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Monday, August 11, 2014
Nick Fairley appears to line up with reserves

By Michael Rothstein

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Nick Fairley stood near the back of the breakdown huddle, teetering toward the edge of it when the Detroit Lions broke practice Monday afternoon.

It is not clear where he usually stands during this daily routine, but Fairley was one of the first players to head to the locker room. After a day where he did not line up with the starters, including Ndamukong Suh, he had nothing to say. All he did as reporters attempted to ask him questions was throw his hands up in the air as he walked toward the locker room.

The defensive tackle -- who had been praised during spring workouts for dropping his weight close to the 295 pounds he weighed at the NFL combine -- appeared to be in the best shape of his time with the Detroit Lions. Then he showed up at training camp around 305 pounds. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said then that Fairley's weight was within the range he'd like.

Two weeks later, Caldwell said Fairley is trying to find a weight he feels comfortable at.

"One of the things about him is he's a big man," Caldwell said. "He has some strength and ability. He can probably carry more weight than most people at his size because of his strength. He's working to get into a comfortable weight and I think he's on his way there."

Except it appeared he was there for at least part of training camp already.

Caldwell told reporters not to read into the fact that C.J. Mosley ran with the first group at defensive tackle Monday and Fairley practiced with the second unit. He said the Lions haven't released a depth chart yet and that the team give players reps all over the place.

At some positions, particularly receiver, that has been true. But the defensive line has been fairly consistent throughout camp. Considering the Lions were working on late-game situations Monday, it would seem likely a player like Fairley would be with the first unit.

"What you see more so than anything else is that we decide how we rep guys," Caldwell said. "It doesn't necessarily mean they are one, they're two, they're three, whatever it might be."

For a day, though, Fairley, did not play with his typical linemates of Ndamukong Suh, Devin Taylor and Jason Jones since Ezekiel Ansah remains on the active PUP list.

Mosley, who replaced Fairley with that opening group, said he didn't know if he was now a starter.

"I don't know. I don't worry about that," Mosley said. "I just go in when they call me."

Mosley did assess his play Saturday against Cleveland, though, and was not pleased with how he performed. In 17 snaps, he did not record a tackle. Meanwhile, Fairley, in 15 snaps, had one assisted tackle.

"Just making plays. I'm just about always wanting to make plays and do my best every opportunity I get," Mosley said. "I didn't make any plays."

The starters and key reserves didn't, although they didn't play for very long.

As a whole, though, the Lions defensive line had 14 tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defended.