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NOTEBOOK: Offense not worried about preseason showing

The struggles the Detroit Lions' offense had finishing drives in the preseason was well documented over the last month. The first teamers had the ball nine times and scored a total of nine points on three field goals.

But with the regular season opener in Indianapolis just five days away, none of the players on that side of the football seem too concerned about it.

"I know any time we get the ball we want to go down and score a touchdown, there's no question about that," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Fell short in some areas in the preseason, but not worried about that at this point."

Little to no game planning takes place in the preseason, and offensive schemes are typically rather vanilla as to not show their cards on tape to upcoming opponents.

Still, it would have been nice for the Lions to cross the goal line at least once. There are a lot of new pieces on that side of the ball playing in a brand new scheme.

"That's something I'm not worried about," said receiver Marvin Jones, who is one of those new pieces. "Just because I know we're going to do it." 

Game planning aside, starting running back Ameer Abdullah only played in the third preseason game and received four total carries. Tight end Eric Ebron didn't play at all in the preseason.

Abdullah is confident that when the games start counting, and all the available weapons are at Jim Bob Cooter's disposal, the offense will step up and start putting the ball in the end zone.

"Very confident," the second-year running back said. "I visualize myself making plays and my teammates making plays."

The Lions feel like they have the weapons at the skill positions to make those plays. How well the offensive line allows Stafford to distribute the ball to those weapons, and then help open run lanes for Abdullah and Co., will ultimately be the biggest barometer for success with this offense.

"We'll see. We have weapons," head coach Jim Caldwell said when asked what he likes most about his offense. "We've got guys we can throw the ball to. We've got a quarterback that's been around and played. There are a lot of things that I like about our entire team.

"You can talk about it all you want, but let's see. Let's see how well we play. Let's see how good we are."


Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has recorded 14,838 passing yards and 101 passing touchdowns, which ranks fifth in NFL history among players through their first four seasons.

He's also third among quarterbacks with 12 rushing touchdowns since 2012.

It's that multifaceted aspect of his game that will have Lions defenders on their toes Sunday in Indianapolis.

"Having a dual-threat quarterback you always have to be conscious of when they're ready to pull it down and just take off," Lions MIKE linebacker Tahir Whitehead said.

"He does possess the ability to run and pick up first downs like that and extend drives, so you definitely have to stay in tune with your key progressions and go back to the quarterback early and see what's going on. Definitely want to keep an eye on him."

The last time the Lions faced Luck was during his rookie season in 2012. He threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns, and ran three times for 33 yards. He threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes of the game to win it 35-33.

"When you have a guy like Andrew, a big guy, he can run, big arm, he can throw it, he can do it all," Lions safety Glover Quin said. "He presents a lot of challenges for us."


Sitting on the top left corner of Marvin Jones' locker, right next to his shoulder pads, sits a jar of pickles. It seems like an odd thing to be in an NFL player's locker, but who knows, maybe Jones just really likes pickles?

It's not the pickles that Jones likes, but the juice, which he says helps fight cramps. Drinking it became a habit for him back in Cincinnati during training camp when he'd suffer cramps.

"I had really bad cramps a lot," he said. "I used to drink pickle juice, and it helps. It does help, all the salt."

He said his use of pickle juice nearly landed him an endorsement deal. A pickle company wanted him as a pitchman, though Jones passed on the offer.

"I'm not going to be the one who says, 'Hey, eat these pickles! Kosher!'" he said with a laugh.


The Colts let Caldwell go as head coach after the 2011 season following a 2-14 campaign without the injured Peyton Manning. Asked Wednesday if Indy gave him a fair shake, Caldwell said:

"Sure, absolutely. I'll just tell you this. I think you know me from all these years that I believe this is a game where you have to win football games. You don't win football games, you're subject to be fired. I've always believed that and not only that, you have a right to be.

"I've always believed that and never will change in that regard. Don't back away from it, that's the nature of our business. Since I started coaching years ago I've always believed that's indeed the case. We've got to do our part."

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