Lions Tales: Stanton’s thumb, running backs say the right things and linebacker roulette


Stanton hurts thumb, Lions nation holds their breath:

Stanton bashed his thumb against either a teammate’s helmet (Mlive) or shoulder pads (News) in practice today, leaving his status for the weekend’s exhibition in doubt, and fans everywhere thinking, “Here we go again, Stanton has been snake bit by injuries his entire football college and pro career.”

The Lions will have an update on Stanton’s status Friday, but the pride of Sparty grads everywhere isn’t concerned.

"“I don’t think it’s anything major. I’m just trying to keep the swelling down,” Stanton said. When asked if he’s expecting to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, he said, “I’m planning on it.”"

Stanton was very impressive against the Bengals, and I was looking forward to seeing if he could push Dan Orlovsky for the backup job. I’m hoping against hope this is nothing serious. From all accounts, the injury is just a bruise. But knowing the typical luck of the Lions, usually all bad, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.

Today’s beat writer topic du jour – running back:

The Freep talks to rookie Kevin Smith, who is still running with the 1st team, and expected to get the start again Saturday. He’s saying all the right things…

"“You’ve got to earn it,” Smith said. “Because they drafted me doesn’t mean that I should just get the job. You’ve got five running backs here.”"

That may be true, but only 2 backs are running like they want a job, Smith and Artose Pinner. Speaking of Pinner, the News speaks with him about his battle to gain a backup running back spot on the opening day roster.

"“I am not a flash back. I am just that guy that finds a way to get it done. I am a blue-collar back. I try to get what I can, and if there is nothing there, I get whatever I can. That has always been my game.”"

Even though the News article speculates Tatum Bell will make the team, I really do think otherwise. He’s shown absolutely nothing in the first 2 games. Bell’s been thoroughly outplayed by Smith and Pinner, and Avieon Cason can contribute on special teams. (Brian Calhoun is a non-factor at this point) If Bell isn’t starting, is he really worth keeping? I say, Hell no.

Marinelli has a plan for the linebackers, but he’s not talking:

Supposedly, the Lions head coach already knows who’s playing where beside Ernie Sims.

"Moments after saying Wednesday that he was “comfortable” with his current plans for the starting trio, the cagey Marinelli declined to give any more details.“We’ll find out after two more preseason games,” he said."

What decision is there to make? You drafted Jordon Dizon in the 2nd round to specifically play the middle. So play him there! If Dizon shows he’s not ready, you still have the thoroughly average Paris Lenon as a fall back plan. It makes no sense to play Dizon on the strong side for a season when he’s destined to end up in the middle. The future is now, Rod.

Pooch kicks:

Another exhibition game, another half full stadium, another tape delay for those watching at home. The Lions 4PM Saturday afternoon game against the Browns didn’t sellout in time, so we’ll have to put up with a tape delayed broadcast (7PM on WWJ-TV, channel 62) .  I have a feeling blackouts are going to be an issue all season, especially if the Lions get off to a slow start.

Jason Hanson has recovered enough from his thigh strain to kick field goals, and expects to be on the field against the Browns this weekend. But Hanson has not recovered to the point where he can kickoff.  Dave Rayner thanks the football Gods for allowing him to collect a paycheck for at least one more week.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of NFLPA head, former Oakland Raider great and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Gene Upshaw, who passed away today at the much too young age of 63.