Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/31/12
ALLEN PARK, Mich. Ideally, starters dont have to play much, if at all, on special teams in the NFL. The extra workload is a negative for them, much less the increased potential for injury. But desperate times call for desperate measures. For Detroit Lions starting cornerback Chris Houston, thats meant a new role on the kick-coverage team. Its a surprising move in that Houston ranks high among players the Lions can least afford to lose. But hes also a reliable veteran who can help put an end to the long returns that plagued the club earlier in the season. There have been a lot of injuries, so they put me on there, said Houston, in his sixth year in the league. Youve got to do what youve got to do for the team. Thats what they asked me to do and thats what I did. I really cant question the need for the team and what the coaches have me do. That would be like Im being selfish. I dont want to be that type of teammate. I know starters play (special teams) on other teams. They may not play kick coverage, but they might play punt return. Houston, 28, covered kicks earlier in his career with Atlanta. I may have done it a couple times in games last year, too, he said. Its simple. Basically, go in there, read your keys, fill up holes and dont let the ball get outside of you and make the tackle. Houston has replaced rookie Jonte Green on the far left side. Both of the kick returns allowed for touchdowns earlier in the season -- a 105-yarder by Tennessees Darius Reynaud in Week 3 and another 105-yarder by Minnesotas Percy Harvin in Week 4 -- broke to that same side. We had some younger guys in there earlier in the season, didnt quite know the position, Houston said. I guess they felt the need to put me on there. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said: Were going to put the guys out there that we think could best stop a kick. Chris is a fast guy. Hes got good instincts against the run. The Lions have such a reputation since allowing those touchdowns in consecutive weeks that opponents are showing no fear in returning kicks from deep in the end zone. Its an insult, but in a strange way, it could work in the Lions' favor, provided there are no more major breakdowns. Take last Sundays game. Seattles Leon Washington returned a kick from 6 yards deep and got stopped at the 13-yard line. The odds are in our favor when somebody brings it from deep, so we have to make those plays, Schwartz said. We havent always proved that we can. I thought we did a very good job on coverage (in the 28-24 victory over the Seahawks). I thought that was a big factor. FROM TEAMMATE TO FOE To get an update on Lions receiverreturn specialist Mike Thomas, all you have to do is read the opponents game notes from early this week. Thomas was acquired Tuesday in a trade with Jacksonville, which just happens to be the team the Lions play Sunday. I have not been involved in anything like this, Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. Mularkey didnt sound too concerned that Thomas would reveal any game-changing details to his new team. Its a different scheme going into this week, Mularkey said. He hadnt heard anything for this game plan. Thomas led the Jaguars in receptions each of the last two seasons (66 in 2010 and 44 in 2011), but he was being phased out in favor of recent draft picks, including rookie Justin Blackmon. Were kind of going in a different direction, Mularkey said. Im glad Mikes getting an opportunity to start fresh there. Asked to describe what the Lions are getting in Thomas, Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert said, Mikes a solid player. Its unfortunate that hes not on our team anymore, but thats just part of the business. Hes a guy who can stretch the field vertically and is a fast athlete. EXTRA POINTS Receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) was one of eight potential starters who didnt practice Wednesday for the Lions. The others were running back Mikel Leshoure (personal day), linebacker DeAndre Levy (hamstring), defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee), defensive end Cliff Avril (back), cornerback Bill Bentley (shoulder), and safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion). Cornerbacks Jacob Lacey (concussion) and Drayton Florence (broken forearm) returned to practice. Lacey has been cleared to play Sunday. Florence is not eligible to return to the active roster until the Nov. 18 game against Green Bay.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Patriots waive Montee Ball despite never officially re-signing running back

Chicago White Sox: Impact of Mat Latos signing

Clippers suspend Blake Griffin four games

St. Louis mayor says city is moving on from NFL

Report: Hawks could entertain trading core players at deadline

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer


Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Phil Jackson justifies firing Fisher with psychology lesson

Emmitt Smith takes shot at Colin Kaepernick

Eli Manning explains why he made face during Super Bowl

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

B.J. Penn announces he will return at UFC 197

Bring back the Dunk Contest

Michael Jordan’s rep comments on the crying meme

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

In Inglewood, representation by NFL may come with taxation

Mets will be present for two Royals’ WS ceremonies

Best and worst free agent signings of 2016 MLB offseason

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker