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Monday, December 9, 2013
Rookie Report: Detroit Lions Week 14

By Michael Rothstein

Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared in the most recent game, along with trends and stats for the rest of the season.

Tough day for Detroit’s rookies Sunday -- and for all of the Lions, really.

But especially the rookies. Detroit’s first two picks were either injured and didn’t play or got hurt during the game. Others were limited in their effectiveness by the snow.

All in all, a rough deal for the Lions first-year players. Here’s a bit more of a look at how they did.

DE Ziggy Ansah (first round, BYU): Ansah was slowed Sunday at first by the weather and then by a shoulder injury. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz didn’t know the severity of Ansah’s injury but said he felt it wouldn’t be a long term problem for the rookie. According to the official gamebook, Ansah had three tackles and one tackle for loss against the Eagles before leaving the game.

Ansah’s snap percentages after the opener, when he was recovering from injury:
Arizona -- 70 percent; Washington -- 62 percent; Chicago -- 68 percent; at Green Bay -- 72 percent; Cleveland -- 75 percent; Cincinnati – 70 percent; Dallas -- 21 percent; at Chicago -- DNP/injured; Pittsburgh -- DNP/injured; Tampa Bay -- 77 percent; Green Bay -- 65 percent; at Philadelphia -- 31 percent*
CB Darius Slay (second round, Mississippi State): Slay was inactive Sunday after tearing the meniscus in his knee during practice during the week. The timetable for his return is unknown.

RG Larry Warford (third round, Kentucky): According to the official gamebook, Warford missed the first snaps of his career Sunday, but that likely was inaccurate as he appeared to be in the game the entire time. The line kept Matthew Stafford from being sacked and appeared to hold up OK in run blocking in extremely bad conditions for linemen. According to Pro Football Focus, Warford graded out positively for the fifth straight week.

DE Devin Taylor (fourth round, South Carolina): Taylor allegedly played 25 snaps Sunday against Philadelphia, including some after Ansah injured his shoulder. Taylor did not record a statistic on the official stat sheet but was credited with one quarterback hurry by Pro Football Focus.

P Sam Martin (fifth round, Appalachian State): Considering the conditions, Martin may have had the best day of any Detroit rookie Sunday. In a situation where footing was extremely difficult, Martin put two of his six punts inside the 20-yard line and had a net average of 37.2 yards with a gross average of 39.3 yards. He also managed a 51-yard punt in those conditions.

RB Theo Riddick (sixth round, Notre Dame): With Reggie Bush out due to a calf injury, Riddick saw more time on offense than normal. He had four carries for 12 yards. According to the official gamebook, he played six offensive snaps but Pro Football Focus has him at 13 snaps, which is probably closer to accurate. Riddick’s biggest contribution may have come on special teams, where he made the block that opened the hole for Jeremy Ross’ kick return touchdown.

TE Joseph Fauria (undrafted, UCLA): Slow day for Fauria, who wasn’t going to see much action in the snow. Pro Football Focus had him with 17 snaps -- the official gamebook had him at 11 -- and the only look he saw was a failed two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter he had no chance on.

A brief look at Fauria’s tracking: OT LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted, Texas Tech): Not the best day for Waddle, but that had to do with him being on the sidelines for most of it. Waddle injured his elbow in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss and did not return, being replaced by Jason Fox at right tackle.

*The official gamebook did not appear to have complete snap counts for Detroit’s game against Philadelphia.