The scoreboard may have showed a 34-24 loss Sunday afternoon to Minnesota, but Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz saw progress made, especially in the trenches.
Schwartz praised the play of his defensive line Monday, proclaiming it the best game defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have ever played since joining the franchise.
Suh was held to one official tackle, which was exactly how many kicker Jason Hanson recorded, but that did not deter Schwartz.
“I thought he played a very, very strong game and was difficult for those guys to handle, “Schwartz said. “You can’t measure everything on statistics, and when we grade him, we grade on assignment.”
In a way, he is right. Suh ate up blockers and space, took away inside run lanes and caused havoc for the Vikings in the passing game. The problem is that was not enough to keep Minnesota out of the end zone.
Second-year tackle Fairley also played marvelous. He wrapped up Peterson enough in the background for help-side defenders to finish off plays. He finished the game with three tackles for loss and a tout from his head coach.
“Nick Fairley had one of the best games since he’s been here,” Schwartz said.
Detroit will attempt to rebound from its recent loss by hosting Green Bay this weekend at 1:00 p.m. ET. Hopefully, for Schwartz’s sake, Suh and Fairley continue to dominate the trenches, as the Packers are struggling to keeps its offensive linemen healthy.
Drayton Florence is physically cleared to play and someone on the current roster will be released to make room for him.
Cliff Avril (concussion) is recovering better than most players have this season immediately following a game.
Corey Williams (knee) is day-to-day.
Schwartz pointed out that the last two Super Bowl champions were 7-7 with two weeks remaining in the season. Detroit is aiming to meet that mark or better.