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2014 DETROIT LIONS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

July 6, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



2014 DETROIT LIONS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)

HEAD COACH: JIM CALDWELL

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: JOE LOMBARDI

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: TERYL AUSTIN

PPG: 24.7

RUSHING: 112.0

PASSING: 280.1

TOTAL OFFENSE: 392.1

DEFENSE PPG: 23.5

RUSHING: 99.8

PASSING: 246.9

TOTAL DEFENSE: 346.6

INTERCEPTIONS: 15

SACKS: 33.0

TO MARGIN: -12

 Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)

There is no doubt the Lions have had enough talent to win in the NFL but QB Matt Stafford has been inconsistent and the team seems to have too many off the field issues. Detroit also turns the ball over way too much and can’t make the critical plays when they need to.

Jim Caldwell was hired to bring consistency to this football team after Jim Schwartz failed and Caldwell is expected to do it now, not in three years. OC Joe Lombardi was also hired to help Stafford become a better QB. Stafford signed a three-year, $53 million contract extension and now the Lions want a positive return on their investment. Stafford is entering his sixth NFL season and has started 49 consecutive games with only one playoff berth in 2011. Perhaps he played as poorly as he could during the final seven games of 2013 when he threw 14 interceptions and completed only 54% of his passes.  Stafford finished with 29 TD’s and 19 INT’s but did throw for 4,650 yards.

Stafford will have more help on offense in 2014 after Detroit acquired WR Golden Tate to go along with RB Reggie Bush. Tate helped the Seahawks win the Super Bowl by have his best season. Detroit also drafted TE Eric Ebron with their #1 selection in the draft. Ebron is athletic and was clearly the top TE in the draft.

Of course the Lions have all-everything WR Calvin Johnson.  Megatron had another excellent season despite playing with various injuries. Johnson had 84 catches for 1,492 yards and 12 TD’s. With more help in the receiving department, Johnson may not have to take the same punishment and can stay healthy in 2014.

Reggie Bush brought a new dynamic to the Lions offense last season and will continue to work with Joique Bell in the Lions’ backfield. Bush and Bell became the first in NFL history to top 500 yards rushing and receiving in the same season.

The offensive line showed signs of promise last season despite their youth and they return intact. Guard Larry Warford has Pro Bowl potential, LT Riley Reiff had a good freshman season. RT LaAdrian Waddle returns along with veteran Dominic Raiola guard Rob Sims.

Detroit’s defense had some good times and some bad times in 2013. The Lions were ranked first in third down and red-zone defense but 28th in sacks and 21st in forcing turnovers.  One huge concern has been the secondary giving up 246.9 yards per game (23rd in NFL) and the team really didn’t address the issue through free-agency or the draft. CB Chris Houston was shaky last season and had toe surgery in May. CB Darius Slay was inconsistent as a rookie and veteran Rashean Mathis isn’t the player he once was. Bill Bentley can’t seem to stay healthy and Jonte’ Green and Chris Greenwood have to have good seasons if they plan on staying around. CB Nevin Lawson was drafted in the fourth round out of Utah State. SS James Ihhedigbo was signed as a free-agent and will team with Golver Qinn at FS.

The front seven will run a different scheme in 2014. Somehow the Lions must get to the opposing QB more and that means blitzing the linebackers more. Detroit drafted OLB Kyle Van Noy in the second round out of BYU who was a big play LB in college. Van Noy will start along with Stephen Tulloch in the middle and DeAndre Levy on the weakside. Levy has six interceptions in 2013.

All-Pro Ndamukong Suh will return at DT along with DE Jason Jones, DT Nick Fairley and DE Ziggy Ansah. Jones is returning from a knee injury that kept him out for most of the season. Ansah had eight sacks in his rookie season and Taylor improved a lot as a rookie.

If Detroit plans on making the playoffs they will have to get more consistent play from Stafford and their defense must find a way to get to the quarterback more often. The secondary will be an issue again since the Lions didn’t really address the issue in the off-season.

Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)

2014 DRAFT PICKS


 

Detroit Lions
RoundPickPlayerPositionSchool
1 10 Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
2 40 Kyle Van Noy OLB BYU
3 76 Travis Swanson C Arkansas
4 133 Nevin Lawson CB Utah State
4 136 Larry Webster DE Bloomsburg
5 158 Caraun Reid DT Princeton
6 189 TJ Jones WR Notre Dame
7 229 Nate Freese K Boston College

 

Best pick: Kyle Van Noy – He’ll be a jack of all trades in the Lions defense. He can play on the ball and in coverage. He’s the kind of finisher the Lions need on that side of the ball. A number of teams probably had a first-round grade on him.

