Detroit Lions: Cornelius Lucas

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Earlier this season, Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi insisted when his tight ends were healthy, his offense would be one that is tight end friendly.

Ebron
While Joseph Fauria is out for the season with an ankle injury, Lombardi has two tight ends drafted in the first round at his disposal in Brandon Pettigrew (first round, 2009) and this season's first-round pick, Eric Ebron.

Yet the Lions have not looked to their tight ends this season -- something that reached a low point Sunday against the Bears. Not only did the tight end position group have no catches, quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't even target a tight end at all.

While it's expected Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and the Lions' running backs would pick up the majority of targets in Detroit's offense -- as it should be -- that the tight ends couldn't even pick up one target doesn't bode well for their immediate future in the offense.

That includes Ebron, the team's pick at No. 10 in May.

Here's how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron was used about as much as he should have been Sunday -- 35 of 72 snaps, or 49 percent of the time. He did some good blocking, but was not used in the passing attack. Ebron was not targeted at all against the Bears -- the first time since returning from injury Stafford has not looked his way once.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He had his typical role -- five defensive snaps and five special teams snaps. He's still behind Ashlee Palmer in the base 4-3, but the Lions barely used that package Sunday. Combined, Palmer and Van Noy played 12 snaps. Van Noy had one tackle.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): With Larry Warford, Rob Sims and Dominic Raiola staying healthy, Swanson only played five special teams snaps. Pay attention to what happens with Raiola this week after he stomped on Ego Ferguson's ankle. If Raiola is forced to miss the regular-season finale against Green Bay, Swanson will be forced into a tough spot -- and also his potential role of the future.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive against Chicago.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid was inactive for the Lions against Chicago.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Jones was left on the PUP list. His season is over.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas played all 72 snaps on Sunday in his first start at right tackle replacing LaAdrian Waddle. With him on the line, Detroit had a strong rushing day with 138 rushing yards -- 74 from Joique Bell and 54 from Reggie Bush -- but the line allowed four sacks of Stafford. According to Pro Football Focus, Lucas allowed one sack and two quarterback hits.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He was inactive against Chicago with a hamstring injury.
Question of the Week is a feature in which we take a cross-section of opinions from Detroit Lions players and coaches (and sometimes opponents) about a singular topic. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with football. Have a suggestion? Email: michael.rothstein@espn.com.

Previous Questions of the Week

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It's the holiday season and there are a bunch of questions that could be asked.

At the suggestion of colleague Chantel Jennings, this question came up. What is your weirdest holiday tradition?

As always, here are the answers from Detroit Lions, some of whom went away from the December holiday season.

Fauria
Fauria
Tight end Joseph Fauria: I do watch A Christmas Story, the shoot your eye out. I watch that so much. Oh, and my grandmother makes gumbo. My whole family is from the south, we're Creole, so she makes this pot that's taller than [her]. She has to be on a stepping stool to cook it because it's so big. It's like this much room (holds hands a small width apart) between the vent and the pot. The pot's probably like two feet tall and there's so much seafood and sausage and all that stuff in there. It's your typical New Orleans-style Creole dish. It is so good. I told her to freeze it and send over here. She's going to do that. It takes like two days to make. Yeah. She's in Los Angeles, but my grandparents are from there, so that's what they do.

--

Offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas: I pray the night of New Year's. I think everybody does that, though. I've always done that since I was young. My mom always made me do that. I've never celebrated Halloween, either.

Reporter: Why not?

Lucas: I was always raised that Halloween was the holiday to celebrate the devil. So my mom was just bought us our own candy and got pizza and stuff and we'd be inside.

Reporter: So when you went to Kansas State, were you like, 'What's going on?'

Lucas: Nah, my friends and stuff did it. I can probably count on one hand how many times I've been trick-or-treating. Probably two or three times. Max.

Reporter: Was that when you were in college?

Lucas: Nah, when my mom shut it down, I kind of grew out of it. I'll probably do the same thing for my kids.

--

Quarterback Dan Orlovsky: Christmas movies. I love movies to begin with and I love Christmas. But what we'll probably start doing is once our kids come to the point of being cognizant of what it is and what we believe it to be representative of, we'll do something where we find a family that we can, our kids will choose. My wife thought of this idea. We'll get our kids gifts and they open them up and they each get to select one of the gifts that they got to give away. So we'll do that. We'll start that this year. They'll choose the gift that they say, ‘I'm going to give this to a child.' Other than that, no.

