That excitement might have been tempered a bit by what he saw the Washington Redskins do last weekend.
As the Lions (1-5) come off their bye week, Stafford is expected to start for the first time since injuring his shoulder in a season-opening loss to Chicago.
“By getting to practice last week, Matthew has had plenty of time to get ready,” Schwartz said. “His arm strength is good and his command and accuracy are right where they were before he got hurt.”
The top overall pick in last year’s draft now faces the team against which he posted his first NFL victory. He threw for 241 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in a 19-14 home win over the Redskins on Sept. 27, 2009.
Haynesworth sacked Stafford once in that game and was back wreaking havoc last Sunday after a tumultuous first six weeks of this season. That span saw Washington (4-3) allow a league-worst 432.5 yards per game, including an NFC-high 298.2 passing, as the two-time All-Pro tackle feuded with coach Mike Shanahan and provided little help on the field.
Hall wasn’t doing much better. He’s been burned for a league-high 42 completions for 526 yards and three touchdowns.
The veteran cornerback seemingly tried to make up for those struggles all in one game, tying an NFL record with four interceptions in a 17-14 victory over the Bears on Sunday.
“It’s not necessarily big for me, but it’s big for this defense,” Hall said. “If you go out and look at the stats, we don’t look too good on paper, but you watch us live, we’re out there flying around.”
That’s what Haynesworth was doing against the Bears. He jumped over an offensive lineman to keep Jay Cutler(notes) short of the end zone on a plunge from the 1-yard line, holding him while teammate London Fletcher(notes) forced a fumble and recovered it.
Haynesworth also bullrushed an offensive lineman to post one of Washington’s four sacks and his first of the season.
“Albert played exceptionally well,” Shanahan said. “It’s the best that he’s played, obviously, this season.”
Washington allowed a season-low 322 yards and forced six turnovers. Those are potentially bad signs for Stafford, who has thrown 20 interceptions in 11 NFL games, though he has none in 15 pass attempts this year.
While Hall could be assigned to Johnson, Haynesworth and the rest of Washington’s front seven must contain Jahvid Best(notes), who tops all rookies with 534 yards from scrimmage and has five TDs. Best has 328 total yards in two home games.
“He wants to do everything perfectly,” running backs coach Sam Gash said. “To me, he has already beaten the learning curve for rookies. He’s not a guy who thinks he knows everything; he wants to learn everything.”
Another rookie making a big impact for Detroit is Ndamukong Suh(notes). The second overall pick had 1 1/2 sacks in the last game, a 28-20 loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 17, and he leads first-year players with 4 1/2.
“Ndamukong is incredibly strong and agile,” Schwartz said of Suh, who returned an interception 20 yards in Week 5. “He’s really serious about football. He’s developing as a player. He learns something new just about every game. We’ve been very pleased with him.”
Suh now tries to get to Donovan McNabb(notes), who has been sacked 10 times in the past three weeks and has thrown two interceptions in back-to-back games. He’s among the NFC’s lowest-rated passers (76.0), but the Redskins have won three of four and are within a game of the East lead.
A big reason they’re in that position is Ryan Torain(notes) playing well in place of the injured Clinton Portis(notes). Torain has rushed for 335 yards and three TDs in four games this month, posting 100-yard games the last two weeks.
Torain faces a Detroit defense which has allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of the last five contests.