Lions Insider

10 QUESTIONS: Twentyman responds to Lions' fans on Twitter

Posted Sep 26, 2013

Tim Twentyman answers 10 questions submitted via his Twitter account, including what the Lions should do at receiver with Nate Burleson out for an extended period of time

Every week during the season I plan to answer 10 good questions I receive throughout the week from my Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman", which is sponsored by Huntington Bank.

Ok so approx. 6 weeks for Nate...do we roll with our current group or still try to make a trade? Mat Cool (@ThanksthomCool)

20man: The Lions have inquired with "multiple" teams about a trade, but I can say with some bit of confidence that Lions general manager Martin Mayhew isn't going to go out and make a bad deal as a reaction to Burleson.

If there's a deal out there that can land the Lions a receiver (you all know the names that have been rumored) that can help this team not only this year but in the future, too, and the asking price isn't more than the Lions are willing to part with, then they'll do it.

But I also think this team has confidence that they can get the same kind of production they were getting from Burleson from a player like Ryan Broyles and a combination of their other receivers and tight ends until Burleson gets back.

I don't get a sense that anyone is panicking in Allen Park. If the Lions make a deal it will be a sensible one.

They made a reactionary trade to an injury last year when they got Mike Thomas and it didn't work out.

They aren't going to make a bad deal.

Burleson eligible for non-football injury list to open up a roster spot without using IR? Michael Daenzer (@mdaenzer)

20man: Technically, the Lions could put him there, since it was an injury that occurred away from our facility, but if he was placed on Reserve/NFI, then he would be done for the season.  

The only players that can return from Reserve/NFI are players like the 49ers' Aldon Smith, who are placed on Reserve/Non-Football Illness pursuant to the procedures of the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse may return to the club's Active List in the same season.

What are the chances that Bush lines up in the slot (in place of Burleson) with Bell lined up in the backfield on Sunday? DanielDopp (@DanielDopp)

20man: We could see that in certain situations, Sunday, but I wouldn't expect it as a steady package. Most of the times this year Bush has been in the slot have been in no-back sets or shifting there from the backfield.

Bush is a running back who runs routes well and can catch short passes and turn them into long plays.

I don't think he can do what Nate Burleson did. He's not a receiver. It's not as easy as just lining up in the slot and running routes. There's a craft to getting open, just like it's a craft to be a good runner.

Also, it's a lot different trying to get open against a nickel cornerback than it is a linebacker or safety, which is what Bush typically gets in coverage. There's a reason receivers stress technique.

We'll probably see it some, Daniel, but probably not a steady diet.

Do you think we'll see more 2 TE sets with Nate gone, utilizing Scheffler and Fauria? Darin (@DlintheD)

20man: It will depend on how Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan decides to attack the Bears defense.

He won't play two tight ends more just as a reaction to Burleson's injury. The Lions have players in Broyles and Patrick Edwards, who they feel very comfortable with filling in.

We could certainly see more of tight ends Tony Scheffler and Joseph Fauria moving off the line of scrimmage and into the slot. Linehan has done that in the past when numbers have been down.

Will the #Lions front 4 be able to pressure Cutler unlike the teams through the first 3 weeks? INPUT (InputHipHop)

20man: It's really been impressive how the Bears have completely re-tooled their offense to a more quick-fire, west coast style.

New head coach Marc Trestman has really harped on Jay Cutler to get the ball out quick and on time and Cutler has been sacked just three times in three games.

I talked to defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham earlier this week he said that's the first thing he noticed when he popped in the film.

Last week, I thought the defensive ends had to play really important roles against Washington's read option and stretch offense.

It'll be just as important this week for the defensive tackle to pressure up the middle. Ndamukong Suh has been playing great the first three weeks of the season and has 21 quarterback disruptions, according to ProFootballFocus.com. The key for the Lions will be getting that initial push up the middle and making Cutler move his feet.

Also, when playing quick passing schemes, get those hands up. We'll probably see a few more batted balls this week.

The Lions don't necessarily have to get to Cutler to disrupt a play. Just make him uncomfortable.

Are we seeing the beginning of the end for Pettigrew in a Lions uniform? Eric Theisen (eric_theisen)

20man: I still think Brandon Pettigrew can play an important role, especially with Burleson out, but I did think it was telling that he only had two targets last week in Washington and was replaced in the red zone with Fauria and Scheffler.

I've said this before, this is a "what have you done for me lately" league and Lions coaches will continue to play the guys making plays.

That being said, I still think Pettigrew can be a factor moving forward and will make some plays in spots.

What's more important to get a win the Lions rushing attack or penalties/turnover margin? David Strouse (@DeavidStrouse)

20man: Teams that win the turnover margin usually win the football game, David.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the Bears are No. 1 in the NFL in takeaways with 11 in three games. They live, breathe and eat turnovers, and know what to do with them once they get them.

The Lions aren't too bad in that department, either. They have seven on the year.

This is really the key to the game, in my opinion.

Whoever turns the ball over the fewest amount of times Sunday is going to win because I think they're two evenly matched teams everywhere else.

Is Reggie going to be at 100% this week or will him and Bell split reps? Paul Bartosz (@pbartosz7)

20man: Define 100 percent, Paul, because no running back in the NFL is 100 percent after three weeks.

Bush used the example last week that playing running back in the NFL is equal to getting in 15 to 25 small car crashes in a three-hour span. I can't really argue with him.

But in terms of his bruised knee -- the one that kept him out of the game in Washington -- he seems to be getting past it. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and looked like he had good burst and was running well Thursday.

I'd fully expect him to start Sunday's game and have an impact.

Spurlock is Stefan Logan 2.0.  Can we use Bush back there to give the offense better position? Mike Stack (@_MikeStack_)

20man: I'm not ready to go there quite yet, Mike.

I think you really have to take a look at the blocking and the penalties on the return teams as a bigger problem right now. I've been to every game and I haven't seen a whole lot of running room there.

The Lions view their return game a little different than other teams. The No. 1 goal for the Lions is to not have their return teams hurt them -- secure the football and don't back the offense up.

They've done a good job with the first, but a poor job with the latter, through three games.

If a big return happens, that's great, and they certainly scheme for them and want them to happen, but I think the main goal of the return units is to get the ball to that offense.

The Lions planned to use Bush in spot punt return duty this year, and still could, but considering how banged up he's been the first three weeks, I'm not so certain that's a great idea.

Watch for Broyles to maybe get a chance or two when he gets back to 100 percent.

Burleson injury has overshadowed a major injury to Jason Jones. Do u foresee more blitzing from Gunther? Zach Helton (@ZHeitSprings42)

20man: No, Zach.

I think the Lions were pretty deep at the position coming into the season and will rely on Willie Young and Israel Idonije to pick up the slack.

Head coach Jim Schwartz said yesterday that losing Jones doesn't change anything they'll do scheme wise. Suh said essentially the same thing.

I feel pretty confident that Young, Idonije and rookie Devin Taylor can fill the void. I think one of the better stories on this team through three weeks has been the play of Young. He's been really good and will now get even more opportunities.