--

Wide receiver Corey Fuller: I watch A Christmas Story all day. Christmas. It's the only day it comes on. Literally every minute I get, I watch it all day. Two years ago, I was at Virginia Tech and we were in Orlando for our bowl game and they had different events. The event was to go to Disney World. I had never been to Disney World and it was on Christmas Day. I decided to stay in my hotel room and watch A Christmas Story. I watch it all day. Even when I was a kid, when my mom was cooking and she would yell to make us clean up, I would go and do what I had to do and sit and watch Christmas Story all day. It was something I had to do.

--

Offensive lineman Rob Sims: Oh gosh. We got into that elf thing, Elf on the Shelf, my wife started doing it with the kids, my daughter. I think it's so weird that the elf leaves at night and comes back in the morning. She's like, remind me to do something with it in the morning. She'll put it in different areas. One time I walked in my daughter's room and the elf was sitting on the sink with toothpaste, like 'Be Good.' I'm like, what is going on?
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Cornelius Lucas has been in this situation before. Other than the side of the field he will line up on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, it is almost the exact situation.

Lucas will likely make the second start of his career Sunday, replacing right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, who injured his knee against Minnesota. And that prior familiarity with the Bears and starting against them should help.

“Definitely,” Lucas said. “You just kind of remember all of the key points that you took in that last game, you kind of just apply them to this game and just build on top of that.”

Lucas said the most consistent game he’s played in was his first one against Chicago, when he knew he was going to be a starter and knew he was going to play the entire game instead of being thrown in after an unexpected injury.

Lucas has played offensive snaps in nine of Detroit’s 13 games this season -- all of them due to being an injury replacement.

He’ll see a different assignment this time against Chicago, though. On Thanksgiving, he lined up opposite Jared Allen, who may be a future Hall of Famer. Lucas said he watched Allen somewhat growing up, but didn’t watch a lot of football.

“I was really hyped about it,” Lucas said. “... It was a lot of action. A lot of action. You’ve got to be ready for it.”

He played well, too. Lucas didn’t allow a sack or even a quarterback pressure according to Pro Football Focus. He also earned his best game grade of the year from the service during the Bears' game against Allen.

Now, the Lions hope he can duplicate it against a different Chicago lineman. This time, he’ll likely see a large amount of Willie Young, who played the first four years of his career with the Lions.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Detroit’s best rookie this season might not be a draft pick at all.

While Eric Ebron has settled down and Travis Swanson played well in spurts when he started for Larry Warford, the most critical rookie for the Lions has been Cornelius Lucas. The undrafted free agent from Kansas State won the third tackle job in the preseason and has been forced into games time and time again this season with injuries to LaAdrian Waddle and Riley Reiff.

With Waddle suffering a knee injury again Sunday against Minnesota, it’s possible Lucas might be looked at again as a starter with the Lions in the middle of a playoff race. That’s a big spot for a player who didn’t hear his name over seven rounds less than a year ago.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): On a day where Detroit’s offense didn’t do much, Ebron wasn’t all that involved. He was targeted twice, making one catch for 11 yards. He also played 20 of 51 snaps (39 percent) as the Lions used mostly three receiver sets and some more two-back sets than normal. He also had a false-start penalty early in the game, hurting a drive. He did, though, set a perfect block on Golden Tate’s touchdown reception that sprung him toward the end zone. Ebron made the play happen.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): With Ashlee Palmer injured early in the game, Van Noy played 14 defensive snaps but did not record a statistic. He also played 14 special-teams snaps and made one tackle there.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): He didn’t do much Sunday with Warford, Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims healthy. He played seven special-teams snaps. He’s a depth lineman right now as long as the interior is healthy.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday against Minnesota.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid was inactive for the Lions on Sunday against Minnesota.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Jones was left on the PUP list. His season is over.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): The big tackle played 13 snaps at right tackle after Waddle’s knee injury. While the severity of Waddle’s knee injury is not yet known, Lucas' teammates were talking as if he would become the starter. Lucas has filled in a lot this season. He’s allowed four sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but has been improving consistently.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He didn’t play a ton Sunday but did suffer an injury. He had one defensive snap and five special-teams snaps. He didn’t record a statistic.
Question of the Week is a feature in which we take a cross-section of opinions from Detroit Lions players and coaches (and sometimes opponents) about a singular topic. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with football. Have a suggestion? Email: michael.rothstein@espn.com.

