Darrell Bevell conducted Zoom meetings with Lions players Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, but Wednesday was his first opportunity to stand in front of a room and address his team face to face as the new interim head coach.
"This meeting today, I felt like was going to be one of the most important ones I was going to do," Bevell said Wednesday. "I enjoyed it. I thought the guys reacted well. Obviously, happy to see them face to face. I could feel energy. There's excitement in the room. Hopefully, I did a good job speaking to them.
"Really, my message to them was about perspective and changing our perspective and turning that thing forward. There's no rearview mirror, we're looking forward, moving ahead and we're straight dialed in on Chicago. That was my message."
Bevell said the meeting lasted about eight minutes. He wanted to make sure the players understood his message, what he's looking for, what he expects out of them, and how he sees this thing going the last five games of the season.
"I wanted their perspective to change," Bevell said. "I wanted them to understand what my perspective was and what our perspective would be going forward. So that was the main word of the day. I was quick. I enjoyed it. I think they did as well, but you'll probably have to ask them for their reaction on it."
Lions left tackle Taylor Decker said he appreciated Bevell's message of looking ahead and not back.
"What he wants is to reiterate the message that we still have a lot to play for," Decker said. "We still have five games left and all we can do is to look ahead and look forward to what we have in front of us.
"Ultimately what we want to do is win and winning is fun. Let's come in, we have this five-game stretch, we have NFC North opponents coming up, and so let's focus on looking ahead and what we can control and working hard and trying to get wins."
Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. said the players are going to do their best to put their best foot forward these last five games, and will continue to fight for a common goal of winning some games under Bevell.
NO GOLLADAY AT PRACTICE
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay did not practice Wednesday with the hip injury that's now forced him to miss Detroit's last four games.
"Kenny is working trying to get himself back," Bevell said. "He continues to go each and every day, so there's been that progress there."
But the progress has obviously been slower than expected, given the Lions never placed their Pro Bowl receiver on IR. Golladay's played in five games this season. The Lions are 3-2 with him in the lineup and 1-5 without him.
Golladay has gone from practicing some to then not practicing over the last few weeks. Bevell declined to say if Golladay has suffered a setback or not. He said Golladay continues to push himself to return, and described the injury as a day by day thing.
SWIFT CLOSER TO RETURN
The news was more encouraging for rookie running back D’Andre Swift, however. He's missed the last two games due to a concussion, but did practice Wednesday.
"We're going to start working him into practice again and we'll see how it goes at the end of the week," Bevell said.
"I think he's close. It's really hard to say. It's kind of been a little up and down for him. Each day is a little bit different as we come in. We take him through the progression so far and then see the next day how he reacts to it. Some days there's a step forward and some days you have to, 'OK, I have to stay here at this level and we'll continue to work from there.'"
Swift has 70 rushes for 331 yards (4.7 average) and four touchdowns, along with 31 receptions for 275 yards and two scores. He ranks seventh in the NFL in receiving yards among running backs, and his 8.9-yard receiving average is the second highest.
THIN AT CORNER
The Lions placed veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant on injured reserve Wednesday with a hamstring injury, which means he'll miss at least the next three games. With rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah missing the Thanksgiving Day game with a shoulder injury and sitting out practice Wednesday to start the week, the Lions are thin at cornerback.
"We're continuing to work with the roster each and every day," Bevell said. "Making sure we do a good job staying on top of that. We do have other guys that will continue to work with the roster and by the end of the week we'll feel comfortable with who we have out there."
Amani Oruwariye and nickel cornerback Justin Coleman have been starters and key contributors at corner. Darryl Roberts is still on IR, but he did return to practice Wednesday. If he progresses through the week, he could give the Lions another veteran presence at corner. Roberts, like Coleman, plays more inside, but both have the ability to step outside and play wide if needed. Coleman has played both inside and outside in his Lions tenure, and said Wednesday he's comfortable at both spots.
Veteran Mike Ford can also step in and play. Dee Virgin is available on the practice squad, and the team also signed corner Alex Myres to the practice squad on Wednesday.