 

Good under-the-radar pick: Caraun Reid – He’s a lot quicker than people might think for a 300-pound man. He's a three-technique penetrator and could get some opportunities to make plays in the backfield for the Lions.

 

Wildcard pick: Larry Webster – A super athletic edge rusher who has only been playing football two years after a successful college basketball career. He ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.5-range at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds. The Lions had success with another raw edge rusher who didn't have a lot of football experience last year. It was Ziggy Ansah and he led all rookies with eight sacks.

Detroit Lions (1970 - 2008)

SCHEDULE:

2014 Preseason Schedule
WK DATE OPPONENT TIME (ET) RESOURCES
1 Sat, Aug 9 7:30 PM Buy on StubHub
2 Fri, Aug 15 10:00 PM Buy on StubHub
3 Fri, Aug 22 7:30 PM Buy on StubHub
4 Thu, Aug 28 7:00 PM Buy on StubHub
2014 Regular Season Schedule
WK DATE OPPONENT TIME (ET) TICKETS
1 Mon, Sep 8 7:10 PM ESPN 9,975 available from $65
2 Sun, Sep 14 1:00 PM FOX 4,590 available from $58
3 Sun, Sep 21 1:00 PM FOX 10,523 available from $68
4 Sun, Sep 28 1:00 PM FOX 10,225 available from $41
5 Sun, Oct 5 1:00 PM FOX 11,204 available from $39
6 Sun, Oct 12 1:00 PM FOX 9,457 available from $51
7 Sun, Oct 19 1:00 PM FOX 11,128 available from $56
8 Sun, Oct 26 9:30 AM FOX Buy on StubHub
9 BYE WEEK
10 Sun, Nov 9 1:00 PM CBS 11,168 available from $45
11 Sun, Nov 16 4:25 PM FOX 6,562 available from $36
12 Sun, Nov 23 1:00 PM FOX 1,654 available from $165
13 Thu, Nov 27 12:30 PM CBS 10,690 available from $75
14 Sun, Dec 7 1:00 PM FOX 11,903 available from $38
15 Sun, Dec 14 1:00 PM FOX 11,970 available from $40
16 Sun, Dec 21 1:00 PM FOX 3,710 available from $149
17 Sun, Dec 28 1:00 PM FOX 3,748 available from $152

Detroit Lions (2009 - Pres)

ROSTER:

 

Active

 

