NOTEBOOK: Lions preparing for Seattle's run game

The NFL is a copycat league. Seattle no-doubt saw what Dallas and Green Bay were able to accomplish on the ground the last two weeks against the Lions' defense in convincing victories.

Dallas rushed for 164 yards and Green Bay 153 yards.

"If we don't stop the run we have no shot," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Wednesday.

"I think the thing you have to like about (Seattle) is they have their scheme and they're going to stick to it and the guys are going to play that scheme really fast and really hard.

"I know maybe they're not getting the results they want that they have in the past, but they're going to block well, they're going to run hard and they're going to do the things to try to set the tempo on offense like they've always done."

Playing without running back Marshawn Lynch, who retired after last season, and with an offensive line with three first-year starters, the Seahawks rushed for just 1,591 yards this season, 25th in the NFL.

The last four years Seattle ranked no lower than fourth in the league in rushing, and averaged no less than 31 rushing attempts per game. The 1,591 yards is the sixth-lowest total in franchise history and their 25 attempts per game rank in the middle of the pack in the NFL.

But heading into Saturday's matchup in Seattle, the Lions' defense is expecting the Seahawks to revert to a similar formula of running the ball and playing good defense that's been their bread and butter to playoff success in the past.

"They still want to run the ball," Lions safety Glover Quin said. "That's what makes their offense go. Being able to run the ball because it opens up the play-action game, opens up the screen game, opens up the boot game and all those things are off the run game.

Seattle's leading rusher this season, Christine Michael, is no longer on the team after rushing for 469 yards in nine games. He's now in Green Bay. Thomas Rawls leads Seattle's ground game with 349 yards.

The Seahawks mixed in the pass more than they have in years past, finishing with a team-record 4,422 passing yards, but stopping the run is still priority No. 1 for Detroit heading into Saturday's matchup.

"The formula is still pretty much the same," linebacker Tahir Whitehead said. "The guys that are on the team have changed, but as far as what they're trying to get accomplished hasn't."

Whitehead said a big point of emphasis this week related to stopping the run is keeping dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson corralled in the pocket, something they weren't able to do with Aaron Rodgers last week.

"There's going to be times where he may get out the pocket or put a move on a guy, he's going to make plays, he's a top-tier guy and he gets paid too," Whitehead said of Wilson. "You just have to lower the percentages of the big plays."

Detroit's inability to stop the run was part of the reason they lost out on the NFC North title last week. If they don't get that part of their defense corrected this week, we could be talking Sunday about it being a reason their season has come to an end.


Riley Reiff was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, and his availability for Saturday's game is still a question mark. Reiff missed last week's game against Green Bay after being a late addition to the injury report on Saturday.

Corey Robinson started in place of Reiff, but he suffered a foot injury and has since been placed on IR.

That puts third-year tackle Cornelius Lucas in the spotlight this week. If Reiff plays, Lucas becomes the swing tackle. If Reiff can't play, Lucas seems to be the logical choice to step in and get his seventh career start.

"He's played a lot of football for us, so he's been around," head coach Jim Caldwell said of Lucas. "It won't be a huge adjustment for him. He played last week. He's capable and we'll kind of see how the rest of it goes this week. So we'll keep working and see what happens."

Lucas played in 15 games with three starts in both 2014 and 2015 after being an undrafted free agent signing out of Kansas State before the 2014 season.

He's been active for five games this season as the team's fourth tackle behind Taylor Decker, Reiff and Robinson.

"Hopefully everybody on our roster is ready to play their position tomorrow," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said when asked about Lucas' readiness if needed.

"That's practice squad guys. That's starters, second string, whatever string. Cornelius has been around a while. Cornelius has played some ball for us. He's been active some. He's been inactive some, but he knows what he's doing. He knows what we're doing and I'm confident he can play as many snaps as we need."


The Lions have been pumping the music pretty loud during practice in Allen Park this week in preparation for Saturday's game at CenturyLink Field, one of the loudest environments in the NFL.

"That's typically how we've always worked," Caldwell said. "There's several different people that use different sort of things. Throughout, we've always tried to use blaring music.

"We used to use kind of a real annoying sort of a sound that was not music, it was a compilation of, I don't know what it was actually, but it was hard to deal with."

Caldwell joked that some of today's popular music is a bit annoying to him.

"But nevertheless, I think it's a little bit better, but what it does do is try to get your guys to really focus in on it," he said.

Senior director of player development Galen Duncan is in charge of the music. He has a wide playlist with a lot of different genres, according to Caldwell.

"I do know that they do have a request, they don't have to call in on the request line, but they do have a way to go in and request music and things of that nature," Caldwell said.

"I'm sure that some guys don't like some of the music and some of it, they do. All the same, and the volume we always have it loud."

The Lions have also let the cold air into their indoor practice field in Allen Park this week as the long-range weather forecast in Seattle calls for 34-degree temperatures with a chance of light rain and winds at just 5 mph.

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