Lions Insider

10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Injury concerns, kicker workouts and what it will take to beat Philly

Posted Dec 5, 2013

Tim Twentyman answers fan questions as the 7-5 Lions get set for a road matchup with the first-place Philadelphia Eagles

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.

Any concern with Johnson, Delmas, and Bush? Sam Gussert (@SamGussert)

20man: Johnson and Delmas have been battling their knee injuries all year and have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get on the field on Sunday. Both players returned to the practice field Thursday after sitting out Tuesday and Wednesday.

Both players usually rest early in the week and practice once or twice at the end of the week to get themselves ready mentally. It’s been their routine most of the year.

This is a new calf injury for Bush, however, and there’s always a concern when a new injury pops up on the injury report.

Reggie BushRB Reggie Bush at practice Thursday.

He practiced Tuesday, but sat out Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll just have to see how the calf responds to treatment as the week goes on.

He did do a couple light individual drills on Thursday, which was a good sign. It wasn’t a situation where he was limping on it or anything, so I’m not too concerned at this point. There’s still a few days until Sunday.

Your thoughts on how 9:30 ET start time affects the lions in London? 1:30pm local start, so their body clocks should be fine? Joe Friedli (@joefriedli)

20man: The Lions will probably head to London on the Wednesday before the game, so their bodies should be well enough adjusted to the time change by Sunday.

Everyone associated with the team likes the time slot because it means the nation will wake up to Detroit Lions football on national television (FOX) and the team will be back in Detroit by Sunday night. There’s no overnight travel.

Churches around Michigan might have to check cell phones at the door, though. There’s a chance for some spontaneous yelling during the sermon, and I’m not talking about being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Are we going to sign a new kicker? Jeff (@jbabs_81)

20man: Not this week.

The Lions bring players in all the time to workout. It happens every week with a number of different positions.

That being said, I do think bringing in five kickers to work out this week sent David Akers a message that a new kicker is only a phone call away.

Akers is 15-of-20 on the season, but two of those were blocked, so I consider him 15-of-18. That’s not terrible.

He can’t miss anymore of the short ones, though. The 50 yarders, coaches can live with those, but the 31-yard misses at the end of halves can get a player the boot (no pun intended).

What will be biggest challenge in Philly, containing McCoy or stopping the pass and Foles? Devon Plecas (@Dragon_BallD)

20man: I give Nick Foles a lot of credit for the 19 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season, but a lot of his success can be traced to how well the Eagles run the football.

Philadelphia is averaging 146.8 rushing yards per game and running back LeSean McCoy is second in the NFL with 1,088 yards.

That makes Foles’ job much easier. He sees favorable coverages as opponents stack the box to stop McCoy and the run game and he’s benefitted from a terrific play-action pass game and an up-tempo style.

The No. 1 duty of the Lions defense is to stop the run. If they do that, and make the Eagles one dimensional, then they can pin their ears back and get after Foles, forcing him to make quicker decisions and potentially some mistakes.

Do you see the lions upgrading the CB position next year by free agency? Shane Auger (@ShaneAuger)

20man: I think Darius Slay is going to be a good player. Let’s not forget he was a junior college transfer and really played just one year of Division 1 college football at Mississippi State. I thought he really showed his potential last week against Green Bay.

Chris Houston and Bill Bentley are under contract next year, but I think general manager Martin Mayhew and Co. will make a play for a young, veteran cornerback, who’s already established himself in this league, in free agency,

Slay is the young guy they’ll continue to develop. They’ll hope Houston bounces back after an up-and-down season. Bentley will continue to get better. I’m guessing they’ll also plug in a young veteran to try and solidify the group.

How do the lions limit the turnovers? Sam Gussert (@SamGussert)

20man: First and foremost they simply need to hang onto the football.

There’s really no excuse for fumbling the football as much as they have lately. If a defender makes a great play and puts a helmet on the football, that’s one thing, but they’ve been fumbling on normal football plays, sometimes with no hits at all.

Matthew Stafford needs to take a little better care of the football in passing situations, and he’s said as much. Interceptions are going to happen, just limit the bad ones. Throw the ball away when rushed and don’t try to force a bad throw.

It’s all correctable stuff.

Do you think the front 4 can keep up the good work this upcoming game and season? Detroit Sports (@DetroitSports96)

20man: I don’t see why not, especially with rookie defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor playing the way they are right now. I thought the defense went through a stretch this season where they weren’t getting enough production from the defensive end position. It really limited their effectiveness upfront.

Since returning from that ankle injury two weeks ago, Ansah has been terrific. I think he’s really allowed the front four to play at a whole different level.

The Eagles have allowed 35 sacks this year, so that seems to be the one weakness in that offense.

The Lions dominated the line of scrimmage in last year’s win in Philly. They’re hoping they can do it again on Sunday.

If the Lions win this week and next and Chicago loses, does Calvin not play the last two games in order to rest that knee? Joel John (@HighOffChrist)

20man: There’s a lot of if’s there, Joel, but I’ll play along.

Calvin JohnsonWR Calvin Johnson (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

I guess it kind of depends if seeding is on the line and if the Lions have a chance to clinch the No. 2 spot or not. If not, and the division is wrapped up, I wouldn’t play Megatron the final week of the season in Minnesota. Probably wouldn’t play Bush or Stafford, either.

I’d play everyone through the Giants game, if they were able to play, and then see where things stand.

Do you agree with the ESPN poll that said the #Lions had best chance to beat the #Seahawks in Seattle? Brett Cousino (@bcoozno)

20man: I saw the poll and I think a team with an explosive vertical passing game and an active front four on defense has the best chance to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

Indianapolis, the only team to beat Seattle this year (albeit in Indy), was successful throwing the ball down the field and challenging that physical secondary.

Throwing the football and getting after the passer are two things the Lions do very well. They’re also physical against the run, which is something the Seattle rushing offense prides itself on.

It’s certainly not an ideal situation to have to play in Seattle, but the Lions certainly wouldn’t be afraid of the Seahawks and that just might be the best matchup for them.

Is Levy the lions MVP so far this season? Bo Willinski (@Bo__ski)

20man: I’d really go with Ndamukong Suh at this point, Bo.

Levy is having a terrific season and he is right there, but I think a lot of his success comes from the free runs Suh and Co. provide him and the pressure generated up the middle.

Plays still have to made, and Levy is doing that, I just think everything is made easier by big No. 90.