Lions fans! We’re, roughly a month away from training camp (which opens on July 26th) and much like any other year despite what happened the previous season Lions fans are more than likely excited. But perhaps unlike previous years, Lions fans have plenty to be excited about and I’ll tell you why. Simply put it will not be a “same ol’ Lions” type of season once again.
First believe it or not the Lions are a team with players other guys want to play with. Reggie Bush, DE/DT Israel Idonije, S Glover Quin Jr. are all players other teams wanted. This also isn’t even mentioning some of their own quality pieces retained in Louis Delmas and Chris Houston. The Lions also added key depth pieces in DE Jason Jones, SS Chris Hope and DT CJ Mosley. Essentially Detroit is staring at a revamped defensive line after last years had been living on reputation for 3 years, while losing production.
Reggie Bush will add that playmaker Detroit has been starved for since Jahvid Best went down with multiple concussions. Now Bush isn’t going to plow through the tackles but he’s a dynamic pass catcher and if he gets outside on a screen or pitch out he has the speed to take it to the house. This is a dangerous element the Lions offense hasn’t had after Calvin Johnson.
Israel Idonije gives Detroit the production at defensive end that has been lost over the years. He isn’t going to rack up 12 sacks or even start full time but he should see the majority of downs and will just be a very solid player. Seven to eight sacks is a reasonable number to expect along with some solid tackles at the line of scrimmage. Gone will be the days of Vanden Bosch running himself out of plays with the opposition taking advantage and in turn putting points on the board. Idonije should fit nicely while pushing running backs into tacklers.
Glover Quin is probably my favorite pick up this offseason since it’s been a long time Detroit had two NFL caliber safeties. Now Quin isn’t flashy but he’s good in coverage and against the run. Fans will probably come to love this guy in the fall.
Jason Jones gives Detroit good inside/outside depth for the D Line. He can play either spot whether it’s end or tackle while possessing rushing ability as well. Coach Schwartz has stated on multiple occasions that Jones is a better fit to scheme than Avril was. Whether or not you believe that I guess we’ll have to wait and see how exactly it works out.
CJ Mosley will replace Sammie Hill who was about the only player to depart that I will miss. Hill was coming into his own but Mosley should make Lions fans not even remember him. Mosley and Idonije will go down as some late free agent steals and show that Mayhew is learning from mistakes instead of repeating the same thing over and over. Fans might remember Mosley as the Browns DT that separated Matt Stafford’s shoulder a in that wild game a few years ago.
Chris Hope is a former pro bowl safety that will provide depth if Delmas is unable to stay healthy again. He is familiar with the Detroit scheme as a former member of the Titans while Schwartz was the defensive coordinator there. Hope also enjoyed success under his new head coach as he was also a Pro Bowler in 2008.
What remains to be seen is what the Lions will do in the kicking game as it’s come down to David Akers and Harvard Rugland a.k.a. Kickalicious. My bet is Akers runs away with the job given his history of being able to kick clutch field goals under pressure in the NFL. It will also be a nice sight to see as Akers has a strong leg that can get the touch back, something Jason Hanson wasn’t consistently able to do because of his age.
Overall I’ll give this free agent haul a B+ given the holes they did fill.
Again the Lions also keeping some of their own pieces (Delmas and Houston) was huge and there’s some potential the Lions secondary could be a strength… Yep, I said it THE LIONS SECONDARY COULD BE A STRENGTH. The Lions though still need a rookie to pan out at corner and Delmas to stay healthy.
The Lions also addressed needs in the draft without having to reach. This past April Detroit went with DE Ziggy Ansah, CB Darius Slay, G Larry Warford, DE Devin Thomas, P Sam Martin and WR Cory Fuller which I’m going to say right now, all six will contribute to the team in some way this upcoming season. Ansah fills a big time need with the departure of Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch. This is especially after KVB gave Detroit little and got hard to watch from time to time as he pushed and played hard but resulted in nothing. Avril gave Detroit some sacks late in the season but it was mainly empty in regards to the overall impact on the game. Ansah has speed to run down running backs, gain the edge and the size to knock down passes. Slay was the fastest corner in the draft and has a nose for the ball. Larry Warford is a huge man child posed for starting at RG. Not to mention a trashcan would’ve been better than Stephen Peterman last year. Devin Thomas is a project at DE but should be a good special teams player and maybe work himself into the rotation as the season wears on. Meanwhile Sam Martin has a big leg that can hopefully turn around a punting unit for the Lions that for the most part has been terrible in recent seasons. Cory Fuller who is known for his good hands gives Detroit a deep threat with speed at wide out. He’s also probably not the next Mike Wallace but could round out to be the third receiver after his rookie year.
This Draft should fill needs and be the Lions’ best draft since the early 90’s. I don’t say this lightly either. If you’ve followed me on this site and my ramblings about the Lions you would’ve seen I’m pretty critical of the team’s short comings. You, I can’t deny the changes in philosophy with Mayhew bring in some key coaching pieces while adding talent to the defensive line.
Now the Lions sit, preparing a roster for the season as training camp approaches and they have a problem… depth. Only they don’t have too little depth, the Lions might actually find themselves in an area they haven’t been in, cutting players they don’t want too.
Tigers Game Alert: Max Scherzer (12-0, 3.10) looks to remain undefeated on the season tonight when Detroit (44-38) takes on the Toronto Blue Jays (41-42) from the Rogers Centre. RHP Josh Johnson (1-2, 5.21 ERA) gets the start for the Blue Jays. Watch the game live on FSD or listen live on 97.1FM The Ticket.
M. Tuiasosopo (LF) – 15-day DL (strained left intercostal)
A. Sanchez (P) – 15-day DL (strained right shoulder)
O. Dotel (P) – 60-day DL (right elbow inflammation)
M. Cabrera (LF) – 15-day DL (left knee tendinitis)
R. Ortiz (P) – 60-day DL (right elbow strain)
B. Morrow (P) – 15-day DL (right forearm strain)
B. Lawrie (3B) – 15-day DL (left ankle sprain)
J. Happ (P) – 60-day DL (head contusion)
S. Santos (P) – 60-day DL (right triceps strain)
D. Hutchison (P) – 60-day DL (recovery from right elbow surgery)
K. Drabek (P) – 60-day DL (recovery from right elbow surgery)
L. Perez (P) – 60-day DL (recovery from left elbow surgery)