NOTEBOOK: Austen Lane's quick turnaround, Reggie Bush refreshed and Suh wants Cutler

Posted Nov 6, 2013

Tim Twentyman takes a look at notes surrounding Detroit's first official day of practice in preparation for the Chicago Bears

There's not a lot of turnaround time afforded to NFL free agents midseason.

Last Sunday night, new Lions defensive end Austen Lane was watching "The Walking Dead" on his couch at home minding his own business.

Wednesday, he was on the practice field for the Detroit Lions, getting reading to play a crucial reserve role in Sunday's NFC North matchup in Chicago if starter Ziggy Ansah can't play with that injured left ankle.

"I got a phone call and the next thing you know I'm here," Lane said. "You have to have a fast switch from living the normal life to getting back in NFL mode."

Lane says he's pulling double-time trying to learn the Lions playbook and the game plan for the Bears at the same time, but head coach Jim Schwartz said he'll be ready if needed.

"We didn't bring him in to just practice," Schwartz said. "He's going to have to be ready to play incase Ziggy (Ansah) can't go. We won't know until we get later into the week. That's the plan right now. Everybody has to prepare, even our practice squad players have to prepare as if they have to play."

Lane said he's kept in shape since being cut by the Kansas Chiefs in training camp by taking part in MMA (mixed martial arts) training.

"Boxing and MMA kind of filled my void of hitting people," he said. "I still need some contact. I just can't go and bench 225 a couple times and call it a day. I needed to do something else."

Lane, originally from Wisconsin, is feeling at home back in the Midwest. He grew up a Packers fan and knows all about the rivalries in the Midwest.

He's even somewhat of an expert on Midwest cuisine. Lane has a large tattoo of the Big Boy on his arm and the writing around it reads: "Doing Big Boy Things in a Big Boy World."

"Jacksonville didn't have a Big Boy," Lane said of the famous restaurants that populate Metro Detroit. "Wisconsin, I think they had the last one go out (of business) a few years ago. If they have them here, if they see the tattoo, I expect some free cheeseburgers."


Alshon Jeffery has been a difference maker for the Chicago Bears over the last month.

The second-year receiver out of South Carolina has 25 catches for 517 yards (103.4 per game) and three touchdowns over the past five games.

Jeffery (6-3, 216) has given the Bears a legitimate No. 2 option on the outside alongside Brandon Marshall.

It was only last year Marshall led the Bears with 118 receptions and the next closest was running back Matt Forte with 44.

"I think it has opened things up, pretty much for their whole offense," Schwartz said of Jeffery's emergence. "Last year they were really heavy in throwing the ball to Brandon Marshall, rightfully so, he's a great player.

"You look at the way they're distributing to ball to Jeffery, (Martellus) Bennett and also to (Matt) Forte; those guys are like one, two, three, four and they're all equal options for the quarterback."

Let's not forget, either, that Jeffery's recent five-game run started in Detroit Sept. 29 with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown.

"He's just a very hard-working young man and deserves to have an opportunity to get the ball and we're trying to spread the ball around and make him part of what we do," Bears head coach Marc Trestman said in a conference call.

The Lions will have a decision to make when it comes down to defending Jeffery and Marshall on Sunday. With nickel cornerback Bill Bentley (knee) on the mend, and his availability for Sunday still in doubt, Jeffery could see rookie Darius Slay on the outside in nickel situations with veteran Rashean Mathis moving inside.

Jeffery and Marshall will be a lot to handle for the Lions corners.


The week off for the Bye did a lot of Lions players good, especially running back Reggie Bush.

Carrying the ball in the NFL is tough business and Bush said the week off came at the perfect time for his bruised up body.

"My body feels so much better from that week off," Bush said. "I really think it did wonders for me and it allowed me to heal up some bumps and bruises here and there and get me fresh and ready for the second half of the season."

Bush currently ranks third in NFL with 121.9 scrimmage yards per game (853 yards in seven games).

It's certainly worth noting that 173 of those (139 rush, 34 receiving) came against the Bears in their Week 4 matchup.

"I've been on teams where we get that Bye Week in Week 3 and Week 4 and it just makes for a long season," Bush said. "The NFL really took care of us with this one."


Most of the Detroit Lions fan base is celebrating the fact the Bears could be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler on Sunday, but don't include Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh among that list.

"I love playing against Cutler, he's a tough guy," Suh said. "No discredit to (backup Josh) McCown, but I want their best shot. Whichever quarterback is healthier, and the healthiest to go and is going to give them their best opportunity, that's who I want to go against.

"I want to beat the best no matter what every single week."

Cutler hasn't played because of a groin injury suffered Oct. 20 and was expected to miss four weeks.

Trestman said Wednesday no decision had been made on Cutler's status.

"It's day-to-day and he would be limited today if we practiced," Trestman said. "We'll see how he does (Thursday). We'll know more (Thursday).”