The first game week of the 2011 NFL season is here. On Sunday, the Detroit Lions will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down in Florida. The Lions won a game at Tampa Bay in overtime at the end of last season as part of their four-game winning streak, and they will look to pick up another win on Sunday as the 2011 season gets started.
The Lions began their preparation for the Buccaneers on Monday, and cornerback Alphonso Smith practiced. This was his first practice of the year after missing all of training camp with a broken foot. His status for Sunday isn't clear, but the fact that he has started practicing is a good sign.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley and offensive tackle Jason Fox, who are both recovering from foot injuries as well, are no longer wearing their walking boots. That doesn't mean they are "out of the woods," as Jim Schwartz put it on Monday. They need additional time to recover, so it's unlikely either will play on Sunday.
The prognosis for defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and running back Maurice Morris is much better. Both players practiced on Monday, and Morris no longer was wearing a cast. This suggests he will be ready to go for the season opener.