GDHQNFL14_Detroit Lions3

Detroit Lions Gameday HQ

Three Questions 1. Can the Lions cut down on the turnovers? Detroit has to hope that a new coaching regime led by Caldwell will help make the offense more disciplined. Stafford has never thrown fewer than 16 interceptions in a season; he has an established history of turning the ball over. He’s still young, so improvement is possible, but expect turnovers to still be a problem on this team, especially if the defense gives up leads. 2. Will the new offensive weapons take some heat off of Calvin Johnson? Last season, Durham, Burleson, and Broyles simply couldn’t command enough respect to prevent opponents from swarming Johnson. Tate should step in and be an immediate upgrade at that position. Johnson is such a dominant weapon that teams are almost guaranteed to keep doubleteaming him, but Tate is good enough that he should make opponents pay for doing so. 3. Will Detroit rush the passer this season? While the Lions have a number of players capable of pressuring the quarterback, this didn’t translate into very many sacks last season. Only four teams had fewer sacks than the Lions’ 33. The team still lacks an elite pass rusher, but has added rookie linebacker Van Noy to a pass rushing corps of Ansah, Suh and Fairley. Expect Detroit to be more successful at getting to the quarterback this year. now, and the team didn’t do much to address this problem in the offseason. The Lions signed safety James Ihedigbo to replace Louis Delmas, who signed with Miami as a free agent. Ihedigbo is a smart player but not as physically talented as Delmas, and shouldn’t be considered an upgrade. Otherwise, the team will rely on Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis, and Glover Quin to cover receivers downfield. None of these players have shown consistency in pass coverage; the Lions will need at least one of them to step up if they want their defense to rise above league-average. The good news is that with Suh, Fairley, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy, Detroit should have a stronger pass rush than the unit that produced just 33 sacks last season. DeAndre Levy is a solid coverage linebacker and Stephen Tulloch is a capable and well-rounded middle linebacker. The front seven is strong, but with the secondary remaining a weakness, it’s likely that Detroit’s defense will be roughly average in 2014. Defensive Player to Watch On a team with pass defense issues and two noisemakers on the line of scrimmage, it’s easy to overlook the man in the middle, Tulloch. As much as Detroit struggled to defend the pass at times, their run defense was outstanding. Suh and Fairley certainly deserve credit for this, but so does Tulloch, who made 93 tackles and almost always takes the right approach to tackling a ball carrier. Tulloch is also a solid coverage linebacker, great at finishing tackles, and chips in with some pass rushing prowess as well. In other words, Tulloch can do anything his team asks him to do at the linebacker position. On a team with a reputation for being undisciplined, Tulloch rarely misses a tackle or finds himself out of position. He may not be the flashiest player or receive the most attention, but Tulloch is probably the single most valuable player on the Lions’ defense. TEAM ROSTER LIONS DEPTH CHART OFFENSE QB Matthew Stafford Dan Orlovsky RB Reggie Bush Joique Bell WR Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate Kris Durham, Ryan Broyles TE Brandon Pettigrew Eric Ebron FB Jed Collins Montell Owens LT Riley Reiff Corey Hilliard LG Rob Sims Rodney Austin C Dominic Raiola Travis Swanson DEFENSE RG Larry Warford Garrett Reynolds RT Laadrian Waddle Darren Keyton DE Jason Jones, Ezekiel Ansah Devin Taylor, Larry Webster DT Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley Caraun Reid, C.J. Mosley LB DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch Kyle Van Noy, Ashlee Palmer CB Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis Bill Bentley, Cassius Vaughn S James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin Don Carey, Isa Abdul-Quddus SPECIAL TEAMS K Nate Freese P Sam Martin KR Jeremy Ross


Detroit Lions Gameday HQ
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