Previous Questions of the Week

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Football locker rooms are full of big guys and muscular guys, guys who burn calories by the thousands and end up eating more than the majority of humans just to keep their weight where it is.

But in the arena of competition, who in the Detroit locker room is winning an eating competition? That's this week's Question of the Week, food not specified.

Jeremy Ross: Hey Rodney. Who wins an eating contest in this room?

Rodney Austin: Larry Warford, hands down.

Ross: There you go, Larry Warford.

Why?

Ross: Why?

Austin: He doesn't stop. He has an insatiable appetite, especially for stuff like appetizers, finger foods, sandwiches.

Ross: There you go.

Austin: Anything that makes crumbs or a mess on your hands, Larry Warford will just sit there and eat. And eat and eat.




Dominic Raiola: The obvious answer would be one of these big guys but some of the little guys can eat, too. I really have no idea. But I'd pick Larry. He's a big dude. He's just a big dude.




Larry Warford: I'd win an eating contest? No, and that's not trying to save face. I don't think I would. I would pick somebody else because, really, I can't eat a whole bunch, as much as people think I could. I used to eat at all the wrong times. That's why I'm so big. But who would win an eating contest, man? I don't know, one of the skinny guys. I feel like the skinny guys are always the big eaters.

So who would you pick?

Warford: I don't know. (To LaAdrian Waddle) Who would you pick to win an eating contest, besides me?

Waddle: Eating contest?

Warford: It wouldn't be any of the big guys, would it?

Waddle: Probably not.

Warford: Honestly, do I eat a lot? I eat a lot, but not like that, man.

Waddle: I don't know, I'd say like [Brandon] Pettigrew.

Warford: Yeah, Pettigrew, one of those guys. Or Joe [Fauria], one of the tight ends man.

Waddle: Or like a D-end.

Waddle (to Rodney Austin): Who would win an eating contest?

Austin (to Warford): I've seen you put stuff away.

Warford: Nooo.

Waddle: When you want to get it…

Warford: Yeah, it depends on the day.

Waddle: It isn't often he gets like that no more.

Warford: I can't. I promise you.

Austin: Other than you?

Warford: It has to be one of the skinny guys, right?

Austin: C.J. Mosley. I've seen that guy pound. I don't think it matters where his mood is at. I've seen C.J. Mosley eat.

Warford: It takes a lot for me to.

Austin: If I could, I'd like to change my answer to C.J. Mosley.

Warford: I'm not trying to save face. I eat a good amount but it's not as much as people would expect. Not nearly as much as people expect.

Austin: Yeah, he'll order like 40 of something but it's bite-size.




Cornelius Lucas: Eating what?

Anything

Lucas: Chicken wings. That's a great question. I think I would say myself for chicken wings. I'm a chicken wing connoisseur. I just have a deep passion for chicken wings.

Where did this come from?

Lucas: Just growing up, this has always been my favorite thing to eat.

So where are the best wings you've had?

Lucas: Oh man. I didn't try too many chicken wings. My grandmother makes my favorite wings. It's different restaurants. But my favorite wings might be from Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro in New Orleans. They have wings, they are just amazing. They are the whole size wings and have a special marinade on it and they fry them real good with the ranch. Amazing.




Darryl Tapp: Webster. Larry Webster.

Why?

Tapp: Ask him. He might have a tapeworm. I've seen him eat.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Lucas
When the NFL draft ended in May, one of the Detroit Lions' biggest rookie free agent offers went to a man-mountain in Manhattan.

That’s Manhattan, Kansas, the home of Kansas State University and where, for his college career, Cornelius Lucas plied away as a massive tackle flattening Big 12 opponents. An injury caused him to slip out of the draft, and in many ways right into Detroit’s waiting arms.

They aren’t complaining now. Lucas started his first game Thursday, and though it’s only one game, he is really looking like the second straight strong tackle find for Martin Mayhew and the Lions front office after grabbing another massive Big 12 tackle, LaAdrian Waddle off the undrafted free agent pile in 2013.

