By Quinne Lowe @sports_qa on June 20, 2014
With a new coaching staff and some new weapons on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball the Detroit Lions are heading towards training camp with a lot of optimism. But they also have questions that must be answered if they want to become consistent winners. The following five questions need to be answered before opening the regular season against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.
Over the last couple of seasons the offensive line has been the least of the team's worries and could even be called the most stable. However, the weak-link position is RT and coordinator Joe Lombardi must decide who is the long term answer there: Laadrian Waddle or Corey Hilliard? Waddle served as a capable backup when Hilliard went down with an injury. Does Hilliard reclaim his job or is Waddle, an undrafted pick-up, the future?
The Lions found their No. 2 receiver in Golden Tate, but beyond him and Calvin Johnson, what other receivers will the Lions be able to depend on for production? Jeremy Ross, Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles all have shown flashes of potential but are not without concerns. For the offense to be successful the Lions needs two, if not three of these guys to solidify themselves as reliable targets. Rookie TJ Jones is the wildcard of the group as well.
The Lions fans and media were in an uproar when Stafford said he didn't need any help in fixing his shortcomings from last season. But he has to realize that his mechanics and decision making weren't the best at the end of the season. And while it may not be a major overhaul, Stafford must show that he is open to Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi critiquing his play and adjusting his mechanics to improve his play.
The Lions defensive backfield was a mess in 2013 and with the release of Chris Houston from a postion that was thin on production. It's been speculated that Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis would be the starters, but is that because those two are the most talented or because they played the most out of the group left to choose from? Coordinator Teryl Austin must answer this quickly, and if it's the latter find help quickly.
Having a new head coach that expects more from his players could be a major adjustment for the Lions franchise that had a discipline issue that started at the top. But if the Lions want to turn around the perception of being the "laughable leos," the players have to be able to trust what Jim Caldwell and his staff are trying to instill in them -- more of a cultural change and not just on-field system adjustments.
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