I receive a number of great questions throughout the week and it's about time I start addressing them on a regular basis. Feel free to disagree.
Here are 10 for this week:
Q. One position group that needs to step-up for this season to be successful (playoff appearance). Jeremy Stone (@sloney4)
20man: I'll address the offensive line in a later question, so I'm going to go with the defensive end group.
The Lions watched their sack total dip down to 34 last year, which ranked 20th in the NFL. It was the second consecutive year the total dropped from a high of 44 (ranked sixth) in 2010.
I think another aspect missing from the defense last year, particularly from the defensive end group, were the strip-sacks, forced fumbles and turnovers. The Lions got a grand total of two forced fumbles -- both by Cliff Avril -- from the position last year.
In 2011, when they won 10 games and made the playoffs, that number was 10.
The Lions need more sacks, more forced fumbles and more disruption from the position. It's a big reason they overhauled the group this offseason with the additions of
They're trying to get bigger and more athletic on the edges so they can make more plays.
Q. Is a patchwork o-line going to be our downfall this year? Jim Park (@Park_17)
20man: Well, Jim, I think a lot is riding on that group to be good this year. I think it's the biggest question mark remaining for this team, but I don't know that I would really call it patchwork.
On the right side,
The team drafted
We'll find out this year if the plan was a good one.
Q. How much $ do the lions have left to spend and what do you see us doing with it? Veteran LB maybe? Scooter (@scootergarson)
20man: By last count, the Lions are a little less than $2 million under the cap.
We should remember, though, the cap is always fluid and president Tom Lewand can always find the room he might need with a release or a simple restructure or a number of other ways that I wouldn't even want to venture to guess without a law degree.
I think the Lions are okay at linebacker, but they could use a No. 4 defensive tackle – preferably a veteran.
The team hosted veteran free agent Sedrick Ellis this week and Corey Williams remains a free agent.
Suh, Fairley and
Q. In the coming year how much of a role will @ReggieBush play in the offense? Joshua Drama (@javensel)
20man: The Lions didn't make him a Day 1 priority in free agency for nothing. He's going to play a big role.
If he stays healthy, my guess is he leads the team in carries in 2013 and probably catches around 70 passes.
As a rookie in 2010,
I'll go out on a limb and say Bush gets around 165 carries and catches 71 passes.
Q. How many cornerbacks make the Lions roster? Butch Anderson (@B22A)
20man: Heading into Week 1 last year vs. St. Louis, the Lions had six cornerbacks (
Given the frequency of injury at the position, and the added depth the Lions have this year, I think six is a good number to start with.
Q. Do you think the Lions are set at WR or do they add a veteran to compete for the #2 spot? Mr_Lance W. (@DubbNation17)
As we saw Tuesday, with the addition of receiver
Q. Tim, other than returners, what should be the biggest battle for a starting position on either side of the ball? Motowncool (@Motowncool)
20man: I think the top four right now are right guard, right tackle, outside linebacker and the right cornerback spot.
I think Sims is still the left guard (though nothing seems guaranteed these days) and Harris, Scott, Larry Warford,
We'll see a good competition between
Does Darius Slay beat out veteran Ron Bartell or second-year player Bill Bentley for the right cornerback spot? I think they'll give Slay every opportunity to win the job, but it should be a great competition.
Q. How much better is the defense this year? Can it carry us to the playoffs? Steve Blake (@steve_blake35)
20man: This defense is bigger, faster and stronger, but that's about all we know until the pads come on and the hitting starts.
On paper, it looks to be a much-improved unit. The biggest addition, in my opinion, was safety
The biggest question mark is the defensive end position. Will Jason Jones and
I think the defense will be better, but how far the Lions will go (i.e. the playoffs) will depend more on the right arm of quarterback
20man: I don't think we can even begin to talk about that until we see him in training camp or the preseason.
Let's not forget the Lions made
The advantage Lewis has over Moore is that he's a little bigger (6-2, 200), has a stronger arm and has NFL game experience after starting the last game of the season for the Browns last year (22-of-32 passing for 204 yards with one touchdown and one interception).
Moore knows the Lions system though, and is a very accurate quarterback.
Let's also not push
Q. As seen in '11, the fans caused a lot of false starts. Last year, a lot of boos. Is Ford Field our double-edged sword? Sledge (@MrGottaGetReady)
20man: It certainly can be. At times towards the end of last year, the defense had to plead with the fans to get loud at times. It seemed like the fans were simply drained by all the close losses and the losing streak.
When the Lions are humming, and Ford Field is loud, it's one of the best home-field advantages in the game.
I've been to a number of stadiums and I can honestly say that I've only ever heard the Superdome (New Orleans) and the Metrodome (Minnesota) reach volumes louder than it was in Ford Field during that Monday Night game vs. Chicago in 2011 when the Bears had nine false starts.
The key for the Lions in 2013 is to get off to the kind of start they did in 2011 (5-0). If they do that, Ford Field will be rockin' and will be a weapon.
If they don't, well ...