#NamePos.Ht.Wt.AgeExp.College
42 Abdul-Quddus, Isa FS 6-1 205 24 4 Fordham
44b Abram, Chad FB 6-0 236 23 R Florida State
94 Ansah, Ezekiel DE 6-6 270 25 2 Brigham Young
74 Austin, Rodney G 6-4 311 25 1 Elon
35 Bell, Joique RB 5-11 220 27 4 Wayne State (Mich.)
28 Bentley, Bill CB 5-10 182 25 3 Louisiana-Lafayette
84 Broyles, Ryan WR 5-10 188 26 3 Oklahoma
60 Bullard, Alex G 6-2 302 23 R Tennessee
21 Bush, Reggie RB 6-0 203 29 9 USC
26 Carey, Don S 5-11 192 27 6 Norfolk State
45 Collins, Jed FB 6-1 255 28 4 Washington State
46 Couplin, Jerome S 6-2 215 22 R William & Mary
63 Dalton, AJ T 6-4 280 22 R Robert Morris
18 Durham, Kris WR 6-6 216 26 4 Georgia
85 Ebron, Eric TE 6-4 245 21 R North Carolina
83 Edwards, Pat WR 5-9 175 25 2 Houston
98 Fairley, Nick DT 6-3 291 26 4 Auburn
80 Fauria, Joseph TE 6-7 255 24 2 UCLA
96 Fluellen, Andre DT 6-2 302 29 6 Florida State
14 Franklin, James QB 6-2 230 22 R Missouri
3 Freese, Nate K 5-11 192 23 R Boston College
10 Fuller, Corey WR 6-2 204 24 1 Virginia Tech
24 Gomes, DeJon SS 6-0 201 24 4 Nebraska
36 Green, Jonte CB 6-0 184 24 3 New Mexico State
33 Greenwood, Chris CB 6-1 193 24 3 Albion
53 Greenwood, Cory LB 6-2 235 29 5 Concordia (Quebec)
57 Hepburn, Brandon LB 6-2 240 24 1 Florida A&M
39 Hester, Aaron DB 6-1 207 24 1 UCLA
60w Hickman, Gregory DT 6-0 278 23 R Florida International
78 Hilliard, Corey T 6-6 300 29 6 Oklahoma State
32 Ihedigbo, James SS 6-1 214 30 8 Massachusetts
44 Jackson, Justin LB 6-1 230 22 R Wake Forest
81 Johnson, Calvin WR 6-5 236 28 8 Georgia Tech
68 Johnson, George DE 6-4 270 26 3 Rutgers
91 Jones, Jason DE 6-5 276 28 7 Eastern Michigan
13 Jones, TJ WR 6-0 195 21 R Notre Dame
73 Kashama, Kalonji DE 6-4 270 23 R Eastern Michigan
62 Keyton, Darren G 6-3 305 24 1 Central Michigan
43 Lawson, Nevin CB 5-10 184 23 R Utah State
25 Leshoure, Mikel RB 6-0 227 24 4 Illinois
54 Levy, DeAndre LB 6-1 238 27 6 Wisconsin
50 Lewis, Travis LB 6-2 227 26 3 Oklahoma
77 Lucas, Cornelius T 6-9 328 22 R Kansas State
40 Lynn, Gabe S 6-0 206 23 R Oklahoma
6 Martin, Sam P 6-1 205 24 2 Appalachian State
31 Mathis, Rashean DB 6-1 195 33 12 Bethune-Cookman
49 Maxwell, Jacob TE 6-4 240 23 R Lousiana Lafayette
40 Miller, Steven RB 5-7 172 23 1 Appalachian State
17 Moore, Kellen QB 6-0 197 24 3 Boise State
70 Morrell, DJ G 6-6 325 22 R Old Dominion
99 Mosley, C.J. DT 6-2 310 30 10 Missouri
48 Muhlbach, Don LS 6-4 265 32 11 Texas A&M
11 Ogletree, Kevin WR 6-1 198 26 6 Virginia
8 Orlovsky, Dan QB 6-5 230 30 10 Connecticut
34 Owens, Montell RB 5-10 225 30 9 Maine
58 Palmer, Ashlee LB 6-1 236 28 6 Mississippi
1 Peacock, Andrew WR 5-9 195 23 R Appalachian State
87 Pettigrew, Brandon TE 6-5 265 29 6 Oklahoma State
69 Proctor, Xavier DT 6-6 272 23 1 North Carolina Central
72 Quigley, Bryce G 6-5 300 22 R San Diego State
27 Quin, Glover FS 6-0 207 28 6 New Mexico
51 Raiola, Dominic C 6-1 295 35 14 Nebraska
61 Reid, Caraun DT 6-2 301 22 R Princeton
71 Reiff, Riley T 6-6 313 25 3 Iowa
41 Riddick, Theo RB 5-10 201 23 2 Notre Dame
19 Roosevelt, Naaman WR 6-0 199 26 3 Buffalo
12 Ross, Jeremy WR 6-0 215 26 2 California
63 Saddler-McQueen, Jimmy DT 6-3 299 26 2 Texas A&M - Kingsville
45 Seisay, Mohammed CB 6-2 200 24 R Nebraska
65 Shugarts, J.B. T 6-6 305 24 1 Ohio State
67 Sims, Rob G 6-3 312 30 9 Ohio State
30 Slay, Darius CB 6-1 190 23 2 Mississippi State
9 Stafford, Matthew QB 6-3 232 26 6 Georgia
49 Stanford, Julian LB 6-1 230 23 2 Wagner
90 Suh, Ndamukong DT 6-4 307 27 5 Nebraska
64 Swanson, Travis C 6-5 310 23 R Arkansas
52 Tapp, Darryl DE/LB 6-1 270 29 9 Virginia Tech
15 Tate, Golden WR 5-10 202 25 5 Notre Dame
5 Tavecchio, Giorgio K 5-10 182 23 1 California
92 Taylor, Devin DE 6-8 267 24 2 South Carolina
82 Thompson, Jordan TE 6-4 248 24 1 Ohio
55 Tulloch, Stephen LB 5-11 240 29 9 North Carolina State
95 Van Noy, Kyle LB 6-3 243 23 R BYU
29 Vaughn, Cassius DB 5-11 199 26 5 Mississippi
66 Waddle, LaAdrian T 6-6 321 22 2 Texas Tech
75 Warford, Larry G 6-3 333 22 2 Kentucky
79 Webster, Larry DE 6-7 250 24 R Bloomsburg
59 Whitehead, Tahir LB 6-2 233 24 3 Temple
73 Williams, Michael T 6-5 278 23 2 Alabama
16 Wilson, Cody WR 5-9 191 23 1 Central Michigan



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