NOTEBOOK: Lions looking to break Foles’ streak; CB depth; Big-play passing attack and more

Posted Dec 6, 2013

Lions defenders "excited" for a chance to be the first to get their hands on a Nick Foles pass

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles knows the current pace he’s on isn't realistically sustainable.

Foles has thrown 19 touchdowns and no interceptions in six starts this year. Foles can tie Peyton Manning’s NFL record with 20 touchdowns to start a season without throwing an interception.

More importantly, the Eagles are 5-1 when Foles has started a game for them this year.

"Realistic? No," Foles said in a conference call this week when asked about his current pace. "That’s crazy, but at the same time I am not looking to throw an interception. I am going to keep playing as I am and if something happens it’s not going to destroy me.

"In this league you have to have a short memory and you have to keep moving on, you can’t be afraid to make a mistake. At the same time that doesn’t mean you put the ball in harm’s way all the time. You have to take your chances, but you have to be aggressive and be smart."

The Detroit Lions secondary sees Sunday’s game as both a challenge, and an opportunity.

"That’s exciting," cornerback Chris Houston said of the challenge of playing Foles and the Eagles offense. "He hasn’t thrown one and if you get one it kind of breaks the ice. It’s very exciting for me."

Houston has the only interception by a Lions cornerback this season. It came all the way back in Week 3 against Washington.

"It doesn’t matter the quarterback," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "It’s just about getting our hands on footballs and creating turnovers, period.

"We just happen to be playing the Eagles and he just happens to have a perfect (touchdown to interception) record."


With rookie cornerback Darius Slay doubtful to play Sunday in Philadelphia after suffering a "freak" knee injury during practice of Thursday, Detroit's depth at cornerback is going to be tested once again.

Slay was coming off his best game as a professional in the team’s 40-10 victory over Green Bay last week. He started for the injured Houston and played very well with three pass break-ups and two tackles.

"We’ve had other situations this year where we have been down corners and we got plenty of guys on our roster that can go fill spots," head coach Jim Schwartz said.

Second-year cornerbacks Bill Bentley and Jonte Green are two such players. Bentley starts inside in the nickel, but has the ability to slide outside, if needed.

Green has been inactive for six games this year, but played in 15 as a rookie with five starts.

"He saw the field a little bit against Chicago the first time he was active," Schwartz said of Green. "Then we had some injury issues. He’s done a nice job on special teams for us when he has been active.

"He’s still a good, young player. It’s just that where we have been roster wise, he hasn’t been active a whole lot. He’s been making good progress. We had been saying that about Slay, a lot of stuff that people don’t see, and I think both Jonte and even Chris Greenwood on our practice squad, those guys have all been making good progress."

Slay had arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus this past offseason and he missed time through OTA’s and training camp. He’s been healthy all season to this point, however.


Foles' perfect 19-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio alludes to the Eagles utilizing a conservative offense with ball-control, a stout run game and short, safe passes.

The run part is correct, the Eagles are the No. 2 rushing team in the league, but the Eagles have the lowest time of possession of any team in the NFL (25:36) and have the most 20-plus-yard pass plays (61) and 40-plus (16) in the NFL.

"They have their downfield shots," Mathis said. "(Riley) Cooper is averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. That’s not dinking and dunking too much.

"They are conservative when they need to be and they throw shots when they need to throw shots. That’s what makes them a well-balanced team. We have our hands full like we do every other week."

The Eagles have five receivers who average more than 13.0 yards per catch.

The Lions have given up the third-most 40-plus-yard passing plays this season (13).

"I liken them to our offense," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said of the Eagles. "I see us do the same things to other teams. We hit for the home run ball, we go for the deep shots."


  • Linebacker DeAndre Levy was fined $15,750 by the NFL for his hit on Green Bay Packers tight end Ryan Taylor last week. Levy was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.
  • Safety Glover Quin and receiver Kris Durham were each fined $7,875. Quin for a late hit and Durham for a face mask during an interception return.