By Justin Patrick @calling_allfans on July 17, 2014
The Detroit Lions went 7-9 in 2013, finishing third in the NFC North, and missed the playoffs. The Green Bay Packers (won the division last season) are probably still the team to beat, but the division is certainly winnable if you’re the Lions. They will open training camp on July 28. Here are five rumors surrounding the Lions before they start training camp.
In 2013 the RB workload was mainly shared by Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, and 2014 will probably be more of the same. Former second-round selection Mikel Leshoure is still on the roster, as is Theo Riddick who is entering his second season. If Bush continues to fumble (five with four lost in 2013) and drop passes (highest drop percentage in the NFL in 2013), it’s possible his playing time is reduced. Maybe the Lions trade one of their RB.
Tate left the Seattle Seahawks in free agency this offseason. He has said he thinks he will have a chance to “catch a ton more balls” in Detroit. He may be right. Detroit has one of the best WRs in the NFL in Calvin Johnson and they have some other talent at the position (like rookie TE Eric Ebron), but Tate will be the second option at WR.
Johnson had 1,492 yards and 12 TDs in 2013, and Tate has Pro Bowl potential this season. LB Stephen Tulloch hasn’t missed a regular season game in eight seasons and was ranked 63rd on the NFL’s Top 100 list. Who cares if Ndamukong Suh is likable? He’s a beast who strikes fear into opposing QBs. If Joique Bell gets even more carries than he did in 2013 (especially if Bush gets a case of the fumbles again), look for him to have a special season.
Former head coach Jim Schwartz is now the defensive coordinator for the Bills, and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is now the passing game coordinator with the Cowboys. Jim Caldwell took over as head coach, and Joe Lombardi took over as offensive coordinator. There may be a period of adjustment, but after the hot-headed Schwartz, it seems the Lions are enjoying Caldwell’s calm demeanor. Maybe he can help the Lions limit the penalties.
New coaches will certainly mean changes, and QB Matthew Stafford has said he’s embracing the new offense. Stafford has the skills to be successful, but now he’s adjusting to new coaches. Reportedly Stafford will have more freedom to switch plays pre-snap under Lombardi. Stafford has stated he’s trying to embrace the changes because he wants to be successful going forward.
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