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 is a lot of football to be played, but you're right, the loss in Green Bay and the tie to Arizona are two games the Lions probably feel they should have won, and not coming away with wins puts them behind. If they win those games they're 5-2 and feeling pretty good about where they're at.
At 3-3-1, they have some work to do, and I agree, it will likely take at least 7-2 the rest of the way. First things first, Detroit needs to get healthy, and then they need to start playing a whole lot better on defense.
This is what the remaining schedule looks like: at Oakland (3-4), at Chicago (3-4), vs. Dallas (4-3), at Washington (1-7), vs. Chicago (3-4), at Minnesota (6-2), vs. Tampa Bay (2-5), at Denver (2-6), vs. Green Bay (7-1).
Three games remaining against teams currently with a winning record and two of those (Dallas & Green Bay) are at home. The combined record of the remaining opponents is 31-36.
Outside of the Vikings, Detroit's been in every game, and it's come down to the end. But now is the time to start stacking some wins together. It starts Sunday in Oakland.
20man: Way too early. The tight end position is the second toughest position to learn for rookies outside of the quarterback position. It's essentially learning three positions, plus all the protections, run schemes and route concepts.
You saw in Arizona what T.J. Hockenson is capable of. Darrell Bevell's offense spreads the ball around to multiple weapons. It's the reason they've had a 100-yard receiver in every game this year distributed among four different pass catchers, Hockenson included.
20man: I think Bevell and Co. are still trying to figure that out. Last week was a bit of a case of going with the hot hand early. Tra Carson had some nice early runs against the Giants.
Bevell said this week he's still in the process of finding out what these guys do well and what roles fit each skill set.
"We'll continue to hone in there, but we like the guys that are in the room, we like the team, we like the skill sets that we have," he said. "We just have to kind of refine what's going to be best for their roles."
This is a Lions run game that could look very different week to week. I don't think there's going to be one player who emerges as the best fit or the bell cow every week. It's going to be pieced together using Carson, Ty Johnson and J.D. McKissic.
Carson did show up on Thursday's practice report with a hamstring injury, but it's unclear at this point how that will affect his status for Sunday's game, if at all.
20man: He has a role, and he's playing it very well, but Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and Marvin Jones Jr. are playing really well too. Hall is the No. 4 receiver, and he's not going to supplant any of the three players ahead of him for major playing time. The Lions also don't play a ton of four receiver sets because they like to utilize their tight ends.
Hall does provide a speed element that opens up the playbook for Bevell, and Bevell has utilized it at some key moments. Hall has five catches on the year and is averaging 40.2 yards per reception. He can step in and spell Golladay, Amendola and Jones, if needed.
We could see more of him this week with how much the Raiders have struggled defensing the deep pass this season. Opposing passers have over a 130.0 passer rating on 20-plus-yard throws against the Raiders with eight touchdowns. Stafford's 33 completions of 20-plus yards are the fourth most among the league's passers.
Just remember this: Detroit is currently the No. 5 passing team in the NFL, averaging 282.7 yards per game. Everyone has a role and it's been pretty successful so far, so why mess with a good thing?
20man: The Lions like what they have in third-round pick Will Harris, and want to give him more opportunities. They think there's a skill set there they haven't tapped into yet that can help them.
I think it would have caused more problems in the locker room had Diggs seen his playing time cut as a veteran and captain, not been happy about it, and possibly expressed that displeasure.
Trading Diggs was a way to move on to a young player and still do Diggs a solid by getting him into a situation where he can continue to play as much as he's used to. The Lions also got some compensation in return.
20man: My guess is the price wasn't right. There wasn't a lot of movement league wide at the deadline, which tells me the compensation for players got a little out of hand the closer to the deadline it got.
The Lions do need to be more consistent rushing the passer, but I think it's good Trey Flowers is starting to come on. He had two sacks last week. They just got Da'Shawn Hand back last week and he was good in his 2019 debut. He'll continue to get better the more he gets into the swing of things. Mike Daniels has returned to practice, albeit in limited fashion, but he's getting closer to returning. Rookie fourth-round pick Austin Bryant returned to practice Wednesday after being on IR the first half of the season. If he's activated in the next couple weeks, he'll offer some fresh legs to Detroit's pass rush.
This is a Lions pass rush that has yet to play a game with all of its moving parts. It looks like they're closer to seeing that come to fruition, so maybe that played a role in the decision as well.
20man: It definitely helps. Hand was second on the team last year in quarterback pressures, despite missing three games and playing less than 60 percent of the snaps. He had four tackles, two quarterback hurries and a pass defended in his first game back.
A lot of the pass-rush games and stunts are predicated on the edge players and inside guys working off each other. Hand is a load to handle because of his speed and athleticism. He's a disruptor, and having a player like that inside makes everyone around him better.
20man: With the trade deadline now passed there won't be any significant upgrades. Darius Slay looks like he's close to returning from a hamstring injury and Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin are healthy. They're OK at cornerback.
The one to watch is Tracy Walker. The Lions will be thin at safety if he can't play, plus he's the guy they use to cover tight ends.
I don't expect any significant upgrades in the backend. They're going to roll with what they have.
20man: I think that's tough to answer because of the injuries, but those injuries also have to play a factor in that decision.
Two years in the league and two stints on IR for Johnson, which obviously isn't ideal. Is he injury prone or has he just been had bad luck early in his career? The fact that he dealt with injuries in college doesn't help his case.
Stafford dealt with a similar situation early in his career, where he was injured and went to IR in both of his first two seasons. People also thought he was injury prone and a bust. He hasn't missed a game since. There are cases like that all over the league. But Stafford also never dealt with significant injuries until he got to the NFL. Johnson has.
We'll see how this week goes, but I think if anything, last week proved the team needs more depth at the position. I like Johnson as a player, and hopefully these injuries are just a fluke thing, but the team has to protect itself moving forward by adding to the position via the draft or free agency.
A first-round pick? I guess it just depends on who is there and what the team added in free agency ahead of the draft. I'm not sure I'm ready to go there just yet. I see other more important needs.
20man: The Lions have the next 20 days to decide if they want to activate Bryant from IR.
If they do, Bryant will be an interesting case study. He's a versatile rookie coming into a defense that's struggled to rush the passer with any real consistency, though last week they were much better (23 pressures and three sacks) in that department.
Da'Shawn Hand, who was also a fourth-round pick, started out playing about half the snaps on defense as a rookie. When healthy, the Lions will have a little bit more depth upfront than they did early last year during Hand's rookie season, so I'll guess a third of the snaps, maybe a little bit more. If he's productive, we could see that increase. It's really up to him how much he plays early on.
As far as Oruwariye goes, he was a healthy scratch early in the year, and I think he's a bit away from being part of the rotation at cornerback.