NOTEBOOK: O-line eager to focus on Cleveland, Burleson back (kind of) and preparing without Megatron

Posted Oct 9, 2013

After struggling at Green Bay, veterans Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims are glad to be working toward Cleveland

Dominic RaiolaRaiola and the offensive line eager to get back to work. (Photo: AP Images)

Detroit Lions offensive lineman Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims couldn't wait for Wednesday to get here.

The two veterans have been stewing over a subpar performance since Sunday and couldn't wait to start turning the page toward Cleveland.

"This is the medicine," Sims said of getting back to practice. "This is the only thing that heals that. Going back out there and working on the things that might have been off."

Quite a bit was "off" in Green Bay for the offensive line.

They gave up five sacks after having just three in their previous four games. They also had one of their lowest rushing totals of the year (64) and had way too many negative plays resulting in long down-and-distance situations.

"Last week was a wakeup call for us," Raiola said. "We'll answer the call. We know what we have in our room and know what we have to do to get it right. It's one game where we didn't answer the bell.

"When you have a performance like that you can't wait to get to Wednesday. You can't wait to practice again, and that's how it should be."

It's easy for Raiola and Sims to shift the focus forward to the Browns. Like the Packers, they play a 3-4 scheme, but they're even more talented upfront.

"That's a battle we need to win," head coach Jim Schwartz said of his offensive line. "When we have won it on offense, it's gone a long way to leading to success for our team.

"Cleveland's team, I think they have 18 sacks. They have been doing that without (Jabaal) Sheard the last couple of games, who is one of their better pass rushers.

"They have a lot of guys in there that can rush, (Barkevious) Mingo and (Paul) Kruger, and some big guys inside, (Phil) Taylor. We have to be up to that challenge."

Schwartz said that didn't just apply to pass protection, but also in the run game and limiting the negative plays.

The offensive line needs a bounce-back performance, just like the team as a whole.


He didn't have a helmet, and he was catching a tennis ball instead of a football, but receiver Nate Burleson said it was good just to get back on the practice field in some way shape or form Wednesday morning.

Nate BurlesonWR Nate Burleson returned to the practice field Wednesday.

"I'm cleared to run," said Burleson, who was sporting an adjustable hard splint that he can remove after getting his cast off Tuesday.

"I'm just trying to get out there, man. I can say I want to be out there all I want, but sitting inside (the locker room) I don't feel good. I was getting out there and moving around and it gives me a little more excitement and enthusiasm."

On top of that, Burleson said getting out to practice helps him with the "insanity" of sitting out.

As expected, he has already been ruled out of Sunday's game. He was asked, however, when he was hoping to return.

"I don't know," he said. "If it was up to me, I'd be suiting up this weekend and putting a brace around it. I'm doing whatever I can to get back.

"I hope sooner than (the bye). If it takes until after the bye, then that's what it's going to be."


All Pro receiver Calvin Johnson sat out practice Wednesday with a sore knee. It's the same knee that prevented him from playing in Green Bay last week.

The Lions can only practice and prepare for Cleveland with the players they have on the field, which running back Reggie Bush says is exactly what they started doing Wednesday.

"Yeah, that's what we have to do," he said. "He didn't practice again today so that's what we have to do. We have to prepare as if he is not going to play."

If Johnson doesn't play, Bush reiterated Wednesday that he'll have to be better in Cleveland and have more of an impact than his 69 total yards in Green Bay last week.

"Everyone has to step up, we all have to do a little bit more this week, our focus has to go up a little bit more, our sense of urgency has to go up a little bit more," he said.


Tight end Tony Scheffler missed practice Wednesday due to a concussion.

An independent neurologist will now have to clear Scheffler to return to the field under NFL protocol rules.

Scheffler suffered a serious concussion in 2011 vs. the Bears that caused him to miss the following week's game vs. San Francisco.

Packers Jerron McMillian was fined $15,000 by the NFL for the shoulder hit to the head on Scheffler, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin. McMillian plans to appeal the fine, according to the report.


Raiola admitted wrongdoing in a pregame verbal spat with the Wisconsin Marching Band in Green Bay and has personally apologized to the band director and the band itself. He's even donated to the Marching Band Fund.

But Raiola says everything he was accused of saying in reports isn't accurate.

"I'm not going through the whole dialogue again, but I don't know about the gay comment, talking about somebody's mom dying," Raiola said.

"I don't know how accurate all those reports are, I'm not going to go on and bring it back up again and make it fresh. It's behind us and we're moving on to Cleveland.


The Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, and Oakland Raiders each will play one home game in London next year at Wembley Stadium. The dates of the games and opponents for each club will be announced later this season.

It should be noted the Lions are scheduled to play Atlanta on the road next season as part of the their annual rotation in NFC division opponents.

Could the Lions be headed to Europe? Stay tuned.