2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions hope secondary will be ready for Rodgers

    2013-10-04 02:33

(Eds: With AP Photos.)
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer

DETROIT (AP) - Although the Detroit Lions were pleased with their victory over Chicago last weekend, the game's last few minutes highlighted a potential trouble spot.

With cornerbacks Chris Houston and Rashean Mathis sidelined because of injuries, the Lions allowed two late touchdowns before holding on for a 40-32 win. Now the secondary has another challenge on the horizon - Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this weekend.

``Aaron Rodgers is a whole `nother animal on the field,'' Detroit cornerback Darius Slay said. ``Smart, very, very, very accurate. It's our goal to slow him down.''

The Lions (3-1) intercepted three of Jay Cutler's passes Sunday, but Mathis was shaken up early and didn't return, and Houston injured his hamstring. Cutler threw for two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes - as well as two 2-point conversions - to add a bit of drama to the finish.

``We weren't in prevent mode,'' coach Jim Schwartz said. ``There are a couple plays that we could have played better in there.''

Schwartz said Mathis was held out as a precaution but passed a concussion test. He's been back at practice. Houston, however, did not practice Thursday.

Green Bay (1-2) has struggled to start the season. Rodgers threw two interceptions in a loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 22. Then the Packers had a weekend off.

Still, Green Bay's lone victory was a reminder of how dangerous its offense can be. In a 38-20 win over Washington in Week 2, Rodgers went 34 of 42 for 480 yards with four TDs and no interceptions.

``We know they're going to make plays with Aaron Rodgers. We're just trying to slow them down, create turnovers, sack them,'' Slay said. ``We know he likes to get rid of the ball fast, so we're going to try to tighten up our coverages.''

Slay is the man who could be on the spot this weekend. The rookie from Mississippi State has started two games this season, and if Houston is out, Slay figures to be his replacement.

``He has a tremendous amount of potential,'' safety Don Carey said. ``One of the best athletes we have on the team - fast, reads real well.''

The Lions can also turn to players like Bill Bentley and Jonte Green at cornerback. Mathis was signed in the offseason after 10 seasons with Jacksonville, and his participation in practice after his injury has been a positive sign.

``He can fill in both corner positions, the nickel and safety position,'' Schwartz said. ``He's worked really hard with the other players. It's disappointing to lose him after the first quarter last week, but he was a big addition for us.''

Detroit held off the Bears in part because Chicago went 1 of 13 on third down. The Lions have held opponents to a 21.3 percent conversion rate on third down - the best defensive mark in the league.

``Third down will go a big way to getting Green Bay's offense stopped,'' Schwartz said. ``It's well documented, they've put yards up. If we get off the field on third down - that can either be a field goal attempt in the red zone, or it can be a punt - those are good situations for our defense.''

NOTES: Star WR Calvin Johnson (knee) did not practice Thursday. ``I'm all right,'' he said. ``Can't talk about injuries though. That's our rule.'' Whatever his bumps and bruises, Johnson hasn't missed a game since 2010.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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The Minnesota Vikings have declared SS Ahmad Dixon, LB Anthony Barr, OT Carter Bykowski, OG Charlie Johnson, TE Kyle Rudolph, CB Shaun Prater, FB Zach Line inactive for Week 16.

Devier PoseyDec 21 11:52a

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A.J. KleinDec 21 11:52a

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Charles GodfreyDec 21 11:52a

The Atlanta Falcons have declared CB Charles Godfrey, LB James Anderson, OG Jon Asamoah, CB Ricardo Allen, QB Sean Renfree, DL Stansly Maponga, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 16.

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The New Orleans Saints have declared SS Jamarca Sanford, DL Lawrence Virgil, LB Moise Fokou, WR Seantavius Jones, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, OT Terron Armstead, RB Travaris Cadet inactive for Week 16.

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Clifton GeathersDec 21 11:52a

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared OG Chris Hubbard, DL Clifton Geathers, CB Ike Taylor, WR Justin Brown, QB Landry Jones, TE Matt Spaeth, SS Troy Polamalu inactive for Week 16.

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The Green Bay Packers have declared DL Bruce Gaston, LB Carl Bradford, CB Davon House, C Garth Gerhart, WR Jeff Janis, TE Justin Perillo, QB Scott Tolzien inactive for Week 16.

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The Miami Dolphins have declared LB Chris McCain, OT Dallas Thomas, RB Daniel Thomas, CB Don Jones, WR Matt Hazel, OG Nate Garner, WR Rishard Matthews inactive for Week 16.

Arthur BrownDec 21 11:42a

The Baltimore Ravens have declared LB Arthur Brown, DL Casey Walker, CB Chris Greenwood, C Gino Gradkowski, WR Michael Campanaro, OG Ryan Jensen, DL Terrence Cody inactive for Week 16.

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The New York Jets have declared OL Dakota Dozier, SS Jaiquawn Jarrett, QB Matt Simms, FS Rontez Miles, DL T.J. Barnes, WR Walter Powell, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 16.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared OT Anthony Collins, FB Evan Rodriguez, CB Isaiah Frey, DL Lawrence Sidbury, RB Mike James, WR Robert Herron, WR Solomon Patton inactive for Week 16.

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Ryan MathewsDec 20 07:22p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is inactive Saturday, Dec. 20, for Week 16.

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The San Diego Chargers have declared LB Cordarro Law, DL Damion Square, CB Greg Ducre, WR Keenan Allen, P Mike Scifres, DL Ryan Carrethers, RB Ryan Mathews inactive for Week 16.

Carlos HydeDec 20 07:12p

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