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

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Quentin GrovesOct 24 03:52p

Tennessee Titans CB Coty Sensabaugh (knee) and TE Taylor Thompson (knee) are listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Quentin Groves (ankle) is listed as questionable, while DE Ropati [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 24 02:22p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) did not practice again Friday, Oct. 24, and he's listed as doubtful for Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Trent RichardsonOct 24 02:02p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the chances aren't looking good that he plays.

Mario WilliamsOct 24 01:52p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) and LB Ty Powell (ankle) both did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring) [ More ]

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 01:52p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) will truly be a game-time decision against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8 in London. Johnson was limited in practice all week and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 24 01:52p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) has been doing rehab work this week but hasn't practiced. He could be a game-time decision in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Owen DanielsOct 24 01:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Owen Daniels (knee) underwent a cleanup procedure on his knee and will not play in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach John Harbaugh said [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 24 01:02p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) has officially been ruled out for Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

J. BabineauxOct 24 12:32p

Atlanta Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux (foot) is questionable for Week 8 against the Detroit Lions in London. OOG Justin Blalock (back) and LB Prince Shembo (knee) are probable. Babineaux [ More ]

Darren SprolesOct 24 12:22p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee) practiced in full Friday, Oct. 24, and is listed as questionable for Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Brad SmithOct 24 12:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Brad Smith (groin) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals. C Jason Kelce (hernia) and LB Mychal Kendricks (calf) are questionable, while [ More ]

Brandon PettigrewOct 24 12:22p

Detroit Lions TE Joseph Fauria (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London. TE Brandon Pettigrew (foot) is doubtful. OT LaAdrian Waddle (concussion) [ More ]

A.J. GreenOct 24 11:42a

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) is not practicing Friday, Oct. 24. It's the third straight day he has missed practice, making it unlikely that he'll be able to play in Week 8.

Zac StacyOct 24 11:02a

St. Louis Rams RB Zac Stacy, who didn't have a touch in Week 7, could remain a factor in the backfield in Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:52a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is listed as doubtful for the Week 8 game Sunday, Oct. 26.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:52a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is listed as questionable for the Week 8 game Sunday, Oct. 26. Johnson was limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24.

Brandon PettigrewOct 24 09:22a

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew (foot) will be a game-time decision Sunday, Oct. 26. TE Joseph Fauria (ankle) is unlikely to play this weekend.

Eric EbronOct 24 09:22a

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (hamstring) is likely out for Week 8, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Ebron missed practice again Friday, Oct. 24.

Juwan ThompsonOct 24 12:22a

Denver Broncos RB Juwan Thompson had seven carries for 24 yards, including a pair of short touchdown runs, in the team's Week 8 victory Thursday, Oct 23.

Zach MettenbergerOct 23 11:22p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger prides himself in his strong arm, WR Kendall Wright said, and the team is hoping that Mettenberger can bring a new element to a [ More ]

Jason VerrettOct 23 11:12p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) has been ruled out for the remainder of the team's Week 8 game Thursday, Oct. 23, with a shoulder injury. He was [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 23 11:02p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) said the partially torn tendon in his foot probably won't feel better until after the year. 'I understand it's never going to feel [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 23 09:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) could return in Week 11, according to head coach Jay Gruden. 'I would think - I would guarantee Tampa, most likely, unless [ More ]

Don McGeeOct 23 08:52p

St. Louis Rams CB Janoris Jenkins (knee) and C Tim Barnes (shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. FS T.J. McDonald (concussion), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe), CB Trumaine Johnson [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 23 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks DE Michael Bennett (toe), DT Kevin Williams (undisclosed), WR Bryan Walters (concussion), CB Byron Maxwell (calf) and C Max Unger (foot) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 23 07:42p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) and S Rashad Johnson (knee) were limited participants in practice Thursday, Oct. 23. TE Troy Niklas (ankle) did not participate in practice and [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 23 07:22p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee), CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LBs Brooks Reed (groin), John Simon (ankle) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 23. LB [ More ]

Calais CampbellOct 23 07:12p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) returned to practice and was limited Thursday, Oct. 23. Campbell injured his right medial collateral ligament in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos.

Kapri BibbsOct 23 07:02p

The Denver Broncos have declared OG Ben Garland, RB Kapri Bibbs, OT Michael Schofield, DL Mitch Unrein, RB Montee Ball, S Omar Bolden, LB Steven Johnson inactive for Week 8.

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