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NOTEBOOK: Forsett focused on learning Lions' playbook

New Lions running back Justin Forsett has a message for anyone wondering if there's anything left in the tank two days short of his 31st birthday.

"Watch me," he said with a smile Wednesday in front of his new locker in Allen Park.

As a 5-foot-8, 195-pound seventh-round draft pick out of Cal in 2008, Forsett has always played with a chip on his shoulder. He still does nine years later, especially given his current situation.

After playing with just two running backs last week vs. Philadelphia, the Lions added Forsett to the roster Tuesday after a workout in Allen Park. He joins Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington and Zach Zenner in Detroit's backfield.

Forsett ran for 1,266 yards in his first season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, but missed part of last year with a broken arm, and slipped out of the running back rotation this season after averaging 3.2 yards per game in three games.

He asked for, and was granted his release by the Ravens last week.

"I just want to be used," Forsett said as to why he chose to sign with the Lions. "That's my main purpose. The more they use me, I'm ready for it."

How quickly do the Lions plan on using Forsett in their backfield?

"I can't quite answer," Caldwell said. "He's been around a bit, so he's got a good sense of systems.

"Obviously, he's a guy that has had production. He's certainly a guy who can create some space. He's a tough runner, he can catch the ball. There's a number of things that we think he'll be able to do for us."

The Lions have been shorthanded at running back ever since Ameer Abdullah was lost to a foot injury Week 2.

Riddick rushed for a season-high 49 yards against the Eagles this past week, but he's averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on the year. The Lions have failed to rush for 100 yards in any of their last three games without Abdullah, after rushing for 116 and 134, respectively, the first two games with him.

Rookie Dwayne Washington, who missed the Eagles game with an ankle injury, wasn't on the practice field Wednesday. Neither was Riddick.

Obviously, their availablity on Sunday will play a factor in Forsett's role.

In Forsett, the Lions get a true running back with experience, something they didn't have before Tuesday.

"I just have to get the playbook and the terminology and all that stuff down," Forsett said. "That's what I'm doing. I've been working hard all morning, all night, I'm in it, so, I'll be ready."


Defensive end Ziggy Ansah was on the practice field during the open portion Wednesday for the first time since suffering an ankle injury three plays into the team's Week 2 loss to Tennessee. He's missed the last three games due to the injury.

It's still early in the week, and designations for Sunday's game against the Rams aren't released until Friday afternoon, but it's certainly a good sign that Ansah was able to take part in practice on Wednesday.


Matthew Stafford was the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, and named the Lions' starting quarterback at the beginning of that season.

Jared Goff, this year's No. 1 overall pick, will not be on the field for Los Angeles Sunday at Ford Field unless something has gone very wrong or very right for the Rams.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is taking it slow with his future franchise quarterback.

"Jared is coming along," Fisher said in a conference call. "He's everything that we thought he was going to be, and time will tell. No timetable as far as that's concerned."

Stafford kind of had a taste of both worlds. He got to play early on, but there was also a lot of sitting his first two seasons because of injuries.

"I think every situation is different, I really do," Stafford said of the benefits of playing right away vs. sitting and learning.

"The person coming in to play the position is different, the team, what the expectations for that team are, or where they feel they're at. What kind of player they need at that position at that moment, so every situation is different.

"For me, I loved being able to play early. I kind of ended up, through injury, getting a little bit of both. I don't know, I think it works for some guys, doesn't work for other guys. I enjoyed playing, I always liked being out there."


For the first time all season, the Lions didn't complete a pass to a tight end in last week's game vs. Philadelphia. In fact, Stafford didn't even target the position.

That statistic coincided with third-year tight end Eric Ebron missing his first game of the season due to an ankle injury.

"Obviously he's a talented guy, guy that can stretch the field vertically and has been in our system for a while," Stafford said of Ebron.

"He's a guy that was doing some really good things, and we'll see how soon he can get back. Hopefully as soon as possible."

The Lions need more from Clay Harbor, Cole Wick and Khari Lee as pass catchers moving forward if Ebron is going to miss any more time.

Ebron did not take part in practice on Wednesday.

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