Notebook: Lions will be without Corey WIlliams Sunday vs. Vikings

Posted Sep 27, 2012

The Lions will be without one of their leaders along the defensive line Sunday against the Vikings after defensive tackle Corey Williams underwent knee surgery on Tuesday.

The Lions will be without one of their leaders along the defensive line Sunday against the Vikings after defensive tackle Corey Williams underwent knee surgery on Tuesday.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Williams won’t play Sunday and his timeline to return after that will be week-to-week. The Lions are on the bye next week before traveling to Philadelphia in Week 6.
Williams played particularly well in the team's Week 1 victory over the Rams, when he was graded as the team’s top defensive lineman in the game. He finished with five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
“Since then his knee had been getting a lot of swelling in it and it slowed him down a little bit being able to practice," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "But also slowing him down a little bit in the game so hopefully we can put that behind him with what he had done.
“We rotate a lot of guys in there. Nick Fairley and Sammie Hill have an opportunity to go in there and get more playing time than they have gotten.”
Fairley will likely get the start Sunday next to Ndamukong Suh.
“Guys have to step up and go out there and make plays and try to fill his shoes,” Fairley said. “His presence is definitely going to be missed, but like I said, guys have to step up in his position and make plays.”
Fairley will have a chance at a breakout game with more reps on Sunday. So far on the season, he has two tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
“Of course I want to speed it up and go out there and just make a lot of plays, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” Fairley said of his progression over the last year since being selected No. 13 overall by the Lions. “I just basically have to keep going out there and putting in the hard work and it’s going to come for me.”
The Lions are hoping it comes together Sunday in what would be his first-career start.

When starting running back Mikel Leshoure started to wear down in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss in Tennessee, the Lions turned to Joique Bell.
“He’s made plays when he’s been in the game,” said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. “He’s made guys miss, he’s gotten tough yards, he’s ball secure, he’s been assignment-sound. He’s done a nice job.”
Bell had 23 yards on five carries (4.6 average) in that fourth quarter and also caught four passes for 44 yards. Kevin Smith did not have a carry in the game.
“We really feel like Joique’s going to be kind of a game closer and a guy that’s going to be able to be fresh in the fourth quarter,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Thursday.
“A big back like that is a good asset to have coming off the bench. It doesn’t eliminate playing other guys but it certainly highlights playing maybe a little more in those situations.”

Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has led the Vikings to a 2-1 start heading into Sunday’s matchup at Ford Field and has a 104.9 rating through three games - the fifth-best quarterback rating in the NFL.
“He was a rookie last year without the benefit of OTAs or rookie camp and all those different things; all the offseason stuff,” Schwartz said of Ponder.
“He got his playbook the first day of training camp. He became a starter into that season. I think you’re seeing the steps that a second-year player takes. He had his feet wet last year; he’s a smart guy.”
Ponder has four touchdowns and no interceptions, which means he’s taking care of the football and letting a good run game and a strong defense help the Vikings win two of their first three games.
“Their one loss has been a three-point loss," Schwartz said of the Vikings. "He’s kept them in every game and that’s all you can ask from a quarterback.”