2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions looking to bounce back after bad season

By LARRY LAGE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-23 12:35

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions slipped back to their losing ways last season, dropping their final eight games to flop to 4-12, making their appearance in the 2011 playoffs look like a fluke.

The approach this season is to make last season look like a fluke.

``We're excited to get back out there and kind of get the bad taste out of our mouth from last year,'' quarterback Matthew Stafford said. ``I'm going to be the one spearheading the charge and getting this going in the right direction.''

Detroit desperately needs Stafford to live up to its investment in him - $76.5 million over the next five years thanks to an extension on July 10 - by connecting with Calvin Johnson through the air and taking advantage of Reggie Bush on the ground.

The Lions, though, will likely rise or fall depending on how the Ndamukong Suh-led defense does with a lot of new faces. And if Detroit doesn't win enough to earn a spot in the postseason, it might cost coach Jim Schwartz his job.

Five things to know about the Lions:

1. SCHWARTZ NEEDS 10 WINS: Schwartz is 22-42 in four seasons as a first-time head coach at any level. He didn't inherit a good situation, taking over a team coming off the NFL's first 0-16 situation, but he's got to prove he's the right guy for the job. Entering his fifth season, he needs to win perhaps 10 games - as the Lions did with him two years ago - to boost his chances of coming back for a sixth year.

2. STAFFORD NEEDS TO EARN HIS KEEP: Stafford slipped last season and can't afford to have another setback. Armed with a $53 million, three-year extension, the quarterback is being counted on to be more accurate after completing less than 60 percent of his passes in 2012. The Lions also can't afford for Stafford to sustain his record against good teams. He's 1-22 against teams that finished with a winning record for a .043 winning percentage that is better than only Randy Johnson's .036 success rate among QBs with at least 20 such starts since 1950, according to STATS.

3. SUH NEEDS MORE THAN SO-SO SEASON: Suh might be next in line to cash in with a new deal following extensions for Stafford and Johnson over the past 15 months. The Lions hope he earns it after a career-low 24 tackles last year by perhaps surpassing his career high of 10 sacks - set as a rookie in 2010. Suh, meanwhile, wants to be known as a player who hits hard and clean - not cheap and dirty - after some missteps stained the early part of his career. He'll get a chance to lead a unit with two new starters on the line, one at linebacker and two or three in the secondary.

4. GIVE IT TO REGGIE! Bush wants to play every down. The Lions want that to happen, too, because they've been missing a big-play threat out of the backfield since Oct. 16, 2011, when Jahvid Best appeared to have had a career-ending concussion. Detroit signed Bush to a $16 million, four-year contract in March, hoping to get a blend of what he did for his first two teams. He was handed the ball 443 times in Miami, and ran for 4.7 yards per carry for a total of 2,072 yards in two years. Bush ran for 2,094 yards on 524 carries - 4 yards per attempt - over six years with the New Orleans Saints. He had 161 receptions during his first two seasons after being drafted No. 2 overall in 2006, and 78 catches the last two years.

5. NEW OL LINE NEEDS TO COME THROUGH: Detroit will have three new starters on the offensive line, and if that proves to be a good thing Stafford and Co. will be tough to stop. Riley Reiff will likely be at left tackle, a position vacated when Jeff Backus retired. The right tackle job probably goes to either Corey Hilliard or Jason Fox. Right guard is up for grabs between veterans Leroy Harris and Jake Scott along with rookie Larry Warford and 24-year-old Rodney Austin. The Lions chose not to re-sign right tackle Gosder Cherilus and cut guard Stephen Peterman.

---

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

---

Follow Larry Lage on Twitter: http://twitter.com/larrylage

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

John SullivanOct 22 01:53p

Minnesota Vikings C John Sullivan (concussion) passed his first concussion test, and head coach Mike Zimmer thinks Sullivan will be fine for Week 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. [ More ]

Jamaal CharlesOct 22 01:53p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (concussion) was cleared to practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, but the team will continue to monitor him throughout the week.

Josh McCownOct 22 01:43p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) is scheduled to throw Wednesday, Oct. 22, but is not expected to start in Week 8.

