NOTEBOOK: George Winn pauses nap to talk roster promotion

Posted Oct 1, 2014

Tim Twentyman covers all the news from Wednesday's practice including George Winn's roster promotion, Calvin Johnson's injury update and more.

I’d like to start today’s notebook off with an apology to running back George Winn for interrupting his nap.

You see, just about every day when the locker room opens to the media, reporters walk in and find Winn spread out in front of his locker with a sweatshirt or towel over his head taking a nap before practice.

This is a daily occurrence and no one really bothers him because practice squad players aren’t usually high on reporters’ list of players they want to talk to in the 45-minute session.

Unfortunately for him, and his nap schedule, there were things to talk about on Wednesday, particularly his promotion to the 53-man roster Tuesday afternoon.

So, Winn got up, grabbed a seat on his stool and let reporters fire questions at him for six or seven minutes.

“I’m getting up around 5 or 6 a.m. to get here on time and get situated so I like to get that extra nap in to make sure I’m ready for practice,” Winn said. “It’s about a 30-minute nap.”

Winn is currently living with his parents in West Bloomfield and the commute to Allen Park is around 40 minutes each morning.

“Save my money, man,” Winn said when asked about living with his parents. “I knew how last season went with me bouncing around (from Raiders, Steelers and Cowboys practice squads), so I didn’t want to get caught up with a lease or have to worry about what I was going to do with my furniture or anything like that. So I thought I’d stay home for the first six or seven weeks."

But what about now that he’s on the 53-man roster and that paycheck has taken a giant tick upward?

“Now I can consider moving out,” Winn said with a laugh.

As for what Winn brings to the table on Sunday vs. Buffalo, it's a hard-nosed running style that can pick up tough yards.

“I think he’s a guy that’s up for the task,” head coach Jim Caldwell said when asked if Winn would play this week. “He worked extremely hard obviously during preseason, was able to come in, do some good things. We think he’s progressed since then so I do believe if called upon he certainly can help us.”   

Running back Joique Bell is dealing with a head injury (did not practice Wednesday) and the team placed Montell Owens on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon.

Winn, who grew up in Southfield, said he’s excited to make his NFL debut in Detroit and his ticket requests have gone through the roof this week.

When Winn was done answering every question reporters had for him, he pushed his stool aside and went back to sleep.


Calvin Johnson sat out Wednesday’s practice, but he did tell reporters that his sore ankle is feeling better.

“It’s definitely better than this time last week,” he said. “So that’s a plus.”

Johnson was limited in Sunday’s win over the New York Jets and caught just two passes for 12 yards. It was only the eighth time in 110 career games Johnson has caught less than 25 yards worth of passes in a game he played in. The Lions are 2-6 in those games.

Golden Tate picked up the slack with eight catches for 116 yards last Sunday.


Buffalo has one of the better defensive lines in all of football and the five guys upfront on offense for the Lions expect to have their hands full.

So what makes this unit so good? Caldwell breaks down each of the starters:

DT Marcell Dareus:

“Dareus is one of those guys where he can come off the ball knock you back and he can run. Matter of fact I was looking at a clip on film where he literally took the guy in front of him it looked like the back was going to go inside so he took the guy and kind of shed him this way. The back went into the opposite direction because he was on this side, he took the guy moved him that way ran and made the tackle. For big offensive lineman that he was facing it takes a very strong and powerful individual to do that. This guy is pretty incredible.

DT Kyle Williams:

“Kyle, who I’m not certain if he was injured last game a little bit, but he’s a guy who’s absolutely relentless. I mean he just runs hard and plays tough and he just harasses you all day long.

DE Mario Williams:

“Mario Williams is certainly a huge factor as well, big man with power and speed. We saw a bunch of him in Houston early on in his career and he still has a tremendous impact on the game. He can beat (you) a number of different ways particularly in pass rush with speed to power and he can bull rush you. He’s also very good at setting the edge.

DE Jetty Hughes:

“On the other side Jerry Hughes who we know and had him in at Indianapolis is a quick twitch, fast, hard charging individual that can make plays all over the field. It’s a pretty formable bunch.


Cassius Vaughn, who entered the season as the team’s third cornerback, has missed the last two games with an ankle injury he suffered in practice.

Vaughn couldn’t say definitively if he’d practice or play this week when the Lions host Buffalo Sunday at Ford Field, but planned to “sweet talk” coaches a bit to try and get on the field.

“We are doing something great right now,” Vaughn said about the defense. “It’s just a process. We’re just taking our time and making sure (I) can come back and won’t have that injury anymore.”

Vaughn didn’t participate in the individual portion of practice open to the media on Wednesday, but was running with trainers on the side.


Linebacker Stephen Tulloch wrote on Instagram Wednesday that the surgery to repair his torn left anterior cruciate ligament was a success:

"Surgery couldn't have went better," Tulloch wrote. "Preciate all the support. The journey has begun for my return."