“We use many different personnel groups. He’s just coming back, so we’ll gradually work him back in,” Capers said. “I think he’s had a pretty good week of practice but he hasn’t played since the Houston game. … He looks like Sam out there. It’s the first week he’s really been able to go out and do the things that you ask him to do. He’s got fresh legs.”
The Lions’ wide receiving corps are a mess. Ryan Broyles was lost for the season to a knee injury in last week’s loss to Indianapolis; Titus Young Sr. was also placed on injured reserve, although that appeared to be for his insubordination – he intentionally lined up in the wrong spots and ran the wrong routes before getting into a sideline screaming match during the Packers-Lions game last month – than anything else. That leaves Mike Thomas, Brian Robiskie and ex-practice-squadder Kris Durham to play opposite Calvin Johnson, who’s having a monster year despite getting little help.
In his last four games, Johnson had 12 receptions for 207 yards against Minnesota, five catches for 143 yards against the Packers, eight catches for 140 yards against Houston and 13 catches for 171 yards against Indianapolis. He comes into Sunday with 86 catches for 1,428 yards, giving him a legitimate shot in the final four games of breaking Jerry Rice's NFL single-season receiving yardage record of 1,848, set in 1995.
“Calvin is a great player and is in the midst of a great season, but we can get more production (from other players),” Schwartz said. “We can get more production out of our running backs, we can get more production out of our tight ends, and there’s going to be tremendous opportunity for the wide receivers that are on the field to prove that they can make a play.”
There were those predicting a backslide for the Lions after their NFC Wild Card playoff berth last season, and the Lions have delivered. What a mess they are. Schwartz took a historically bad team that had gone 0-16 before his arrival and built it into a playoff team., but as his undisciplined crew has shown this season, such behavior does not reflect well on the coach. Since the Ford family tolerated Matt Millen for forever and a day as their general manager, there’s no reason to think they’ll make a change after the season is over. But they should at least consider it, as it would take a Herculean effort – starting with a stunner at Lambeau Field – to reverse the tide. The guess here is that it doesn’t happen. Packers 34, Lions 17. (Record: 6-6)
– Jason Wilde