Skip to main content

10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Which under-the-radar player could make a difference this 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: Good question. I think we're seeing how difficult Detroit's three-headed monster at receiver can be to contain. The Lions are the only team in the NFL that have three receivers who have all recorded at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season.

Of those three, watch out for Kenny Golladay this week.

20man: It was a really good sign that he was at practice Wednesday and Thursday, albeit with a cast over the left hand he injured last week in Dallas.

Diggs is one of the toughest players around, and I'd be surprised if he wasn't able to give it a go Sunday against Green Bay, as long as the cast or any pain he might have doesn't prevent him from doing his job at a high level.

20man: Hand currently ranks 17th out of 117 qualified defensive interior lineman in terms of overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

He saw a considerable uptick in his snaps last week in Dallas (48), which tells me the Lions are very comfortable with where this rookie is trending and want him on the field more.

The fourth-round pick out of Alabama had his best game as a pass rusher in Dallas with two pressures, including a sack, and stripping Dak Prescott of the ball late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately he wasn't able to come up with the recovery.

Hand is currently the eighth highest graded rookie in the league by PFF. He's been good, and I only see him continuing to get better.

20man: You're right. Stafford has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,416 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception in his last four games vs. Green Bay.

This, however, isn't the same defense Stafford's been beating up the last couple years. They have a new defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine and a new scheme. They have young talent in their secondary, and two very good interior defensive linemen.

The Packers rank seventh against the pass this year and are in the top five in the league in passing yards per play (fifth), sacks per pass attempt (fifth) and total sacks (fourth).

Stafford and the offense will have a better challenge Sunday than they've had the past couple seasons.

20man: Quick fixes? There aren't many of those in this league unless we're talking about getting a major player back from injury or suspension.

What would a Ziggy Ansah return mean for the defense?

Ansah can really impact a game. We saw it three times last season when he recorded three sacks in three different games. He's also historically been very good against the run, which is the biggest issue plaguing Detroit's defense right now. 

I think his return could help some of the issues we've been seeing on defense, but he can't fix it all by himself.

20man: It's really just a numbers game with Abdullah. Kerryon Johnson is clearly the best back on this team. Blount is a good short-yardage and change of pace runner to Johnson's style. Theo Riddick is good in the passing game. The Lions keep only three backs active on gameday due to inactive rules.

The Lions would probably listen to trade offers, but I can say that about 90 percent of the roster.

I will say this: I think Abdullah provides terrific depth at a position where that depth hasn't been challenged due to injury yet. I say yet because that's a tough position to stay relatively healthy for all 16 games.

Abdullah has talent as a runner and receiver, and he has experience. He's a great player to have ready if needed. I wouldn't be shocked if a trade offer comes, but I also wouldn't be surprised if the Lions hold on to Abdullah and at some point this season he's called upon to help them.

20man: He has been successful in the past as a sub-package player, but was passed up on the depth chart at safety by Quandre Diggs last year. Then the team drafted Tracy Walker in the third round this year.

The Lions decided to see if Killebrew could make the move to linebacker. I think that's still a work in progress. In the meantime, he's become a core special teamer.

Players can still make a big impact on special teams in this league. Some guys have made entire careers out of being good cover guys. I'm not saying that's what Killebrew's future will be, that's just his only opportunity right now to see the field as he tries to learn the ins and outs of playing linebacker.

20man: It's a big game, for sure, but it's hard to call a Week 5 game "must win." It's important because it's a division game, which really counts for two, and it's at home.

Teams have started 1-4 and still made the playoffs. The 2004 Packers come to mind. They started 1-4 and finished 10-6. The 2015 Chiefs started 1-5 and won their next 10. The 2015 Texans were also 1-4 and finished 9-7 to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. It has happened.

The odds go up considerably at 2-3, however, and the Lions certainly want to head to their bye week feeling good about themselves.

20man: He's back on the practice field, which is a good start. He practiced in limited fashion before Detroit's Week 2 and Week 3 games but didn't play in either. Then he didn't practice at all last week and obviously didn't play in Dallas.

He was listed as limited both Wednesday and Thursday. We'll just have to see what happens Sunday, but it's good to at least see him practicing again this week. The Lions could use the help on defense.

20man: If you read my stuff regularly, you know I'm pretty big on metrics and analytical data. I reference Pro Football Focus and other websites often.

Stopping the run is a team effort on defense, but looking at some of the individual data on run defense, linebacker Jarrad Davis is currently 60th out of 61 qualifying inside linebackers against the run as graded by PFF. Maybe start there, but Detroit's issues stopping the run this season have been bigger than just one player.

Related Content