Image Map

NOTEBOOK: Lions not playing scared after recent injuries

Posted Aug 17, 2017

Tim Twentyman covers all the news from training camp practice including preseason playing time, extra work for Kenny Golladay and more.

The Detroit Lions lost defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. and linebacker Brandon Copeland to injuries last week in their preseason opener.

Hyder was the team’s leading sacker last year with eight, and was battling for a starting job opposite Ziggy Ansah. At the very least, he was going to be a key reserve.

Copeland can play both linebacker and defensive end, and plays on special teams. He played in all 16 games last season. 

Injuries happen, that’s football, but what happened last week to Hyder and Copeland certainly won’t change the way head coach Jim Caldwell treats the rest of the preseason in terms of how he plays his starters.

“You can’t play this game that way,” he said of playing scared. “You can’t coach it that way. You can’t play it that way. If that’s all you think about is injuries ... they aren’t pheasants under glass. They have to get out and they have to play the game.”

Most of the starters played just a series last week in Indianapolis. We could see them play maybe two series or the first quarter Saturday against the Jets. Typically, the most work the first-team gets is in the third preseason game, when we’ll see most of the starters play the first half and maybe a series into the third quarter. Most sit in the final preseason game.

That’s typically the formula Caldwell has had in his previous three seasons in Detroit. He says he certainly won’t amend it because of a few injury setbacks early in the preseason.

“You don’t back down from that,” he said. “If you get nervous and get scared, you might want to go get another job and do something else.”

Caldwell was then asked a follow-up question on whether or not sitting starters or limiting their playing time has ever crossed his mind in the preseason.

“No,” he said. “It’s part of what we do. It’s not something that we want. And it’s not something that you walk out there in total fear and trepidation.

“You have children? (to which the reporter responded no). One of these days you’ll understand that part of it. But nevertheless, you wouldn’t let your kids go outside if you’re afraid of everything. You know what I mean?”

GOOD TUTOR

Kenny Golladay was trying to get the depth and patience just right after practice on a double-move route Jim Bob Cooter put into the offense Friday morning.

Right there working with him were receivers coach Robert Prince and quarterback Matthew Stafford. The ninth-year quarterback was telling Golladay exactly how he wanted the route run, and even walked through some of the steps with him.

Stafford is always willing to work with receivers after practice, even a rookie like Golladay, which is something Golladay certainly appreciated afterward.

“I mean, he’s been here before,” Golladay said of Stafford. “He threw to Calvin Johnson, another guy who is tall like me. It’s great to have someone who is very experienced to help me with the routes.”

Golladay said Stafford was trying to help him be patient as a receiver, and really sell the first move.

TOUGH TEST

New York Jets defenders sacked Tennessee quarterbacks eight times in their preseason win last week.

It’s unclear how much New York’s starters will play, but defensive linemen Leonard Williams, Muhammed Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson – all Pro Bowlers –  are a formidable trio to try and keep off the quarterback.

“I had an opportunity to kind of take a look at them last week a little bit after the game against Tennessee,” Caldwell said of the Jets’ defensive front.

“It will be a great test for us because they are a talented bunch up front, and they do some things where they line up where they isolate you. And if there’s a weak link anywhere in there, they want to certainly try and test him out. They have some guys that can rush the passer and they’re very good against the run. So, it’ll be a great test for us.”

PRACTICE REPORT

Players still on PUP: DE Ziggy Ansah, T Taylor Decker and T Corey Robinson

Players still on NFI: P Sam Martin

Not practicing Thursday: TE Eric Ebron, TE Tim Wright, TE Khari Lee, TE Cole Wick, TE Michael Roberts, G T.J. Lang, RB Matt Asiata, DT Haloti Ngata, G Laken Tomlinson, T Cornelius Lucas, WR Dontez Ford, WR Noel Thomas and DT Bruce Gaston