartz mentioned if he isn't allowed to battle through some of those situations? Just a thought.

After 24 hours to think on it, does Schwartz regret not trying to put points on the board at the end of the first half?

In one word: no.

"There was 50 seconds and we were on our own 21-yard line," Schwartz said. "You have to weigh the risk and the reward there and we just didn't take a knee. We ran a run that we have creased in the past and if we can crease it and get the ball to the 30-35 yard line we can be in business right there.

"The one thing we also want to do is avoid going three-and-out real quick and having to punt that ball in bad field position and give them chance to score. There is always a lot of things that people are going to critique and things like that but you have to look at the potential negatives.

"You try to push the ball, you have to move with 53 seconds left, you throw an interception there and then everyone is asking why you just didn't take a knee at the end of the first half. We will do what we think is best to win the game."

Is their any truth to a recent report from Fox's Jay Glazer siting "anonymous" former players that Ndamukong Suh has had issues with dirty plays in practice?

"I think I'll answer that this way. You guys are at practice every day. I don't think you guys would get scooped on anything like that," Schwartz told beat reporters. "You saw just about every one of our OTAs, you saw every one of our training camp practices.

"I can say unequivocally he has never slammed anybody's head to the ground or stomped on anybody. That's just inflammatory stuff that gets headlines and reactions. I would bet that you guys would've reported that long before a guy that has never been to one of our practices reports it. Unequivocally I think that's off base."

Beat reporters are only allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of practice in the regular season for competitive purposes, but if any of that stuff was going to happen it would have happened in training camp when pads were on.

It wouldn't happen during unpadded regular season practices, and I certainly didn't see any of that. I've also never read reports from other local outlets about it.