5 Questions Detroit Lions Must Answer During Training Camp
5 Questions The Detriot Lions Must Answer Before Training Camp
After a promising 2011 season, which included a playoff berth the Lions started a disappointing 1-3 in 2012. They bounced back, however, to pull even at 4-4 with a strong stretch that included a win over Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
Detroit lost its final eight, including five straight at home — with the nail in the playoff-hopes coffin coming on Thanksgiving Day, as Ndamukong Suh kicked Houston quarterback Matt Schaub and Jim Schwartz cost his team a touchdown with an errant challenge. Three weeks after that holiday debacle, the Lions rolled over in a 38-10 loss to an Arizona team coming off a 58-0 setback at Seattle's hands.
It wasn't all bad though, Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice's all-time single season receiving yards record. Matt Stafford also broke a record as well, no quarterback in the history of the NFL threw more passes than Stafford did last year.
The Lions were their own worst enemy last year, lacking discipline and making boneheaded errors at inopportune times. 2013 we be a make-or-break year for Jim Schwartz, another sub-par season will mostly likely make this Jim Schwartz's last in Detroit.
The Lions have had the talent to win for years. Stafford is a franchise quarterback, Ndamukong Suh is one of the most gifted defensively in the league and Calvin Johnson, aka Megatron may be the most freakish athlete in the NFL.
The Lions have made moves to improve during the offseason most notably signing running back, Reggie Bush and drafting Ziggy Ansah. Despite the pickups the Lions still have holes to fill, including a secondary that will face the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler twice.
Can Stafford Bounce Back?
Matthew Stafford is hoping to follow in Joe Flacco's footsteps. Stafford enters the season without a deal in place for next year. To his credit, Stafford says he's not worried about a new contract. In fact, it could motivate him. He'll have to improve on last year's sub-par performance to make it happen.
In Stafford's defense, the Lions passed too often last year. But Stafford didn't remain fundamentally sound, habitually displaying poor mechanics. Stafford may have the most dangerous weapon in the NFL in Megatron but after that he has little to work with.
Can Anyone Become A Second Option To Megatron?
Calvin Johnson would love nothing better than one of his fellow receivers emerge as a true number-two option in the Detroit Lions offense to help take some of the pressure off his shoulders.
New running back Reggie Bush is going to help both as a runner and receiver. So would tight end Brandon Pettigrew returning to his 2011 form.The Lions are hopeful that getting receivers Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson back healthy will make a difference, too.
Broyles, in particular, has a chance to fill that void this season. A second-round pick last year, he has an opportunity to be a breakout performer from last year’s draft class. He was just coming into his own with a six-catch, 126-yard performance the prior week to tearing his ACL vs. the Colts.
Can Reggie Bush Revive The Running Game?
Bush had two solid seasons back-to-back in Miami. While it is unclear if he will split carries between himself and Leshoure, you can expect Bush to get his fair share of carries in Detroit. Bush is still a versatile and explosive player that can create mismatches for defenses. If he can stay healthy, he could give the Lions offense much needed balance.
Can The Defensive Line Dominate?
The Lions Wide nine technique is designed to get constant pressure on the quarterback, which makes first-round pick Ziggy Ansah a perfect fit, he should have the combination of speed and agility to make life miserable for opposing tackles. With Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley plugging the middle the unit has the potential to be dominant.
Can They Limit Mistakes?
Not only do the Lions commit a lot of turnovers but they fail to force them. Eight times the offense drove into the opponent’s red zone but was unable to score. These drives ended in interceptions four times, fumbles twice, and turnovers on downs twice.
To make matters worse they gave up 10 defensive and special teams touchdowns, while scoring absolutely zero defensive and special teams touchdowns themselves. Add this to an uncanny knack for committing dumb penalties at inopportune times, and it's easy to understand why the Lions were so awful last year.