LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: Warford's big test; Quin's boot; Bush's no-fumble guarantee and stopping the Bucs run

Posted Nov 20, 2013

Rookie guard Larry Warford has been very good for the Lions this year, but he and veteran Rob Sims will have their hands full Sunday with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy

Larry WarfordPhoto: G. Smith/Detroit Lions

Larry Warford has stood up to every challenge he’s faced so far his rookie season.

Warford, the team's third-round pick in April, has arguably been the Detroit Lions most productive rookie so far. And he’ll have to be again Sunday with Tampa Bay Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy coming to town.

McCoy is fourth among all defensive tackles with six sacks this year and trails only Ndamukong Suh in the number of quarterback disruptions he’s recorded.

McCoy, who plays the three-technique in Tampa Bay's defense, is quicker than he is powerful and that will test Warford’s feet and technique this week.

"He’s really quick and he has a really good get-off," Warford said Wednesday. "That is tough, because you want to get off the ball as fast as he does and that can get you off balance every once in awhile.

"You really have to be on your technique when you have such an explosive guy. That’s going to be one of the bigger challenges this week."

Head coach Jim Schwartz said the same thing about the matchup between McCoy and both Warford and veteran Rob Sims.

"He flips, he’s their three technique," Schwartz said. "He’s a very good penetrator. He’s got some sacks these last couple of weeks. He’s a key to them. We need to neutralize him. He’s a guy that can wreck a game. He can sack and tackle for loss and get you off schedule on offense."

QUIN'S BOOT

Starting safety Glover Quin wasn’t on the field for the Lions during the Steelers 97-yard game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. He’d been sidelined earlier in the game with an ankle injury he’s battled for more than a month.

Could Quin have made a difference on the drive? We'll never know.

He’s proven to be a difference maker this season and the Lions are hoping that continues Sunday at Ford Field.

Quin watched Wednesday’s practice from the sideline with his left ankle in a boot.

"I wear (the boot) at home and wear it on my off days here," Quin said. "I’ve been wearing it for a while. This week, I just wanted to get some relief off of (the ankle).

"When you hurt an ankle and you’re playing on it every week, I probably could have missed a month and been 100 percent or close to it. When you’re playing on it every week it takes longer."

Quin said the more rest he can give it and the more he can alleviate the pressure by being in a boot the better.

He said he plans on playing Sunday.

RUN DEFENSE VS. TAMPA BAY

The defense has yielded no more than 62 yards rushing by opponents in each of the past four games against Cincinnati (57), Dallas (62), Chicago (38) and Pittsburgh (40).

That statistic, however, will be tested this week.

The Buccaneers have been one of the most dominant rushing teams in the NFL this month, ranking second in rushing yards per game (177.0) and third in rushing first downs (28).

Tampa Bay has been doing it without starting running back Doug Martin. Mike James (158 yards vs. Seattle) and Bobby Rainey (163 vs. Atlanta) have been having just as much success behind that big Bucs offensive line.

"They could put me back there and I could run through some of those holes those guys are making," said Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley. "They are heavy upfront and they do really good run blocks and they double-team real good. They block up into the linebacker and (are) really gelling."

The Lions defensive front vs. the Bucs offensive line in the run game will be one of the key matchups in Sunday's game.

NO FUMBLE GUARANTEE

Reggie Bush lost a fumble for the third time this season in Pittsburgh.

"Just not thinking enough, not protecting the ball and not being aware enough of my surroundings and protecting the ball," Bush said of the play.

"That just comes with my mentality and constantly reminding myself all week throughout practice of just making sure I’m high and tight whether I’m going through the hole or whether it’s after practice and I’m doing a couple of extra drills, just little things like that. Those are the things that will help me to make sure that that doesn’t happen again."

In fact, Bush guaranteed to reporters Wednesday he wouldn’t fumble again this season.