Lucas’ progression could be something to watch the rest of the season, as the 6-foot-8 giant who goes by the Twitter name of Larry Lovestein (yes, really) has a ton of potential to improve.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): The Lions are clearly committed to Ebron as their pass-catching tight end, as he played 42 of 73 snaps against Chicago compared to eight for Joseph Fauria. Ebron caught three of the four passes thrown to him for 23 yards, including a 13-yard gain where he hurdled a Chicago defender. He did have another dropped pass against the Bears -- his third this season on 36 targets. He has 19 catches for 171 yards this season.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He played five defensive snaps Sunday -- almost all in the second half, although the Lions only played 18 snaps of 4-3 defense between Van Noy and Ashlee Palmer. He also had 19 special teams snaps. He did not record a statistic.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Played every snap at right guard again and continued to hold up decently well. Pro Football Focus graded him out with a minus-.6, which is fairly average. He allowed Matthew Stafford to be hit once, but didn’t allow a quarterback sack or a hurry. This experience continues to help him as he prepares for a likely starting role somewhere on the offensive line in 2015.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): He didn’t do much and was pushed further down the rotation as the Lions used ends Darryl Tapp and Jason Jones at tackle as well. Reid played four snaps and didn’t record a statistic as he continues to learn behind Ndamukong Suh. Still somewhat confusing how he plays on no special teams, though.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Jones will know his status for the season by next week.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): The giant tackle picked up his first start in place of injured left tackle Riley Reiff and played all 73 snaps. He graded out well according to Pro Football Focus with a plus-2.0 rating while giving up just one quarterback hurry of Matthew Stafford. In his first start, he also had the best game of his career against a decent Chicago pass rush.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He continued his special teams only role with 12 snaps, but made one special teams tackle. He has two special teams stops this season.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions are already without one of their starting offensive lineman for the foreseeable future in right guard Larry Warford.

 Now, Detroit coach Jim Caldwell couldn’t give a concrete update on another starter, left tackle Riley Reiff, for Thursday against Chicago. Reiff hurt his left knee on the first play of Detroit’s 34-9 loss to New England on Sunday and didn’t return.

He was replaced by rookie undrafted free agent Cornelius Lucas.

“Not quite certain yet,” Caldwell said. “We’ll kind of see how it goes here in the next couple of days.”

Caldwell said the Lions have options if Reiff is unable to play, especially since signing a veteran on a short week to fill in would be an unlikely scenario. Reiff, the No. 23 overall pick in 2012, has played in 43 straight games for the Lions.

One of the options could be leaving Lucas in at left tackle, giving the Lions a starting tackle duo of Lucas and LaAdrian Waddle at right tackle. The team could also flip Lucas and Waddle, although Waddle is a mainstay at right tackle.

Caldwell didn’t dismiss the possibility of flipping them out of necessity.

“One of the things that’s unique about that grouping is that they are pretty flexible,” Caldwell said. “They can play both sides. I think you’ve seen from Lucas go both ways. [Waddle] is a bit more of a veteran player so guys work inside-outside.

“So they work in unison together quite often so the change is not as drastic as you might think.”

Garrett Reynolds has started games at tackle this year as well and could be another option for Detroit, if necessary. The Lions also have one tackle on the team’s practice squad -- Michael Williams, who was converted from tight end during the offseason.
Each week, we'll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- They are playing more now, finally healthy and needed in the lineup. That hasn’t, though, led to necessarily good things.

This has been a tough year for Detroit’s rookies, especially after the strength of last season’s class that brought five starters and multiple other contributors to a team still in the playoff picture with six games left to go in the season.

Ebron
Right now, the 2014 group isn’t having the immediate pop. There are no players in the 2014 class who have had the immediate impact of 2013 picks Larry Warford (right guard), Ezekiel Ansah (defensive end) or Sam Martin (punter). After 11 games this season, that is a certainty considering where those players were at this point.

But there are still guys who are making contributions in their first year, even in a 34-9 crushing by New England.

Here is how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Playing in his second straight game after a hamstring injury, Ebron saw more snaps than any other Detroit tight end, grabbing 44 of a possible 80 offensive plays. He was targeted seven times -- more than any other player except for Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson -- but only caught two passes for 23 yards. He also had one drop -- on a perfectly thrown ball from Matthew Stafford that could have gone for a long gain if caught.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): Van Noy saw the most extensive action of his career because of a head injury suffered by Ashlee Palmer in the first quarter. He played 12 of 78 defensive snaps -- not terrible considering the Lions were in nickel for most of the game and he is the third linebacker -- and made one tackle. He also had 19 special teams snaps.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson played every snap for the Lions on Sunday against a good New England defense. Pro Football Focus charged him with one sack allowed and gave him pretty poor grades overall. They listed him with a minus-1.7 run blocking grade and a -2.2 overall grade. Among offensive players, only Dominic Raiola and Cornelius Lucas were worse.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday against the Dolphins.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): He played 10 snaps -- the fewest of any defensive lineman -- and was credited with one pass defended after he batted a ball at the line of scrimmage. He continues to be a distant fourth in the defensive tackle rotation.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Jones practiced for the first time last week.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): He was forced into action after left tackle Riley Reiff injured his left knee on the first play of the game, and Lucas spent the entire time at left tackle. He graded out terribly according to Pro Football Focus with a minus-3.5 grade, including a minus-1.2 in run blocking. He allowed one of the sacks of Stafford and two other hurries of the quarterback.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He didn’t do a ton Sunday, just playing on nine special teams snaps and not recording a statistic.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a first half of the season when the Lions got next to nothing out of their rookie class, Detroit is at least seeing a healthy group now.

Ebron
First-round pick Eric Ebron returned to the lineup Sunday and caught all four passes thrown to him. Second-round pick Kyle Van Noy saw a few more snaps than a week ago, but remains a work in progress.

Third-round pick Travis Swanson played every snap Sunday because of injury, his first step to replacing either center Dominic Raiola or left guard Rob Sims down the road.

So these are signs of progress for Detroit, even if the Lions aren’t getting the immediate impact out of this rookie class that they did a season ago when Ezekiel Ansah, Larry Warford and Sam Martin were immediate impact players.

Here is how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Returning from a hamstring injury and playing the most significant time of his season. Ebron caught all four passes thrown his way for 22 yards and lined up all over the field, which seemed to be the plan for him from the time he was drafted. It was the most comfortable he looked on the field, and he seemed happy with what he was able to do after the game. He was also flagged for an offensive pass interference penalty in the first half. With Brandon Pettigrew out, Ebron played 33 snaps -- the most of any Detroit tight end.

LB Van Noy (second round, BYU): After playing only two snaps in his debut last week, he saw a little more action Sunday, including making his first big play -- a tackle for loss on a slow handoff between Drew Stanton and Andre Ellington. He is still a long way from the player Detroit needs him to be, but he had an impact play in a game for the first time. In all, Van Noy played seven snaps -- five more than in his debut. He also had 17 special teams snaps.

OL Swanson (third round, Arkansas): He played every snap at right guard in place of the injured Warford. According to Pro Football Focus, Swanson only allowed one hurry of quarterback Matthew Stafford, but had a rough minus-4.2 overall grade. That is mostly due to run blocking, where he graded out at a minus-4.8 by the PFF metric.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid did not record a statistic in his four defensive snaps. He also had one special teams snap. His role now is clearly the fourth defensive tackle.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is eligible to start practicing and potentially come off the PUP list if the Lions choose to do that.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): LaAdrian Waddle's various injuries continue to give Lucas playing time. He entered the game when Waddle left with an ankle injury and played 15 snaps. PFF credits him with one quarterback hurry, but otherwise he was pretty decent and didn’t have any glaring mistakes. He is learning.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He eventually ended up working his way into the game in dime looks. He played three overall snaps and made one tackle. He also had eight snaps on special teams.
Question of the Week is a feature in which we take a cross-section of opinions from Detroit Lionsplayers and coaches (and sometimes opponents) about a singular topic. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with football. Have a suggestion? Email: michael.rothstein@espn.com.

Previous Questions of the Week: Talent competition; See in London; Switch jobs for a day; Go-to dance moves; Last meal; Twitter follow; Ninja turtle; Advice for freshmen; First job; First football memory; Who makes you laugh; Ten years from now

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It is one of the biggest questions of our time and one of the most famous causality dilemmas.

What came first? The chicken? Or the egg?

So we brought this question up to the Detroit Lions this week for the Question of the Week. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Here, as always, are their answers as they try to figure out one of life’s biggest questions.

For what it’s worth, this 2010 story says British scientists believe the chicken came first. No idea how the chicken got there, though.

Tight end Joseph Fauria: God made man first, so God made chicken first. Done. I was ready for that question.

Reporter: Have you thought about this in the past?

Fauria: Yessssss. I have. I think that’s a good answer. I’ve thought about it before and thought, you know what, that’s a great answer.




Punter Sam Martin: The chicken.

Reporter: Why?

Right guard Larry Warford: There’s two answers for that.

Martin: The chicken evolved. No?

Warford: Did the chicken come out of a chicken egg?

