ALLEN PARK -- Ernie Sims isn't eager to give up plays, but he doesn't
disagree with Lions coach Rod Marinelli's plan to keep him fresh in the second
half of the season.
It's Marinelli's theory that his rookie linebacker has been overworked in the
first seven games because of injuries that have sidelined fellow linebackers
Alex Lewis and Teddy Lehman.
"We're playing him -- to me -- too much," Marinelli said. "He goes so hard,
so fast, every down and then he gets in the kicking game and he does the same
exact thing. ... You wear down."
By Marinelli's count, Sims -- the Lions' first-round draft pick last April --
has played more than 70 snaps on defense and special teams in some games.
"If you can pull him back a little bit and freshen him up, now he's really
explosive, especially if you've got quality depth," Marinelli said.
During the first seven games, Sims has played well but the Lions have been
thin at the linebacker position, which is one of the reasons their defense has
been inconsistent and partially responsible for their 1-6 record at the bye
Lehman has been on the physically unable to perform list, still recovering
from a foot injury, but he is eligible to play now and is practicing with the
team for the first time. Lewis was one of the Lions' best players in the first
two weeks of the season before a knee injury put him on the shelf.
If Lewis and Lehman are ready to play Nov. 5 against Atlanta, Marinelli feels
the Lions can be better defensively and also on special teams.
Sims understands what Marinelli is saying.
"To be honest with you, I like playing that much," he said. "But, at the same
time, there are times in games I need a break, so it would be kind of nice to
get a little break.
"When you're tired, you can't think straight sometimes, and when you're tired
you get a little lazy sometimes, so that would definitely help me out."DE James Hall will use the bye weekend to rest a sore shoulder. He suffered
the injury in the Lions' Oct. 15 game against Buffalo and played last Sunday
against the Jets but had to miss more than he normally would have.
TE Marcus Pollard was listed as the Lions' starting fullback last Sunday in
the absence of FB Cory Schlesinger, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.
However, Pollard lined up primarily in tight end or H-back positions, and the
Lions went primarily with RB Kevin Jones in a one-back formation.
DE Kalimba Edwards has only one sack in the Lions' first seven games of the
season. The Lions went out of their way to get him signed last spring when he
became an unrestricted free agent, but Edwards has yet to pay any dividends as a
CB Dre' Bly was the most vocal critic of former Lions QB Joey Harrington after
coach Steve Mariucci was fired last year. This year, with Harrington no longer
around as a scapegoat, the Lions are 1-6 at the bye week break and Bly is still
without an interception.