Caldwell has no intention of resting Lions' starters

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Jim Caldwell

Allen Park – It’s unlikely, but the Detroit Lions could have a playoff spot locked up by the time they play the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night. In an equally unrealistic scenario, a victory over the Cowboys could give the Lions the NFC North, assuming the Green Bay Packers fall to Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.

No matter the circumstances for either of the Lions’ final two games, coach Jim Caldwell has no intention of resting his starters or taking a conservative approach with the injured players on the roster.

“Much like we do on every other situation that we lean on our medical staff to make a determination on whether or not a guy can go or not go,” Caldwell said. “If he can go, he’s playing. If he can’t go, then obviously that’s a little different story, then he won’t be playing that game. We’re trying to win every single game that we participate in.”

That would be a change of philosophy for Caldwell, who opted for the conservative approach in 2009 as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts started that year 14-0, but despite the opportunity to be the third team in the Super Bowl era to finish the regular season undefeated, Caldwell benched quarterback Peyton Manning early in the final two games, both losses.

Detroit is dealing with a number of injured starters heading into the game with Dallas. Running back Theo Riddick has missed the past two weeks with a wrist injury, center Travis Swanson has sat out the same stretch with a concussion and cornerback Darius Slay is battling a nagging hamstring injury, that forced him to the sideline in last weekend’s loss to the New York Giants and cost him two games earlier in the year.

As he typically does, Caldwell deferred to the team’s practice report when asked for updates on any of the injuries.