Martin: No, the chicken came out of another animal. We just don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that question.

Reporter: That’s the point. It’s an existential question.

Martin: Well, the egg cannot be made without the chicken so it had to have been the chicken. I don’t know how the chicken got there.

Warford: What it is, though, is what’s in the egg? A chicken, right?

Martin: Yeah.

Warford: But what made the egg?

Martin: A chicken.

Warford: But you don’t know that.

Martin: 100 percent, that’s a fact.

Warford: No, but the mutated embryo could be a chicken from something else.

Martin: That’s what I’m going to go with.

Reporter: You guys have been great. Thank you.

Martin: The egg was laid by something but no one knows if the chicken actually came from a chicken. The chicken and the egg might not have come from two chickens. It could have been a mockingbird and a coyote, you know. Made a chicken. (Eds. Note: He’s joking about the mockingbird and a coyote. I think.)




Defensive end Darryl Tapp: The chicken.

Reporter: Why the chicken?

Tapp: He had to come from somewhere. Right?

Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen: It’s the easiest question in the world.

Reporter: Why?

Fluellen: The chicken. God created the chicken.

Tapp: Yeah. That’s a pretty random question. I didn’t know where you were going with that question, thought there would be a residual conversation from it.

Reporter: Nope.




Wide receiver Jeremy Ross: I don’t know. Did the chicken come first or the egg come first? In order for a chicken to be born, there must be an egg.

Reporter: Right, but where does the egg come from?

Ross: God. God created the egg, allowed it to hatch and then, boom, there’s chickens.




Linebacker Ashlee Palmer: The egg.

Reporter: Why?

Palmer: Because. I’m not sure. I just wanted to give an answer. (Laughs)

Reporter: That’s pretty good. Cornelius [Lucas] gave me a whole explanation. So did Rodney [Austin]. I think they were making it up, though.

Palmer: Yeah, they had to be making it up because I’m not too sure what came first. The chicken or the egg? Wow.

(Eds. Note: Palmer then proceeded to yell at Austin across the locker room asking him about the chicken or the egg).




Offensive guard Rodney Austin: It would have to be the egg. Where would the chicken come from without the egg?

Reporter: Where would the egg come from without the chicken?

Austin: The egg grew. The first egg grew. Something dropped into it and fertilized it and the chicken came out and was like, ‘Hey, I’m lonely. So I think I’ll make more chickens.’ (Laughs hard)




Offensive guard Travis Swanson: Egg. I don’t know (why).




Offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas: I would say egg. Why egg? Because I think that was the evolution of everything. The egg had to come first. God wasn’t just going to drop a chicken down. He had to give the chicken some time to grow inside the egg.

The Film Don't Lie: Lions

November, 11, 2014
Nov 11
11:00
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A weekly look at what the Detroit Lions must fix:

The Lions have dealt with injuries all season long, but now the team is in a bit of a jam because those injuries are starting to pile up on an already fragile offensive line. Considering Detroit faces an Arizona run defense that is third in yards per game allowed (78.56) and fourth in yards per rush (3.35) in the NFL, that is going to be a problem Sunday.

Detroit gained 3.3 yards per carry against Miami, and if they are without both right guard Larry Warford (likely) and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle (unknown), it is going to be a major issue for the offense. The Lions will likely slide rookie Travis Swanson in to replace Warford as they did against Miami.

Right tackle is another issue and becomes a little trickier if Waddle is out. When he had been injured in the past, the Lions used a rotation of rookie Cornelius Lucas and veteran Garrett Reynolds at right tackle and could do so because of the talent and experience of Warford. Without him, the Lions are going to have to stick to one player -- likely Lucas -- if they are going to have any success.

Don't be surprised if Detroit ends up looking more to quick passes into the flat or running over the center or left side of the line. According to Pro Football Focus, Detroit has already been doing that somewhat, as they have 35 rushes over center, 25 in the gap between center and left guard and 23 between left guard and left tackle. The problem is they haven't averaged more than 3.3 yards a carry in any of those gaps, so this has to improve. In the passing game, this could also mean more quick reads and short passes for Matthew Stafford instead of longer-developing routes to mask potential problems on the line's right side.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared in the previous game. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell warned all week his team would play rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins but that Van Noy would not have a major role in the defense yet.

With the Lions playing mostly nickel against the Dolphins, he never really had a chance anyway.

Van Noy played only two defensive snaps Sunday -- five fewer than starting SAM linebacker Ashlee Palmer -- in his NFL debut.

