Lions Insider

10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: If Johnson, Suh and Stafford were cars, which would they be?

Posted Nov 14, 2013

Tim Twentyman answers fan questions as the 6-3 Lions get ready for big road game in Pittsburgh on Sunday

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

If @Bigplaycj, @NdamukongSuh, and @Staff_9 were cars, what would they be? John May (@MrJohnMay)

20man: I had to start off with this question because of the sheer creativeness of it.

@Bigplaycj – Aston Martin

The Aston Martin is fast, expensive and when it’s on the road, performs with a certain flare (220 mph and 0-60 in 3.4 seconds). There are other cars that are flashier, but the Martin is still the gold standard of supercars.

@NdamukongSuh – Hummer

Tough, durable and will run over anything in its way. The interior is much nicer than you’d expect from it’s rugged exterior, too.

@Staff_9 – Ford F-150

Dependable. Can handle rough terrain. Built Ford Tough. JD Power and Associates has it ranked among the top of its class.

When is Nate Burleson expected to return? Anthony Hipkins (@ImHipkins)

20man: The Lions aren’t going to rush him, Anthony.

It’s not a matter of how Burleson feels, but rather what the X-rays show in terms of the calcification of his left forearm.

The Lions aren’t going to put him on the field until the doctors tell them that bone is 100 percent healed and there are no worries about him bracing a fall or taking a big blow to it.

The Lions are in first place in the NFC North without Burleson playing the last six games. That limits some of the rush in getting him back.

Burleson did say he’ll play a little different when he does come back, however. He’ll try to limit the hits on his arm and maybe run out of bounds when the opportunity is there instead of lowering his shoulder for an unnecessary hit.

Detroit wants its No. 2 receiver at 100 percent for the stretch run. I’d guess we’re on Burleson watch come Tampa Bay or Green Bay in a couple weeks.

Do you feel the secondary is strong enough for 1 -playoff wins? Jeremy Sloan (@sloney4)

20man: My biggest concern with this team right now would be a playoff matchup with a healthy Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. I just don’t think this secondary, playing like it is right now, could win a matchup against the top passing teams in the league.

Maybe the unit takes big steps forward in the second half and proves me wrong, but that’s just my gut talking.

Every team has weaknesses, the salary cap makes that a certainty, and that’s the secondary for the Lions.

Do you see Calvin breaking his own record from last year? Moose Bassitt (@Moose_419)

20man: I couldn't care less about the yards record, honestly, Moose.

Johnson had 1,964 yards last year and the Lions won four games. I was watching the first round of the playoffs at home and not on the road covering them.

You know what record I’d like to see Johnson break? I’d like to see him top the 16 touchdowns he had in 2011. That was Johnson’s career-high in touchdowns for a season and the Lions just so happened to make the playoffs that year.

Johnson has nine touchdowns through nine games this year, so he’s on pace for 16.

Racking up lots of yards is great, but games are won by scoring more points than the opponent.  I like touchdowns.

Any whispers of Ed Reed coming to Detroit? The team would greatly benefit from his play off experience and veteran leadership. Matt Williams (@BeleiveYouMe)

20man: He’s a Jet, Matt.

I thought maybe he’d be worth a look by the Lions when he was first released. Maybe a depth piece with some playmaking ability in his past. But the more I thought about it, I didn’t really see how he fit.

Reed, 35, struggled to get healthy to start the season and didn't play well once he was healthy. He was benched by a pretty bad Texans team. When he was benched he then began to speak out about the coaching staff.

Louis Delmas and Glover Quin have been healthy and those are the two horses in the backend for the Lions. Don Carey has played well when given a chance to do so and is a good No. 3 to have in the hole.

What are the Lions main concerns going into this week’s game vs. Pittsburgh? Brendan Ryan (@Brendan9_81)

20man: As good as Reggie Bush has been for the Lions this year, this is still an offense that passes to set up the run.

If there’s one area the Steelers (3-6) have been pretty good in this year, it’s their pass defense.

Cornerback Ike Taylor held Cincinnati’s A.J. Green to his lowest receiving total of the year in Week 2. He also held Chicago’s Brandon Marshall to his second-lowest total of the year the following week.

The Steelers rank fourth in the NFL vs. the pass, allowing just 201.3 yards per game. That total, however, does have to be put into some context. Teams haven’t always had to throw the ball to win against Pittsburgh because it ranks 29th against the run (127.2 per game).

The Steelers have only 16 sacks on the year, which tells me they do a very good job in coverage on the back end. The Lions passing game will be tested Sunday.

What’s up with Bush and the drops? That missed td could have cost us. Jason Usher (@jayusher67)

20man: I assume, Jason, you’re talking about the screen pass Bush dropped on their opening possession of the game. After going back and watching the tape, the Lions did a really good job setting that up and it looked like Bush would have scored.

He dropped another pass later in the game that led to a punt.

Bush has seven drops on the year, according to STATS, LLC, which is tied for the most in the NFL.

Drops were a problem his first couple years in New Orleans, but it simply comes down to concentration. Something Bush talked about on Wednesday.

"I think it’s just seeing the ball, catching the ball and obviously not getting too over excited that knowing behind me is the lane waiting for me to run down it," Bush said. "This week we have worked on it, even (Wednesday). Hopefully we can complete one of those pretty soon."

With Darius Slay struggling and Bentley hurt can we expect more Mathis and Carey? Jared Spaulding (@jspaul33)

20man: Where would the Lions be right now without Rashean Mathis or Don Carey? Oh boy.

Carey has done a nice job in the slot the last two games. I talked to him about that on Wednesday and he said playing safety has helped him a bunch. He knows where his help is and doesn’t even need to hear the call to know his responsibility. He’s done a nice job.

Mathis also played well inside when he was asked to do so. I actually think Mathis has been better inside than he has on the outside. He doesn’t have to run as much on the inside. Let’s not forget he’s in year 10 and coming off a major knee injury two years ago.

To his credit, Bill Bentley was playing pretty well, too, before he was injured against Dallas. The Lions have three pretty good options inside. They just need to play better out wide.

Has Waddle solidified himself as the RT for the foreseeable future or will coaches pull him at first sign of struggle? Joel Lawwell (@LawwellJ)

20man: I think he has, Joel.

LaAdrian WaddleT LaAdrian Waddle (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

There were some in the organization that thought Waddle would be playing sooner rather than later back in training camp. He’s been very good.

Corey Hilliard returned to practice in limited fashion this week. He was playing well before he injured his knee vs. Cincinnati, but I don’t see how the Lions can replace Waddle at this point.

I think that job is his and the Lions are hoping it’s his for a quite a while. He’s one of those diamonds in the rough that all good teams seem to have a couple of.

I recently read an ESPN article that said our D scheme has changed and that is why we are playing the run better? True or false? Ricky Nicely (@RebelNice1)

20man: The Lions are playing a little more man coverage than they have in the past, but there haven’t been whole-scale changes to the scheme.

I think the biggest factor in the Lions being better against the run, especially the last three weeks, is the play at linebacker.

We’ve talked plenty about DeAndre Levy and his five interceptions, but Stephen Tulloch might be quietly putting together his best season in eight years.

Even Ashlee Palmer and Rocky McIntosh have made plays and are consistent in the No. 3 and No, 4 roles. The linebacker play has been very good for the Lions and I’d point to that before anything else.