LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: Ross earning more opportunities; Ravens double-sided edge rush and more

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Jeremy Ross has certainly given the Lions’ return game a boost, but he also earning more opportunities to make an impact on offense

Opportunity is a young players best friend.

Jeremy Ross has made the most of the opportunities the Detroit Lions have given him to make plays this season.

Jeremy RossWR Jeremy Ross (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

"I think the greatest reward is the opportunity to do more," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "He has a good skillset for us. He’s strong and a very good blocker. He can run after the catch. He can run with the football.

"The more play makers you have, the better. You can use those guys in a lot of different roles. Whatever we have given him so far, he’s done a good job with. Like I said, the greatest reward is the opportunity to do more."

Ross has certainly given the return units a boost. He’s averaging 19.9 yards per punt return, 28.5 on kickoffs and has two return touchdowns.

He also had a touchdown reception and gained 24 yards on a reverse against the Packers on Thanksgiving. It’s those opportunities we might see more of from Ross moving forward.

"He’s a guy that we’re very confident in using in any of our schemes, and like you said, using him for some special plays or just putting him in the game to play the slot," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "He can really play all the positions. He gives us a lot of good depth there."

Ross has good size at 6-foot, 215 pounds. In fact, he’s built more like a running back than he is a receiver and he has great vision in the open field. He’s a player that Linehan is trying to find more ways to get the ball in his hands.

"It would be great to have opportunities on the offensive side of the football," Ross said. "I just want to contribute to the team as much as possible and in as many areas as possible. Versatility is a big thing. I feel like the more I can do, the better.

"We definitely have an offense where you can make explosive plays and do some great things. We have a lot of guys that draw attention to themselves, which creates more opportunities for guys like me to make plays."

EDGE PRESSURE

It seems Lions left tackle Riley Reiff has a tough matchup every week. That’s kind of the way it goes as a left tackle in the NFL.

Reiff will have his hands full again on Monday night trying to keep former league MVP Terrell Suggs off quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Baltimore is unique, however, in the sense they have two terrific edge rushers on either side with Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.

Reiff and rookie LaAdrian Waddle have never faced Suggs or Dumervil, so there’s a little bit of unfamiliarity there.

"He’s a really good player," Reiff said of Suggs, who he’ll see most of the game. "He has been for a long time. We just watch a lot of film and try and go out there and execute the game plan."

Suggs (9) and Dumervil (9.5) have combined for 18.5 sacks this season. Over their careers, the pair have totaled 458.5 quarterback hurries/knockdowns and 166.5 career sacks.

"You got Haloti Ngata inside. Chris Canty inside. Arthur Jones inside," Schwartz said. "There is a lot of size inside that allows those guys to rush outside.

"There is not a whole lot of room to step up in there. I think that’s another part of it. Somebody is going to get a one-on-one in there. We’re going to have to play well on both sides and also play well inside because they have a lot of guys whose interior pressure can get you also."

NO ROOKIE WALL

Rookie guard Larry Warford played in 13 games for one season at Kentucky (2010).

The 16-game regular-season schedule is usually one of the tougher adjustments for rookies transitioning into the NFL. It’s not uncommon for players to sometimes hit the "rookie wall."

It hasn’t happened with Warford, however. The starting right guard continues to play impressive football for the Lions.

"I think the kid is just a natural," Linehan said. "I think if you played 12 months out of the year, you would get the same thing from Larry. He’s an excellent athlete. He’s very flexible and very well conditioned. He stays healthy. I think all that factors in.

"When people talk about ‘rookie wall,’ a lot of the time guys are dealing with physical ailments or sometimes fatigue. Larry takes care of himself. For a young guy, he really has a very good, professional approach."