2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Lions will try to move on from 2013 collapse

    2014-07-23 13:11

DETROIT (AP) - It's been five years since Detroit drafted Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick, and in that span, the Lions have progressed from miserable to maddening.

Needless to say, that's still not good enough.

''We think that our talent level is approaching a point where we should be contending - and we are not there now,'' general manager Martin Mayhew said.

Mayhew made that comment in December, when the Lions fired coach Jim Schwartz after a late collapse cost the team a playoff spot. Schwartz took Detroit to the postseason in 2011, but that was his only playoff appearance with the team - and amid heightened expectations, the Lions went 11-21 in the two years since.

So now Jim Caldwell is coaching the Lions, and the front office is hopeful he can help Stafford take another step forward after a promising but uneven start to his career. The 26-year-old Stafford has thrown for more than 4,600 yards in each of the past three seasons, but he threw 19 interceptions in 2013, his most since his rookie season.

The mistakes were magnified as Detroit dropped six of its last seven games and finished 7-9.

With Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh still in the fold, there's pressure on the Lions to take full advantage of that impressive core of talent. It's a group that came together because the team picked around the top of the draft so many times.

''There's a great nucleus here in all three phases, and I believe we're on the threshold of some great things,'' Caldwell said. ''I think the organization is ready, the city of Detroit is ready, our fan base is ready and I think our players are ready as well.''

Some things to watch for when the Lions start training camp:

NEW STAFF: Caldwell has worked with Peyton Manning in the past, and Detroit also hired Joe Lombardi as offensive coordinator; he worked with Drew Brees as an assistant in New Orleans. The big question is how much Stafford will benefit from those two hires. He was intercepted 12 times over Detroit's final seven games last season.

MORE TARGETS: Johnson remains an offensive centerpiece after catching 84 passes for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns last season despite nagging injuries. Fellow wide receiver Nate Burleson is no longer with the team, but the Lions signed receiver Golden Tate away from Super Bowl champion Seattle.

Tate caught 64 passes last season, and Detroit didn't stop there. The Lions also used their first-round draft pick on tight end Eric Ebron. The commitment to the team's offense - the passing game in particular - is obvious.

SUH'S FUTURE: Suh has one season remaining on his contract, and if he enters the regular season without a new deal, the two-time All-Pro's future in Detroit will be in doubt. The Lions have already given pricey long-term deals to Stafford and Johnson, so can Suh and the team come to an agreement both sides are happy with?

The 27-year-old Suh has 27 1/2 sacks in his four seasons with Detroit. He and fellow defensive tackle Nick Fairley form a strong interior on the defensive line.

ON THE BACK END: There's concern that the Lions might not have done enough to address their secondary. Cornerback Chris Houston and safety Louis Delmas are gone from last season's team, leaving safety Glover Quin as the most steady returning contributor. The Lions added safety James Ihedigbo from Baltimore, but they did not draft a defensive back until the fourth round, when they took Nevin Lawson of Utah State.

KICKING GAME: Detroit also drafted Nate Freese of Boston College in the seventh round, and he'll have a chance to win the job as the Lions try to replace David Akers. Giorgio Tavecchio, a former college kicker at California, could also be an option.

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pat DevlinJun 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Pat Devlin, TE Jacob Maxwell and PK Jeremiah Detmer were waived Thursday, June 18.

Dez BryantJun 18 11:42a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant arrived for the final day of minicamp Thursday, June 18.

Kelvin BenjaminJun 18 11:02a

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) showed up 8 or 9 pounds overweight, and head coach Ron Rivera believes Benjamin's hamstring injury could be a result of that. 'It [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsJun 18 09:42a

Free-agent DT Kevin Williams (Vikings) signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints Thursday, June 18. He received a $500,000 signing bonus, which is his only [ More ]

Dez BryantJun 17 06:13p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to play Week 1 with or without a long-term contract, according to owner Jerry Jones. Jones said he knows how competitive Bryant [ More ]

Tyronne GreenJun 17 05:53p

Carolina Panthers OG Tyronne Green (Achilles') is out for the year with a torn Achilles' tendon he suffered Tuesday, June 16.

Zach SudfeldJun 17 05:23p

New York Jets TE Zach Sudfeld (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, June 17, after being waived/injured Monday, June 15.

Jeremy GallonJun 17 05:13p

Oakland Raiders WR Jeremy Gallon (undisclosed) was waived from the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, June 17.

Lamar HolmesJun 17 04:33p

Atlanta Falcons OT Lamar Holmes (foot) suffered a broken foot Wednesday, June 17, and will be out indefinitely, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

Dorin DickersonJun 17 02:13p

Tennessee Titans TE Dorin Dickerson (Achilles') will undergo season-ending surgery in the near future to repair his ruptured Achilles' tendon.

Le'Veon BellJun 17 02:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell said he has not had the appeal of his three-game suspension heard at this point and does not know when the appeal will be scheduled.

Jacob TammeJun 17 12:43p

Atlanta Falcons TE Jacob Tamme appears to be the leading candidate for the starting tight end job but is being pushed by TEs Tony Moeaki and Levine Toilolo. Head [ More ]

Victor CruzJun 17 09:03a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is hopeful he'll avoid the Physically Unable to Perform list and is confident he could pass the pre-training camp conditioning test right [ More ]

Davante AdamsJun 16 10:33p

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams has received significant praise from head coach Mike McCarthy and teammates for his development. 'I think Davante has done a great job in [ More ]

Martellus BennettJun 16 08:53p

Chicago Bears TE Martellus Bennett participated in minicamp practice Tuesday, June 16, after skipping the first three weeks of organized team activities. Bennett told reporters he expects to be [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group