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NOTEBOOK: If Trufant (questionable) returns, Lions have decisions to make at CB

Veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant says the injured hamstring that's kept his out of Detroit's last two contests feels "solid" and "good." There's a chance we see him Sunday at Ford Field vs. New Orleans. Trufant said he's excited to get back out there and start making plays again. He's officially listed as questionable.

Trufant's been a good resource for Lions coaches this week both on the practice field and in the meeting room. He knows a thing or two about the Saints' offense having played them twice a year for his first seven seasons in the league while playing in the same division with Atlanta.

"I've played against these guys a lot," Trufant said. "We've had some battles. They've had pretty much the same coaching staff the whole time as well, the same scheme.

"They definitely have some new wrinkles and some different players, but it's definitely good to have that knowledge. I'm able to anticipate plays and share that with my teammates, too, so they can anticipate."

If Trufant is active and available, Detroit will have some interesting decisions to make at cornerback between him, second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye and rookie first-round pick Jeff Okudah.

Trufant was playing well against Chicago Week 1 before suffering the hamstring injury. He allowed just two catches for 20 yards in three quarters. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had just a 66.7 passer rating when throwing Trufant's way.

Oruwariye started that Week 1 contest opposite Trufant and has played pretty consistent through three games. He's allowed less than 100 receiving yards in his coverage so far, and opposing quarterbacks have a 77.4 passer rating throwing his way.

Okudah, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury. He was thrown into a starting role in place of Trufant in Green Bay Week 2 to mixed results. He was better in Arizona last week, recording his first career interception, but statistically, Okudah is behind the other two after allowing 200 receiving yards in two games and a 90.6 passer rating against.

"Competition is what you want on your team every single week, and that's something that we thrive on," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said this week. "Guys got to go out and they've got to work, and they've got to compete. So, from that standpoint, we're going to play and put guys in position, whoever's going to help us win, every single week."

Detroit plays a lot of defensive backs in their defensive schemes. Maybe one of those players slides inside to the nickel, or they have some packages for all three to play. Maybe there becomes a bit of a rotation.

Darryl Roberts has been playing inside in the slot corner spot since starting nickel cornerback Justin Coleman suffered a hamstring injury Week 1. He's been solid, allowing seven catches for 94 yards on 13 targets against. Two of those have been for touchdowns.

"You want to be at your strongest when you play on Sunday, and if that means that good players are pushing good players, that means that you can get better, so that's OK," Patricia said.


Every week we talk to the opposing head coach and every week the topic of running back Adrian Peterson comes up. He's been described as an "ageless wonder" by those preparing to try and contain him.

Peterson hasn't been running like a 35-year-old for the Lions so far this season. He's Detroit's leading rusher (209 yards). His seven runs of 10-plus yards rank in the top six among the league's running backs and he's averaging 4.9 yards per carry through Detroit's first three contests.

Peterson, who passed Barry Sanders for seventh on the NFL's all-time carries list last week, shows no signs of slowing down. Asked this week how long he thinks he can keep this kind of production up, the 14-year veteran said he doesn't see himself slowing down anytime soon.

"I'll say about five more (years)," Peterson said. "I'm 35 right now, I think 40's a good number.

"My younger years, I've definitely had days when the Mondays were a lot worse than what I experienced this Monday."


Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. will play in his 100th career game against the Saints Sunday.

Jones has been very consistent over his nine-year career and is one of the more underrated players at the position. He's caught at least 50 passes in every season he's played in at least 13 games. He has at least five touchdowns in each of the last three seasons in Detroit.

"I didn't know (it was going to be my 100th game) until the beginning of the week, when I went to our group meeting and our wide receiver meeting and my picture was up on the screen and (WR coach Robert Prince) clicked it and he was like, 'Game 100.'

"I think me, and how I am, I'm having like such a good time and I'm still doing what I do. I really don't notice (I've been in the league this long). I've just been blessed. Just been blessed with the opportunity to play and play at a high level for a while, but it's still surreal, I guess, and something later on I'll be proud of."

Jones has 11 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown in three games so far this season.


Halapoulivaati Vaitai made his season debut last week after missing the first two games with a foot injury, but he made his debut at right guard instead of right tackle like expected. The team opted to play the top five linemen and stay with some consistency on the edge with third-year tackle Tyrell Crosby playing right tackle. Vaitai's return pushed rookie guard Jonah Jackson to the left side.

Vaitai was credited with allowing two sacks vs. Arizona last week and was called for a suspect holding call on Detroit's final drive that wiped away a touchdown. He expects to be better this week with more practice time and reps at guard.

"You know, when you play inside, you got to be more alert," Vaitai said this week. "Talking about picking up blitzes and all the good stuff they show, whereas at tackle you set out in space out there. At guard, it's kind of tight, so you don't have to set far. I just got to remember playing guard; you're not in a tackle mindset."

It will be interesting to see what the Lions do upfront if and when starting left guard Joe Dahl (groin) returns from injured reserve.

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