2013 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

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 ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 07:53p

Free-agent RB Chris Johnson's (Titans) visit with the New York Jets reportedly went well Tuesday, April 15, but he left without a deal. Other teams are involved with him, too.

Rolando McClainApr 15 07:53p

The Baltimore Ravens worked out LB Rolando McClain, and it reportedly wasn't a success. McClain didn't finish his conditioning test and didn't perform drills.

Terrell ManningApr 15 05:43p

The Minnesota Vikings claimed LB Terrell Manning off waivers from the San Diego Chargers Tuesday, April 15.

Adam PodleshApr 15 05:13p

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed free-agent P Adam Podlesh (Bears) to an undisclosed one-year deal Tuesday, April 15.

Allen ReisnerApr 15 03:53p

The Minnesota Vikings announced Tuesday, April 15, that they've signed free-agent TE Allen Reisner (Jaguars) to an undisclosed deal.

Daniel KilgoreApr 15 03:23p

San Francisco 49ers OG Daniel Kilgore was found not guilty of public intoxication related to his arrest in January in Tennessee. His case was dismissed following his appearance in [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 15 02:23p

The Green Bay Packers agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal to re-sign QB Matt Flynn Tuesday, April 15, according to a source.

Dion JordanApr 15 01:53p

Miami Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey is expecting big things from DE Dion Jordan in his second season this year. He's a very talented player and this is a [ More ]

Brandon LloydApr 15 01:33p

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent WR Brandon Lloyd (Patriots) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, April 15.

Chris JohnsonApr 15 12:23p

The Buffalo Bills have shown some interest in signing free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), according to sources.

Duron HarmonApr 15 10:57a

New England Patriots SS Duron Harmon is the leading candidate to take over as the Patriots' top strong safety now that Steve Gregory has been released.

Eli ManningApr 15 10:23a

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said it's 'ludicrous' to think that Giants QB Eli Manning is in decline. 'There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 15 09:33a

The New York Jets are visiting with free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans) Tuesday, April 15.

Will MontgomeryApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It's not known whether C Will Montgomery or C Manuel Ramirez will start at center.

Sidney RiceApr 14 11:52p

The Carolina Panthers might show an interest in free-agent WR Sidney Rice (Seahawks), but only at the right price.

Manuel RamirezApr 14 11:52p

The Denver Broncos' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, April 21. It remains unclear whether OT Orlando Franklin, OG Ben Garland or C Manuel Ramirez will be the team's left guard.

Terrell ManningApr 14 05:32p

The San Diego Chargers have released LB Terrell Manning.

Nate IrvingApr 14 05:12p

Denver Broncos LB Nate Irving appears to be the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker at this time, but the team is expected to select a middle linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft.

Leon HallApr 14 04:12p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (Achilles') has been cleared for all football drills as part of his rehab.

Jamarca SanfordApr 14 04:12p

Minnesota Vikings SS Kurt Coleman will likely be a contributor on special teams this year and enter the year competing with SSs Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for a backup safety spot.

Dustin KellerApr 14 03:42p

The New England Patriots could show interest in free-agent TE Dustin Keller (Dolphins) at some point this offseason.

Jermichael FinleyApr 14 03:32p

Updating a previous report, the Miami Dolphins have told the agent of free-agent TE Jermichael Finley (neck) that they could be interested in signing Finley if he is cleared [ More ]

Von MillerApr 14 03:32p

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller (knee) said his surgically repaired knee is feeling good and hopes to play better than he did before he suffered his injury. 'I'm a [ More ]

Kurt ColemanApr 14 03:22p

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with free-agent SS Kurt Coleman (Eagles). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Sidney RiceApr 14 02:52p

Free-agent WR Sidney Rice (knee) has been cleared to participate in football activities by Dr. James Andrews, according to a source. The Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants, New Orleans [ More ]

Chris CulliverApr 14 02:22p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles. Culliver was arrested March 28 for allegedly hitting a [ More ]

C.J. SpillerApr 14 01:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles tried to land Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller before they traded for RB Darren Sproles this offseason, according to two league sources familiar with the situation. [ 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