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: There was definitely some disappointment in the locker room Sunday night and into Monday, but players and coaches have a 24-hour rule. They watch the film on Monday and make corrections. The players are off Tuesday, and when they get back Wednesday, it’s on to the next one. It’s just the mentality they need to have in this business.
Safety Quandre Diggs used the phrase, “new week, new me.” Quarterback Matthew Stafford said he moves on by watching film of the next opponent.
I got the sense talking to players Wednesday that Arizona was behind them. They are on to Los Angeles and focused on trying to put a mark in the win column this week.
20man: I would think so. Talking to special teams coordinator John Bonamego this offseason, he said the No. 1 priority in the return game is making sure Stafford and the offense are on the field afterward. If they get a great return or a score, great, that’s a bonus, but job No. 1 is securing the football and handing it over to the offense.
Agnew is a terrific talent back there, and an explosive player, but that was a big muffed punt last week. He’s had issues with ball security in the past. I think another big mistake would start to make the coaching staff lose confidence in the former All-Pro return man.
20man: The protection issues upfront. Stafford was pressured on nearly half of his drop backs last week. Detroit’s 22 pressures allowed were the second most in the league last week per Pro Football Focus statistics.
Stafford was good moving around and avoiding the rush, but having to constantly do that messes with the timing on routes and operation on offense. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are terrific edge rushers for the Chargers, and they can cause a world of problems for Detroit’s offense if those players upfront allow it.
Detroit’s offensive line has to be much better Sunday.
20man: That’s a good observation on your part. The soft spot in the Cover 3 is right in the middle behind the linebackers and in front of the three deep safeties. That’s an area where T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James and even Danny Amendola could look to exploit. I could see the Lions really try to get the tight ends involved in the middle of the field from 12 personnel.
The Chargers have two great edge rushers in Bosa and Ingram. Taylor Decker and Rick Wagner have to step up to the challenge and play better. But the Lions can help those two with the tight ends and using the backs to chip at them. It’s definitely going to be another tough task this week keeping Stafford clean.
20man: The Chargers do a really good job taking away the big plays with the Cover 3 defense, which forces opponents to drive the football for points.
One area where the Lions could have some success this week is on the ground with the run game. Indianapolis rushed for 203 yards on 33 attempts last week vs. Los Angeles. That’s a 6.2 average per rush. Colts running back Marlon Mack had 174 of those, including a 63-yard touchdown.
I think this is more of a run the ball and drive it kind of game for Detroit’s offense as opposed to all the big plays we saw in the passing game last week in Arizona. I’d look for Kerryon Johnson to get on track this week and for Hockenson to potentially lead them in receiving again.
20man: It’s always good when the moment doesn’t appear to be too big for rookies, and that was certainly the case for Tavai last week. He lined up all over the field and made plays when the opportunity was there to make them, including his first career sack. He didn’t try to do too much.
His skillset is perfect for the Lions' multiple defense. He’s smart, he’s played a lot of football, and he understands his role in this defense. He should continue to get better. It looks like the Lions have a pretty good player in Jahlani Tavai.
20man: It was an uncharacteristic performance from the veteran left tackle last week. Two sacks, two holding penalties and two false starts is just not the Decker we’ve been used to seeing. He’s not an elite left tackle in this league, but he’s not in the bottom group of players at the position, either.
Decker is a pretty prideful player and he’s a team captain, so I’d be a little surprised if he struggles again this week against the Chargers, even with the edge rushers Los Angeles employs.
I expect a bounce-back performance from Decker.
20man: It was a big game, no doubt, and coming out of the desert with a tie was certainly not optimal. I’d just remind people that there’s a long way to go in the season. Houston started the season 0-3 last year and still won their division. You just never know in the NFL.
Given what happened last week, getting a win this week is crucial for the Lions. The Chargers are banged up, and it’s Detroit’s home opener. 1-0-1 heading into a critical NFC matchup in Philadelphia next is an OK place to be. 0-1-1, not so much.
20man: Los Angeles is also without starting left tackle Russell Okung (illness), star running back Melvin Gordon (holdout), Pro Bowl safety Derwin James (IR), and cornerbacks Michael Davis (hamstring) and Trevor Williams (IR).
Henry suffered a fractured tibial plateau in his left knee and is out for the foreseeable future. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn seemed concerned about the knee injury No. 2 wide receiver Michael Williams suffered last week against Indianapolis.
The Chargers are banged up, no doubt, but good teams have quality depth. Running back Austin Ekeler stepped in and had 154 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns filling in for Gordon last week.
Los Angeles is missing some key pieces and are traveling from the west coast to a hostile environment. It would be disappointing if the Lions didn’t play better this week and have a chance to win at the end.
20man: I don’t think it will change. It really comes down to a player safety issue. One motivation behind the change in 2017 to reduce overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes was concern about the physical toll on players participating in a 75-minute game on a Sunday and then potentially having a Thursday game afterward.
I know the college game has overtime until a winner is determined, but they don’t have the quick turnaround NFL players could be subjected to, and the NFL game can be more physically taxing.