Skip to main content

10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Is Diggs' move to safety permanent?

Every week during the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."

20man: Bonjour.

I can definitely see this being a permanent move if Diggs continues to make plays from the strong safety spot. His skill set is perfect for safety. He's both a willing and able tackler, and he's also very instinctive. He has a very high football IQ.

Another thing working in his favor is he's under contract for another season, whereas Tavon Wilson is an unrestricted free agent.

Glover Quin had a similiar career path. He came in as a safety, played the nickel and then moved to safety, where he's become one of the best in the game. It's way too early to think Diggs will be the player Quin has become, but they do have similar skill sets and work ethics.

20man: I talked to Tabor on Tuesday, and wrote about him here.

He saw a significant uptick in his snaps last week, going from 17 in Baltimore to 39 in Tampa Bay. He's coming along nicely, and the Lions have been afforded the opportunity to bring him along at a good pace because of depth and relative good health all season at the cornerback spot.

One thing I can tell you from talking to people within the building, and also speaking to Tabor, is that the kid is off the charts football smart. He can play the slot or on the outside, which we saw last week in Tampa Bay.

Diggs' move to safety opened up some reps at the nickel, and Tabor has gotten some of those.

The Lions like the way he's progressing, and that's evident by Teryl Austin giving him an increased role in the defense the last few weeks.

20man: 10-6 gives the Lions a shot. They'll still need some help, but given that Carolina and Atlanta still have to play each other, and Seattle has games against Los Angeles and in Dallas, there's a chance 10-6 gets them in.

I'd be pretty shocked if a nine-win team in the NFC gets in given the current landscape of the playoff race.

If the Lions win their next three games, they have a shot.

20man: I actually asked Jim Caldwell on Wednesday if he expected Abdullah to play Saturday, and his response was: "I do, as long as things keep trending in the right direction."

Abdullah was a full participant in practice to begin this week. Given that the Lions' run game wasn't that effective last week without Abdullah, minus a couple nice touchdown run by Theo Riddick, I'd be a little bit surprised if he wasn't active Saturday.

I still think Riddick, Abdullah and Tion Green are the top three backs the Lions have.

20man: Nevin Lawson is in the final year of his four-year rookie contract. He'll be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year opens in March.

It will be interesting to see if the team tries to re-sign Lawson this offseason with Tabor waiting in the wings. I know he's one of Caldwell's favorite players, for whatever that's worth.

Lawson is scrappy and tough. He's given up 31 receptions on the year, according to Pro Football Focus stats, and opposing quarterbacks have a 105.8 passer rating when throwing at him, but he's only given up one touchdown all year.

I wouldn't be surprised if he's back next year.

20man: It's easy to look at that still photo and make a conclusion of offensive pass interference, but watching that play live, I thought it was clear defensive pass interference.

DJ Hayden fell for the stutter step and go, and was clearly beaten deep on the play. As he tried to recover, he made contact with Evans right before that still shot, and he also never made an attempt to make a play on the ball.

I could have definitely seen the officials call it both ways, but when a defender is beaten as bad as Hayden was, and then there's no attempt to make a play on the ball, but contact is made, nine out of 10 times that's going against the defender. Watching it live, I thought it was clear pass interference by Hayden.

20man: I thought the Giants win Week 2 was pretty convincing. Jamal Agnew returned a punt for a touchdown to give them a 24-10 lead, and the Giants never really threatened from there. An incomplete pass on a 4th and 10 at the Lions 29-yard line midway through the quarter essentially ended it.

Before that, you probably have to go back to last year's game in New Orleans. Detroit won that game 28-13.

20man: The Browns host Baltimore (7-6) this week. That's a tough matchup for them. Then they go to Chicago (4-9) and to Pittsburgh (11-2) to end the year.

That Chicago game is certainly winnable. That's probably their best chance.

But what happens Week 17 if the Steelers have already clinched a playoff bye? Do they sit some starters? I'd guess the Steelers starters play some, so they don't sit two straight weeks, but probably not the whole game.

Here's something for thought. Back in 2008, when the Lions were 0-15 and facing the 5-10 Green Bay Packers the final week of the season, first-year starter Aaron Rodgers called a team meeting and told his teammates he didn't want the Packers to be the one team that Detroit beat. These are prideful men.

20man: Lang does in fact play for the Detroit Lions. Look, has everything been perfect with Lang? No. But the guy has battled and played through injuries all season long. Have there been mistakes along the way? Certainly.

But Lang is still graded by Pro Football Focus as the eighth best right guard in football. He's allowed one sack, one quarterback hit and 13 hurries in 11 games. Those numbers aren't bad.

The penalties are a bit of an issue. He has seven of them on the year, which ties a career high and are more than he's had the last two years combined, but considering the injuries he's played through, I'd say he's been good to better than average.

20man: Stopping the run is more important in every game. If a team is allowed to run the football, they control the clock and the tempo, and play action becomes a huge weapon.

The Bears have the league's 30th-ranked offense, but they're averaging nearly 125 yards per game rushing, which is seventh best in the NFL.

Conversely, they are the league's worst passing offense (167.2).

Last week in Cincinnati, Chicago dominated on the ground, rushing for 232 yards. That allowed rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to have an effective play-action pass game, and he turned in the best performance of his NFL career, going 25-of-32 passing for 271 yards and a touchdown.

The Lions nearly lost that Week 11 matchup in Chicago because they allowed 222 rushing yards. The Bears are 3-1 this year when they out-rush their opponent. The only loss was to the Lions.

Detroit needs to stop the run Saturday, which is something they haven't always done well this year, and make Trubisky try and beat them.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content