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10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Where do Lions need to improve moving forward?

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: Stafford has started 126 straight games, the third longest active streak in the NFL, and I think he gets a sense of pride being a guy who is always available for his teammates and can grind his way through just about anything, especially with the way his career started.

He's played through the back injury the last two weeks, and as long as it doesn't get any worse, I'd expect him to do the same vs. Minnesota. We'll then see how he comes out of Sunday's game against a Minnesota defense that leads the NFL with 47.0 sacks and hit him 17 times the first go around.

20man: I like some of the young pieces this team has in place – Damon Harrison, Darius Slay, Kenny Golladay, Kerryon Johnson, Frank Ragnow, Quandre Diggs, Da'Shawn Hand, etc, but this is an important offseason to fill some holes. I'll kind of reserve any judgement about next season until I see how they go about accomplishing that via free agency and the draft.

As far as these last two games are concerned, Patricia doesn't strike me as a coach all that interested in experimenting on Sundays. That's more for the practice field. He's made it very clear he wants to win on Sundays, and that means playing the players that give him the best opportunity to do that.

20man: Right now the websites and list the in Lions middle of the pack among the 32 teams with around $39 million in cap space. Obviously, a few different moves could affect that number either way, but that's a rough estimate of the current cap space.

20man: This is a unique roster right now in that you can't say any one position is set – besides maybe defensive tackle – but you also can't say any one position is really lacking talent.

I think that makes this offseason really interesting.

On offense, the Lions could need a guard, tight end, third receiver, running back depth and a quarterback to back up Stafford or to groom. I think they're pretty good at tackle with Taylor Decker, Rick Wagner and Tyrell Crosby being able to step in for either.

On defense, they could use another pass rusher on the edge (or two), help at cornerback, linebacker depth and safety depth.

20man: The defense has been the better of the two units for Detroit this season, but I think adding another pass rusher and a cornerback to compete for the No. 2 spot behind Darius Slay can really round out that side of the ball. I'd look for that in the draft, if they don't address it in free agency, which comes first.

20man: It's been a year of change in Detroit with a new coaching staff, new schemes and new ways of going about their business. Things haven't gone the way anyone hoped they would in Allen Park, but one year certainly isn't enough time to make a long-term evaluation on a coach.

Stafford is having a bit of a down year, but that side of the ball has also been decimated by injury and roster moves. Still, you'd expect the operation on that side of the ball to be much better.

I think next year will tell us a lot about both coach and player.

20man: That's an interesting one. Blount will be an unrestricted free agent. He has five rushing touchdowns on the year, which leads the team, but he's averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and will turn 33-years-old next season.

He's great in the locker room, and is familiar with the way Patricia wants to run things, but I'd expect Kerryon Johnson to be the starter next year.

20man: Lang has played at a Pro Bowl level in Detroit since he arrived. He's really been Detroit's best lineman when he's been out there. His issue has been availability. I think the deal on paper has been a good one from a simple football perspective. He's been a good fit. Injuries have just gotten in the way.

Wagner is paid like a top right tackle. He's currently graded 11th by Pro Football Focus among right tackles. Last year he was graded fifth best. Teams always have to pay more in free agency, which is why it's not the ideal way to build a franchise. Wagner has been steady. I certainly wouldn't consider his signing a bad one.

I'd give both signings a B.

20man: It's hard to say and we'll never really know. Could Tate have made a difference in some of those close games over the last couple months? Sure. But we also shouldn't forget that the Lions were 3-4 on the season and in the middle of the pack in most statistical passing categories at the time of his trade.

As far as the second part of the question, football is a business, and every player in that locker room is well aware of that fact.

20man: Tight end Levine Toilolo is a good one, and I agree. Good blocker, big frame and can go up and get a ball.

Defensive end Romeo Okwara has done some really good things in this defense. He's second on the team with 6.5 sacks and has played pretty well on the edge.

Running back Zach Zenner would probably be another, though I'd also add another young back to the mix. Zenner is also really good on special teams.

I like receiver Bruce Ellington in a reserve role too.

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