Protection issues have hurt the Lions' offense the last two weeks.
In that span, quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked 12 times, and hit 14 times. One of those hits caused an ankle injury, something Stafford's been dealing with at practice this week, as a full participant.
"It's our job to protect him," head coach Jim Caldwell said in his Monday press conference. "No matter when it is. I don't care if they're blitzing, not blitzing, four-man rush, whatever it might be. We didn't do a good enough job with that."
The lack of protection for Stafford is limiting the offense, and preventing them from hitting on any big plays.
"You see your quarterback scrambling ... you start breaking routes off earlier. You start getting away from the details," wide receiver Golden Tate said.
"We have to keep doing our jobs and get it all figured out. When there's pressure on Matt, it makes everyone uncomfortable, for sure. And then it makes everyone feel like they have to do something extra, which is when you really get in trouble. We all have to do our part."
The offense is looking to get back on track this week, and could get a chance to do so against a New Orleans team they've had success against in the past.
"It's not something I think about all that much, but over the past years I've definitely enjoyed playing them," Tate said.
"I think every year I've been here we've beat them, right? So, hopefully we keep that streak going. There's a few teams on our schedule I've enjoyed playing in the past. I just feel like I've had their number and just excel."
**SCOUTING THE SAINTS
As Tate noted above, the Lions have played the Saints the past three years in a row, and each time they've been able to come away with the victory.
What's been the secret to the Lions' success? Saints head coach Sean Payton has a few ideas.
"In those three games, 63 points, Saints, 87 Detroit," he said. "In those three games, we converted 35% on third down. They converted 46%. In those three games we've rushed for 192, they've rushed for 294. In those three games, five turnovers, Saints (and) three for the Lions. QB hurries, New Orleans hurried their quarterback or hit or sacked their quarterback 27 times. Detroit hit, hurried or sacked Drew (Brees) 42 times."
For Mike O'Hara's full scouting report on the Saints, click here.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- After his two-touchdown performance vs. the Panthers, tight end Darren Fells made his rounds on the DetroitLions.com shows. Catch him on this week's episodes of #AskALion and Talking with T.J.
- After placing Haloti Ngata (bicep) on injured reserve, the Lions signed defensive tackles Datone Jones and Caraun Reid.
- Safety Glover Quin has been known to bait quarterbacks into interceptions. Can he do it again Sunday against a team that hasn't committed a turnover yet this season?
- Catch up on all the news from Teryl Austin's and Jim Bob Cooter's Thursday press conferences.