“We just kind of got his feet wet a little bit,” Caldwell said. “We had a couple of packages he was involved in. We had five down linemen in there, he was one of the ends where we rushed the passer a lot.

“But you don’t anticipate that he’s going to get in there and set the world on fire, but I think he did OK.”

It’s also interesting that Van Noy played with his hand down in his debut, because there were times while he was practicing with the Lions when he wasn’t playing that he ended up watching and working with the defensive linemen as well as the linebackers.

So this could be the proposed role for him at some point in the future.

Here’s how the Lions' rookies fared Sunday:

Ebron
TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron was inactive Sunday for the third straight game as he recovers from an injured hamstring.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): Van Noy made his season debut Sunday against Miami, playing two snaps on defense and 17 on special teams, including kick return. Van Noy made a tackle on one of his two defensive snaps and also had a special-teams tackle.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson had the most active role of his career, replacing Larry Warford for 59 of 67 snaps at right guard. Pro Football Focus graded Swanson out at a minus-2.5 but that he struggled way more in pass protection than in run blocking. He allowed three hurries of Matthew Stafford, according to PFF. Depending on Warford’s knee injury, Swanson may have a much larger role for a while.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday against the Dolphins.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): With the signing of Andre Fluellen and moving Jason Jones inside to tackle at points, Reid’s role diminished greatly Sunday against Miami. He played only seven snaps and did not record a statistic.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): He is eligible to start practicing and potentially come off the PUP list if the Lions choose to do that.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas came in to replace starting right tackle LaAdrian Waddle after an injury in the second half, playing 22 of 67 snaps. Pro Football Focus graded him out at a minus-3.7 in his somewhat limited action, including allowing three hurries of Stafford and a sack.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): Seisay played nine special-teams snaps against Miami and did not record a statistic.

Know the Enemy: Cameron Wake

November, 7, 2014
Nov 7
2:45
PM ET
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Cameron Wake isn’t the tallest guy or biggest guy or even the fastest guy. But when you’re looking at defensive ends the Detroit Lions have faced so far this season, he might just be the most difficult matchup of them all.

Why?

He can do a little bit of everything at 6-foot-3, 262 pounds. Wake has 18 tackles this season, 16 of them solo. He has 6.5 sacks, good enough for 11th in the NFL, and has forced three fumbles, tied for second in the league.

[+] EnlargeCameron Wake
AP PhotoCameron Wake has 6.5 sacks, a number at which the Lions would like to keep him.
He helps anchor one of the best lines in the NFL on a defense that has sacked quarterbacks 8.7 percent of the time this season and has been part of the best pass defense in the NFL right now.

Miami is No. 1 in defensive QBR (31.4), yards allowed per play (4.68) and yards allowed per passing attempt (5.61). Here, through the eyes of some Detroit Lions, is what makes Wake special in this week’s Know The Enemy.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi: Great get-off, anticipation of the snap count. Great speed. He can just run almost parallel to the ground. Probably can run on the side of his feet full speed so they are bending and they are turning and they’re not giving the surface area. And then the ability to have a counter-rush when you jump his main rush.

Head coach Jim Caldwell: He’s powerful. He’s fast. He has a variety of moves so his upfield speed rush is extraordinary. He can run by you and not only that, he can turn speed to power so the minute you think that, Hey, I’ve got to make certain to make my depth off the ball, he turns into you and can bull rush you with the best of them. Particularly knock you back and constrict the pocket, which he does extremely well. This guy, he is one of those compact, powerful, fast individuals that create havoc. Similar to a Dwight Freeney, not saying that he’s Dwight, but he’s got those kinds of traits in terms of explosiveness.

Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle: He’s a guy that’s been around a little bit. He has a lot of experience. He’s a veteran player. He gets off the ball well, good burst off the ball. He has that speed burst to him but then again, he’s not one of those guys that you can just toss around. He has some power, too, even though I think speed is his No. 1 go-to. Just that and coming off the edge and just trying to bend that corner.

Offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas: He’s really explosive. His get-off is very powerful. He’s an all-around complete rusher and really have to be on your P’s and Q’s when you go against him because anything you give him, any mistake in your sets, he’s going to exploit it. He’s that kind of rusher. He knows that kind of stuff.

Offensive guard Travis Swanson: The biggest thing you see on film is the athleticism that he has and the ability that he brings to the table. Very good player.
During the bye week that conveniently comes at the midway point of the season, we’ll review each Detroit Lions position group.

