10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: How do Lions bounce back in Week 2?

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'm still a little bit skeptical of the Packers' young secondary.

Kirk Cousins completed 76 percent of his passes with a 118.6 passer rating and a couple touchdown passes last week as the Vikings put up 34 points, while possessing the ball for just 18 minutes and 44 seconds in the contest.

Green Bay had a 29-10 lead in the fourth quarter, so they might have let off the gas a bit on defense to keep things in front of them, but I think there are some opportunities for the Lions to make plays down the field in the passing game, as long as they can keep edge rushers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith off quarterback Matthew Stafford.

20man: Rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday, and that's a good sign the No. 3 overall pick is trending towards making his NFL debut Sunday in Green Bay against Aaron Rodgers and Co.

Depending on how well Desmond Trufant's hamstring responds to treatment this week, Okudah could be set up to play a key role Sunday opposite Amani Oruwariye.

20man: Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Jared Allen, Logan Mankins, Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, John Lynch, Zach Thomas.

20man: Tight end T.J. Hockenson's play percentage was actually a little higher than that. He played 50 of the 78 offensive snaps, or about 64 percent. He played 31 inline, 13 in the slot and six out wide.

Some of that is obviously scheme and personnel packages, but I thought Hockenson had a very nice start to his season and proved to be a mismatch weapon for the Lions against Bears linebackers in the passing game. I'd expect we see around the same percentage of snaps this week, with the potential to see an uptick depending on early matchups and how the game goes.

20man: Football is the ultimate team game, so when one unit is struggling with injuries, or doesn't have a particularly good matchup in a certain week, it's up to the other side of the ball to pick up the slack.

That's really how I view this week in Green Bay. Rodgers and the Packers' offense are rolling to start the year, and the Lions are heading into Green Bay this week a little banged up on defense. This is one of those games where Stafford and the offense have to play really well and make the most of their opportunity to score points. They can't stall in the red zone, settle for field goals or turn the ball over in crucial moments.

We talked all camp about how explosive this offense can be – even without wide receiver Kenny Golladay – and sometimes the unit with the better matchup has to step up and win a game for a team. To me, this is a game where Stafford has say, 'Look, the defense is banged up, and we'll have some young corners in there, so we as an offense have to put up 30-plus points and see where the chips fall.'

20man: There are points in the game where you can point to all of the above playing a factor. But for me, injuries really played the biggest factor in that game last week.

Tony McRae stepped in there and played tough, but that's not a situation the Lions' defense wants to be in, counting on their sixth cornerback late in a game. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was 11-of-24 passing with no touchdowns before the Trufant injury. He was 9-of-12 passing for 92 yards with three touchdowns after Trufant left the game with a hamstring injury late in the third quarter. Not having Justin Coleman, who was also injured in the game, or Okudah (inactive with hamstring injury) really put the defense behind the eight ball late in that game.

The offense also missed Golladay and his ability to stretch the field and be a dynamic red zone threat (Lions were 2-of-5 in red zone).

Injuries are never an excuse because they are part of the game, but I thought they played the biggest factor in the loss last Sunday.

20man: I think if you're going up against a line you view as suspect, you hope you can get pressure with your front four. The Lions blitzed 11 times last week, according to Pro Football Reference statistics, six times with their linebackers and five with their safeties.

It's really dangerous to blitz an experienced quarterback like Rodgers and leave a lot of one-on-one situations in the passing game. Rodgers was 7-of-12 passing for 95 yards against the Vikings blitz last week. He had a passer rating of over 100.0 last year with seven touchdowns and no picks against the blitz in his first year learning a new offense.

I think this is a game where the Lions have to count on Trey Flowers, Da'Shawn Hand, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara, and their other primary pass rushers to step up and make things harder on Rodgers than they did Trubisky last week. If they don't, Detroit's secondary could be in for a long afternoon.

20man: I thought those guys upfront played pretty well last week against a good Bears front, especially considering they were without starting right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and rookie Jonah Jackson was starting his first game at right guard. Detroit racked up 426 total yards of offense and 138 rushing yards. Stafford was sacked just once, and he did a nice job in the pocket avoiding some other pressures. We'll see if Vaitai (foot) can make it back this week.

Green Bay potentially not having Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kenny Clark (groin) would certainly be a break for the Lions, but don't sleep on Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith on the edges. Those two combined for 25.5 sacks last year and were disruptive last week on the edge in Minnesota. How well the Lions block the edges will be a huge factor this week.

20man: Kerryon Johnson has been given a unique opportunity as a young player to learn from one of the best to do it. It would really be a shame if he doesn't take something from being around a player like that and being able to watch film and take something from how a 13-year veteran sees the game and blocking in front of him.

Peterson took carries from Johnson Week 1 because he had the hot hand. The Lions use a running-back-by-committee approach, but coaches will never go away from a hot hand. I suspect there will be some games where Johnson gets off to a good start and we see his carries get a boost.

This is what Johnson said last week when asked about Peterson:

"I know that we want the most amount of good people on our team, (which) means the other team doesn't have them," he said.

"So, if you come to me and ask me, 'Hey, we're going to sign Adrian Peterson.' Like of course, sign him. Bring him on board. This man has won games by himself. He continues to win games by himself. He can help us win games, and that's all I want to do."

20man: For one, Marvin Hall isn't sneaking up on anyone like he did last year. When a player averages 37.5 yards per completion, defensive coordinators take notice.

If you go back and watch the tape, the Bears played a lot of two-deep in the back end, and did a nice job of forcing the Lions to play in front of them. I think Hall missed Golladay taking some attention away from him and opening some things up down the deep middle.

Hall isn't a guy you throw the ball up to deep looking for a 50-50 opportunity, like you do with Golladay (6-4) or Marvin Jones Jr. (6-2). Hall is a 5-foot-10 speed guy. He's got to get separation behind the defense, and I thought Chicago did a nice job throughout the game of not letting Lions receivers get behind them.

Related Content