R. Griffin IIIOct 22 01:43p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's (ankle) status for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys will be determined by team doctors, according to head coach Jay Gruden. 'It's up [ More ]

Mike GlennonOct 22 01:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon is expected to be the starting quarterback in Week 8.

Marcus LattimoreOct 22 01:33p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) will be cleared to practice from the Non-Football Injury list following the team's Week 8 bye. The team plans to activate him [ More ]

Austin DavisOct 22 01:23p

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis was 18-for-21 for 152 yards in the team's Week 7 win over the Seattle Seahawks, and former QB Brett Favre thinks Davis could [ More ]

Garrett ReynoldsOct 22 01:23p

Detroit Lions OT LaAdrian Waddle (concussion), who missed three games this year with a calf ailment, didn't practice Wednesday, Oct. 22, due to a concussion. The team used a [ More ]

Colt McCoyOct 22 01:13p

Washington Redskins QBs Robert Griffin III (ankle) and Colt McCoy hopefully will find out the starting quarterback for Week 8 by Thursday, Oct. 23, according to head coach Jay [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 22 12:53p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Calvin JohnsonOct 22 12:53p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Reggie BushOct 22 12:43p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) was limited during practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

J. BabineauxOct 22 12:33p

Atlanta Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux (foot) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. OG Justin Blalock (back) and LB Prince Shembo (knee) were limited during practice.

Richard GordonOct 22 12:23p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent TE Richard Gordon (Chiefs) Wednesday, Oct 22. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Derek MoyeOct 22 12:23p

The Tennessee Titans signed free-agent WR Derek Moye (Steelers) and LB Nate Askew (Buccaneers) to their practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Anthony DixonOct 22 10:33a

The Buffalo Bills love RB Anthony Dixon, and he's likely to lead the way at running back over RB Bryce Brown.

L. WashingtonOct 22 10:13a

The Cleveland Browns re-signed DT Jacobbi McDaniel and WR L'Damian Washington to the practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Brandon PettigrewOct 22 10:13a

Detroit Lions DE Ziggy Ansah (toe), TE Joseph Fauria (ankle), OT LaAdrian Waddle (calf) and TE Brandon Pettigrew (undisclosed) are out of practice Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Jeff DempsOct 22 09:54a

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agents RB Jeff Demps (Buccaneers) and Konrad Reuland (Jets) to their practice squad and released QB Dominique Davis and WR Chandler X. Jones from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Jon BeasonOct 22 09:43a

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (toe) said it was 50-50 whether he returns this year and will have to get clearance from a foot specialist to make sure [ More ]

Harry DouglasOct 22 08:53a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) will not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Douglas traveled to London with the team and hopes to play in Week 8.

Dion LewisOct 22 03:03a

In their bye week, the New York Giants are working out several free agents. In addition to QB Terrelle Pryor, who was previously mentioned, other free agents include TE [ More ]

Tony FiammettaOct 22 02:43a

The New York Jets invited four players to work out recently, including free-agent FB Tony Fiammetta (Bears), DB Chris Prosinski (Jaguars), CB Johnny Adams (Raiders) and CB Marcus Cromartie [ More ]

DeMarcus Van DykeOct 22 02:43a

The Miami Dolphins brought in five players for workouts recently, including free-agent DB Tommie Campbell (Titans), DB T.J. Heath (Browns), DB Curtis Marsh (Eagles), WR Derek Moye (Steelers) and [ More ]

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:23p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen said he was not expecting to be as involved in the red zone as he has been this season. He has five touchdowns in [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 21 10:03p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) threw at team headquarters Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is 'real close' to 100% percent, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Troy NiklasOct 21 09:33p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8, head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calais CampbellOct 21 09:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) could return for the team's Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Paul RichardsonOct 21 08:33p

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson caught four passes on five targets for 33 yards in Week 7. Richardson was targeted just once in the team's first five games.

Chandler JonesOct 21 07:23p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21 with a hip injury, according to a source. Jones is expected to miss a month or so.

Jerel WorthyOct 21 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs DT Jerel Worthy was released Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Marcus ThigpenOct 21 06:23p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent LB Mister Alexander (Texans) and RB Marcus Thigpen (Dolphins) to their practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

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