Major moves in the first half: Signed Garrett Reynolds.

What has worked: This is a tough category to judge because we don’t truly know the blocking schemes and assignments – only that the scheme has changed from last season.

The right side of the offensive line, though, when it is guard Larry Warford and tackle LaAdrian Waddle, has remained strong. Warford may not be playing at the level of his rookie season when he was one of the best guards in the NFL, but he has still been among the better guards in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.

[+] EnlargeMatthew Stafford
AP Photo/Mike McCarnMatthew Stafford has been under consistent pressure throughout the season.
When Waddle hasn’t been hurt, he’s been consistent at tackle as well. Both have given up two sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and have allowed a combined 12 quarterback hurries – less than Rob Sims and Riley Reiff individually on the left side of the line.

As a pass-blocker, Warford is the No. 12 guard in the league, according to PFF and Waddle is the No. 29 tackle.

What has not: Pretty much everything else.

The run blocking has been atrocious – and even when it hasn’t been, the Lions still can’t gain yards. The Lions do not have a single offensive lineman with a positive run-blocking grade, according to PFF, and four of them have a grade below minus-1.0. The Lions are one of the worst rushing teams in the league in part for this reason.

Dominic Raiola, Sims and Reiff have all struggled at points this season. Reiff has allowed 16 hurries, according to PFF, Sims 14 hurries and Raiola four sacks this season, more than any other Lions offensive lineman.

The protection has gotten a little better the past couple of weeks, but Detroit has still allowed 24 sacks in eight games -- one more sack than the Lions allowed in 16 games a year ago. Considering one of the primary jobs for an offensive line is to keep the quarterback upright, this is a major problem.

Oh, and the right tackle duo of =Reynolds and Cornelius Lucas when Waddle has been injured just doesn't work. The Lions, if Waddle is injured again this season, really need to pick one player and roll with him. It will help both that guy -- probably Lucas long term -- and Warford so he has a consistent partner next to him. That makes a difference.

Prognosis: The pass protection has been increasingly better as the past month has gone on, dropping from six sacks against Buffalo to four against Minnesota, three against New Orleans and none against Atlanta on Sunday. So that’s progress.

If the Lions have finally figured out the blocking scheme and how to use it correctly, this could be a boon for quarterback Matthew Stafford and the line in the second half of the season.

The run blocking is another issue and one that doesn’t seem like it’ll be resolved too easily. For whatever reason, the Lions have just been unable to find a consistent run-blocking scheme. And while the off week is a good time for self-scouting for the coaching staff, unless it sees something it's been missing when it has been bad the first eight weeks, it is tough to think something will change.

The benefit there would be if the coaches – and perhaps some players – found a theme in watching games back-to-back that they could then correct.

But the pass protection is still the bigger issue and still has the best chance to make improvements in the second half of the year.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Caraun Reid was drafted to be a developmental project out of Princeton, the type of late-round, small-school draft pick the Lions hope blossoms into a legitimate player.

Reid
Reid
That appears to be happening. Reid will not supplant Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley or C.J. Mosley this season, but he is starting to pick up more playing time by the week, evidenced by his career-high snap total against Minnesota.

Considering the looming free agency of all three guys mentioned above, don’t be surprised if Reid works in more and more as the season moves along.

Here is how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): He played a career-high 47 snaps, largely due to the absence of Calvin Johnson. It is also the first time he played more snaps than starting tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who played 46. Ebron was targeted four times -- fourth-most on the team -- and caught two passes for 23 yards. It is the third straight game he has been targeted four times.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on injured reserve/designated to return. He won’t be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson played two offensive snaps -- including on the Larry Warford trick play that fooled no one. He also played six snaps on special teams, including on kick return.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday against the Vikings.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid played a career-high 13 snaps against Minnesota, recorded a tackle and, officially, a half sack. He played no snaps on special teams, as has been the case the majority of the season.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. He won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then, he will be down the depth chart at receiver. He is eligible to start practicing this week.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): The big tackle played five snaps on special teams as LaAdrian Waddle started his second straight game coming off his calf injury.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): The team’s fifth safety played 12 snaps on special teams. He did not record a statistic.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): The fifth cornerback played 20 snaps on special teams, but none on defense as Cassius Vaughn returned to the lineup, further pushing Seisay down the depth chart. Seisay did not record a statistic.

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