2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions hoping for better offseason than in 2012

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-31 16:15

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - In 2011, Detroit players held well-attended workouts during the lockout. They entered the season focused, and after a 5-0 start, the Lions made the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years.

The next offseason wasn't nearly as positive. A number of arrests and off-field problems put the Lions on the defensive. What followed was a 4-12 collapse for what was supposed to be one of the league's top young teams.

``Any time that you take focus away from the game that's coming up, or the process of OTAs, or the process of training camp and the urgency to improve and you divide players' attention, I think it can have an effect. The biggest thing is that it affected the image of the team,'' coach Jim Schwartz said. ``That dye was cast, and it became an item with players and dealing with the media and everything else. That's the unfortunate thing - it just divided the focus of the team.''

Schwartz met with reporters for about a half-hour Monday, a day after his team finished the season on an eight-game losing streak. Detroit still has a trio of young stars that could make any team envious: quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. But the Lions fell apart down the stretch.

There were no big changes announced immediately; it's safe to say everyone is under a lot more pressure now.

``Ownership, coaches, players, fans, everybody wants this team to be successful,'' Schwartz said. ``If our focus is on that, then we're focused on the right thing.''

Right now, the focus is on a better offseason.

``You hope that guys learned,'' wide receiver Nate Burleson said. ``Understand that the distractions that followed us into training camp hurt us a little bit, and if you're going to be that guy, you most likely won't be putting on a Lions jersey in 2013.''

Detroit finished third in total offense and second in passing, but yards didn't always equal points. The Lions finished with a minus-16 turnover differential; it was plus-11 the previous season. Detroit also allowed 10 touchdowns on interception, fumble, kickoff and punt returns.

Mistakes like that can make all the difference in a close contest, and the Lions lost nine games by eight points or fewer.

Detroit's running game remained hampered by the absence of Jahvid Best, whose status is uncertain after he missed the whole season with concussion problems. The receiving corps was also banged-up. Burleson and Ryan Broyles went down with knee injuries, and Titus Young was exiled for what Schwartz said were behavior problems.

``He's still on our roster and everybody that's on our roster is still on our roster for a reason,'' Schwartz said. ``He's a very talented player. Obviously he made a difference when he was on the field.''

Johnson finished with a record 1,964 yards receiving, but he didn't have much help and faced all sorts of defensive looks designed to prevent him from getting open.

``We started to get a clear understanding that teams are playing us a lot differently,'' Burleson said. ``This isn't 2011, where teams kind of let us run around. They were bold enough to give us one-on-one coverage, and run in between zones. They didn't do that coming into this year.''

Defensively, Suh made an impact again. Tackle Nick Fairley began to show his potential after offseason run-ins with law enforcement. End Cliff Avril had 9 1-2 sacks, but he can't be sure what his future holds. He signed a one-year franchise tender before the season.

``I would love to be here, but I know how this thing shakes out. I know how this works,'' he said. ``Just take it in stride.''

Burleson also says he'd like to be back, and his value may have increased because of Broyles' injury and Young's problems.

``I love this team, and I feel like this is my best chance to win a Super Bowl,'' Burleson said. ``Even after 4-12.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Aldon SmithApr 17 09:32p

The San Francisco 49ers do not plan on releasing LB Aldon Smith this offseason. Smith is expected to be suspended at the beginning of the season, but the length [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 17 08:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (knee) said he expects to receive medical clearance to resume football activities in the near future. He underwent knee surgery in January but [ More ]

Sebastian VollmerApr 17 08:42p

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins said OT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) has looked good this offseason while he recovers from the broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season.

Chris SneeApr 17 07:32p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (hip, elbow) is expected to participate when offseason workouts begin next week even though he is not 100 percent.

Rolando McClainApr 17 06:02p

The Baltimore Ravens reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list Thursday, April 17.

Russell AllenApr 17 05:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen, WR Jabin Sambrano and DEs Will Pericak and D'Aundre Reed Thursday, April 17.

Chad JohnsonApr 17 02:22p

Free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League Thursday, April 17.

Brian CushingApr 17 01:32p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee) was medically cleared Thursday, April 17.

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group