Skip to main content

10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: What will the snap counts at RB look like this week?

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: I'd be more worried if Detroit wasn't getting any pressure at all, but that's not the case. They have 34 pressures in two games, which ranks fifth in the NFL behind only Green Bay (48), Dallas (41), San Francisco (41) and the New York Jets (35), per Pro Football Focus statistics.

The problem has been marrying the rush and cover a little better to prevent quick throws, but also finishing those pressures with sacks with all four guys upfront staying disciplined in their rush to make sure there's nowhere for the quarterback to escape to.

I had defensive lineman John Cominsky on my Twentyman in the Huddle podcast this week and I asked him about the lack of sacks early on, and he said they aren't concerned about it. He said sacks come in bunches and will come if they continue to pressure like they have been. His concern and the emphasis in the room this week is bottling up the escape lanes.

20man: For me it's veteran safety Tracy Walker, who will be inserted back into the starting lineup this week with C.J. Gardner-Johnson going on IR.

Walker was lost for the season in Week 3 last year with a torn Achilles and has worked his butt off to get back. He was obviously disappointed with the demotion from the starting lineup but I talked to him about it Wednesday. He is one motivated individual who is set on proving he can still be the player he was in 2021 when he was a 100-tackle, impact player for this defense.

20man: Assuming David Montgomery doesn't play, it should be Jahmyr Gibbs with 15 or so carries and then Craig Reynolds and Zonovan Knight mixed in as well.

Gibbs has been compared to Alvin Kamara in terms of his skillset and versatility. Head coach Dan Campbell was in New Orleans when the Saints drafted Kamara, but they also had Mark Ingram at the time. I think the dynamic in Detroit between Montgomery and Gibbs is very similar to that of Ingram and Kamara early on in New Orleans.

In 2017 during Kamara's rookie season, Ingram out-carried Kamara nearly 2-1 (230 attempts vs. 120). Kamara never carried more than 12 times per game with Ingram playing all 16 games that season. Kamara was targeted 100 times in the passing game and caught 81 balls for over 800 yards. That's kind of how this has played out in Detroit over the first two contests with Montgomery and Gibbs.

When Ingram was suspended the first four games of the 2018 season, Kamara's carries ticked up. He averaged 14 carries during Ingram's suspension with a high of 19 carries Week 4 that season for 134 yards and three touchdowns.

Depending on how the game goes, I'd expect Gibbs to be around the 15-carry mark and continue to be a big part of the passing game (he's already got nine receptions in two games).

20man: Yeah, it's been a tough start for Marvin Jones Jr., especially Week 1 with the drops and fumble. I still think Jones Jr. will have his moments and make plays for this offense, but we have to be realistic about what his role is.

Amon-Ra St. Brown is the clear No. 1 receiver. Josh Reynolds in the clear No. 2 in terms of his usage (102 snaps vs. Jones' 73) and the fact that quarterback Jared Goff has so much comfort and trust in him built over the years. And with Gibbs and tight end Sam LaPorta emerging in the receiving game, there's only one football to go around.

20man: When we talked to GM Brad Holmes in early September, he said he has had 'good dialogue' with Goff's agents about a new deal. I believe Goff has proven he's the long-term answer at quarterback for this team and I'd expect a new deal to get done, if not sometime during the season, certainly in the offseason.

Goff has a cap hit of just under $31 million this year and just under $32 million next year. He's due a raise with the way quarterback contracts are going but a contract extension could also create space for other moves depending on how it's structured in the early part of the contract.

20man: They actually aren't too bad on the injury front along their defensive line. In terms of trading to add more talent or depth, I don't think they are at that point just yet. Like I talked about above they are getting pressure, they just need to finish, cover better behind it and close out some escape lanes. They believe it's fixable stuff.

The line Campbell had this week about reliable players being more reliable and needing players to win more of their one-on-ones, I think that will resonate with some guys upfront on defense and I'd be surprised if the rush wasn't more disruptive this week, despite Atlanta having a pretty good offensive line.

Detroit still has depth along the edge, even with James Houston out. Julian Okwara is eligible to come off IR after Week 4 to add even more depth there.

20man: I was at every training camp practice, and I'd agree with the coaches' assessment that Benito Jones had a more productive camp. But after two weeks of being inactive, I believe the Lions could use a player like Buggs, who was fourth on the team last year with 10 quarterback hits. He only trailed edge rushers Aidan Hutchinson (15), Cominsky (12) and Houston (11) in that department. Buggs also added 46 tackles. I think he provides the best pass rush from the interior on this roster, and that's something Detroit could use more of.

20man: The offensive line health is the bigger concern right now. Left tackle Taylor Decker (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday, though he was working with trainers off to the side. That's encouraging at least. We'll see what Campbell says about his status on Friday. I thought Matt Nelson played pretty well giving up one pressure and one hit last week. Penei Sewell didn't like his performance at left tackle last week when we talked to him Monday, and said he'll be better. I'm certainly not worried about him.

Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) isn't expected to play but the Lions feel good about inserting veteran Graham Glasgow into the lineup. They consider him a sixth starter anyways.

Defensively, the Lions are missing Houston and Josh Paschal upfront, but overall they still have good depth there.

20man: Houston isn't a starter. He's a situational pass rusher, and a good one at that.

With only 46-to-48 players being active on gameday, any player who isn't an established starter is fair game for special teams. Even some starters play special teams here because Campbell values it just as much as offense and defense.

Houston has speed and bend and can play in space, which makes him valuable to teams. It stinks he got hurt on special teams, but I've seen players get hurt in non-contact walkthrough practices, so you just never know. You can't play this game scared.

20man: The new field turfs installed at Ford Field and on the inside field at Allen Park are the latest state of the art turfs, but ask any player or coach and they'll tell you they prefer to play on grass every day of the week and twice on Sunday, if given the option.

Related Content