Lions Concentrate on Themselves, Not QBs

Rod Marinelli

Lions coach Rod Marinelli said his team will just prepare its defenses and not worry about which quarterback the Vikings are going to play on Sunday.

Brad Childress isn't talking about his quarterback decision, which means he has the Lions guessing, or at least giving it some thought as they prepare for their meeting with Childress and his Vikings on Sunday.

The suspense began after the Vikings' 23-13 loss to Chicago, a game in which starting quarterback Brad Johnson threw four interceptions. Childress replaced Johnson with backup Brooks Bollinger, who played until he suffered a shoulder injury, and rookie Tarvaris Jackson took over.

Childress indicated he probably would wait until as late as possible in the week for whatever competitive advantage it might provide to keep the Lions guessing on the Minnesota quarterback situation.

With the Vikings still on the fringe of playoff competition, with Bollinger hurt and with Jackson lacking experience, it is generally assumed that Childress will return Johnson to the starting job, with the hope of extending Minnesota's winning streak to 10 straight over the Lions.

Lions coach Rod Marinelli was asked if he is anticipating one quarterback over the other.

"I couldn't even tell you," he said. "We're just going to get down and prepare, and if the other guy comes in, we're going to play the same defenses anyway.

"The biggest thing in any of these games right now is to make sure we're doing the things that we do on defense extremely well — our disguises, what our blitz is — and our biggest problem is that we don't execute. It's not about who's at the quarterback, it's our execution.

"One guy can be a little more mobile, but Brad is tough, the way he steps in. People think he's not ... overly mobile, but just like (Tom) Brady, they work up in the pocket. Those are the guys that are tough to me."

NOTES

  • QB Josh McCown, who caught two passes for 15 yards Sunday at New England, might be in line for additional playing time in the upcoming game against Minnesota. Backup WR Devale Ellis is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, meaning the Lions could be short of receivers, and McCown has demonstrated the ability to play the position.

  • LB Teddy Lehman missed the Lions game Sunday at New England and is listed as questionable for the upcoming game against Minnesota. Lehman, a backup linebacker, also plays a significant role on the special teams coverage units.

  • DE Corey Smith has made strides in the four weeks since being signed by the Lions off the Tampa Bay practice squad. Smith is coming off his best game, which included two tackles, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry, playing in the defensive line rotation last week against New England. He is getting additional playing time because of injuries on the defensive line.

  • LT Jeff Backus, who missed part of practice Wednesday with a foot injury, was back on the practice field Thursday and is expected to keep alive his six-year streak as the Lions starting left tackle Sunday against the Vikings.

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