ALLEN PARK, Mich. — After losing two straight games, the Detroit Lions are eager to move forward quickly, especially with a short week on the docket.
But the NFL is looking into one particular play from Sunday’s 34-9 loss at New England.
According to Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, the league is reviewing the final play of Sunday’s game, when center Dominic Raiola attempted to cut block Patriots defensive tackle Zach Moore during a quarterback kneel down.
After the game, Raiola told the Detroit Free Press: “We took a knee, so I cut the nose (tackle). They went for six. They went for a touchdown at two minutes. They could have took three knees and the game would have been over.”
“He and I talked, we addressed the issue,” Caldwell said Monday. “What we talked about is a private matter, but he knows how we like to do things around here.”
Raiola will not be subject to any in-house discipline for the incident, Caldwell said.
“Most of the time, our guys are guys that listen,” he said. “Every once in a while, you run into a guy that’s not swayed by either threats or eloquence. If that’s the case, you have to get rid of them. Nevertheless, we don’t have guys like that. Our guys just keep striving to do what we want to get done.”
The Lions do not have time to dwell on the Patriots game. Caldwell and the team are focused on the matchup with division foe Chicago on Thursday, a chance to kick start a stagnant offense.
Since scoring the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute to go against Miami on Nov. 9, the Lions have been held out of the end zone in the last two games, a 14-6 loss at Arizona and again on Sunday. After surrendering more than 50 points in consecutive games earlier this season, Chicago has allowed 13 points each in back-to-back wins over Minnesota and Tampa Bay the last two weeks.
Detroit’s injury-riddled offensive line has been one source of concern. Right guard Larry Warford went down with a knee injury against Miami, and left tackle Riley Reiff left the New England game in the first quarter with a knee injury. Caldwell said Monday he was not quite sure how long Reiff would be out of the lineup.
“We do have options,” Caldwell said. “We’ll find a way to get it done. We do have some guys on our squad that we think are capable of making some adjustments for us.”
Caldwell is looking forward to seeing how his team bounces back.
“That’s the great part about coaching: we get to see the team during the good times and also during tough stretches, and how we respond,” Caldwell said. “That’s what makes a team. That’s when you find out the kind of grit you have, the kind of toughness, the kind of leadership – when things aren’t going quite as nice as you’d like them. See if they can battle through.”
The Lions will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before the Bears come to Ford Field, but the coaching staff has already gotten a jump on some of the work.
“You have to look ahead a little bit sometimes, in terms of your preparation,” Caldwell said. “You have to do some things to compensate for your short amount of time. You usually spend quite a bit of time slow-cooking the game plan, and in a short week, you don’t have that kind of time.”