NOTEBOOK: Lions looking for consistency from Willie Young; Cunningham speaks on Suh

Posted Sep 13, 2013

Read what head coach Jim Schwartz had to say about Willie Young's first game after he had a strong preseason.

We all know Willie Youngthe preseason player. The player, that every preseason, is flying around and making plays.

Last year, preseason Willie Young didn't show up the same way for the regular season.

We're only one game into the 2013 season, but Young showed a great deal of promise in last week's win over Minnesota, recording three tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.

"I think Willie had a really good game," defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "I was proud of him. He used his quickness. He's pretty strong. He doesn't weigh as much as some of our other ends, but he has unreal quickness. He'll jump inside on you in a hurry.

Willie YoungDE Willie Young (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

"Guys that do that, they have no fear. I don't know if he was half-crazy or has no fear, I can't tell the difference. But he made a couple really big plays."

That's a good sign Week 1, but the question is whether he can keep it up.

"It's being consistent and making plays from within the confines of the defense and things like that," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "He played very well against a really good player last week. (T Matt) Kalil is a Pro Bowl left tackle and he did some really good things. Him and Ziggy (Ansah) both.

"We're going to need all those guys up front to be able to get pressure on Carson Palmer. That's going to be a really important part of this game and how the outcome is determined."

The good news for Young is that he's going up Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown this week. Brown is coming off a terrible performance against the Rams that saw him give up three sacks to right defensive end Robert Quinn.

Can Young keep it going?


The NFL sent a message to Ndamukong Suh when they fined him $100,000 for a low block on Minnesota's John Sullivan last week.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham sent Suh a message of his own Friday.

"I think you let him play," Cunningham said. "You see penalties every week in the league. I saw a couple in this game that I wish the officials would have seen, but they have enough work to do as it is. Things happen. I'm sure he's just going to keep playing and I'm not going to worry about those things.

"That happened, the league dealt with it, Jim (Schwartz) dealt with it and we're ready for Arizona. I think Suh is as well. We all are and that's what we're going to point towards. I think he's a great player and a great person and I'm glad he's here and playing for us."


When Matthew Stafford started throwing to receiver Calvin Johnson back in 2009, he had to quickly learn that he could put passes way up high, where only Johnson was able to get them with his 6-foot-5 frame and vertical leap.

The same thing applies for new tight end Joseph Fauria and his 6-foot-7 frame. The first pass Stafford threw to Fauria in training camp was intercepted because he didn't throw it high enough over the defender where Fauria could go up and get it.

"With a guy like Matthew, it doesn't take that long," Fauria said of getting that chemistry down. "It's just gaining that trust that he could throw it anywhere. Its just building timing and knowing that wherever he throws it I'll catch it."

That was certainly the case last week vs. Minnesota, when Fauria caught all three passes thrown his way, including a 1-yard touchdown.

"He's a young guy who's proving himself in this offense," Stafford said of Fauria. "The more plays you make the more opportunities you get and he understands that. Obviously, he's a big target. He's a big, long guy, who can make catches.

"He still has a lot to prove and he understands that. He comes out here and works hard every day and he understands that he's only scratched the surface. It's a good start for him."


Receiver Ryan Broyles told reporters last week that he's ready to go whenever he gets the green light from coaches to suit up for a game.

When that might is still a matter of question.

"He's really not an injury situation," Schwartz said. "He's in a situation where he's just working his way back and working his way into the swing of things. He's working really hard. He's making progress all the time. That practice time is very valuable to him. He's going to be a big contributor on our team."

Could that be this week in Arizona? Schwartz wouldn't say when asked Friday because of competitive reasons, so we'll just have to wait and see what the game plan calls for 90 minutes before kickoff when the inactives come out.