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10 QUESTIONS WITH TWENTYMAN: Will Lions activate any other players off IR?

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: This week is a little different situation than last week in that last week rookie running back D'Andre Swift wasn't practicing. Any work he would have gotten in before Sunday would have been very limited. That's why interim head coach Darrell Bevell said late last week any role Swift would have had in Chicago would have been reduced.

Swift has been practicing so far this week. If he returns to the lineup Sunday, he won't be as limited as he would have been last week, if that makes sense.

20man: It really did look different. Detroit had 11 explosive plays and scored 34 points last week, and that's got to be the recipe for success this weekend against Green Bay too. How much of it was game-plan specific last week or what the Bears presented them on defense? Or did they kind of unlock something they can use these last four games? We asked quarterback Matthew Stafford about this Wednesday.

"When you look at it, there were just guys down the field who were open," Stafford said. "Some teams are playing ultra, ultra-deep, linebackers and taking away 15- to 18-yard routes and that's tough. You have to check it down in those.

"We were able to get behind (Chicago) a little bit, and (we) also put ourselves in some 3rd and long situations and had to get some chunk plays to get first downs. Kind of all over the board on that."

Expect Stafford to try and continue to find those opportunities to take shots whenever they think they can hit them. Stafford did say they mean a lot in the grand scheme of the offense being successful.

20man: I think Kenny Golladay is a top 15 receiver in the league, and I would attempt to sign him. It obviously takes two to negotiate, and the price tag is a key factor, but I would try to sign him. The cap hit for the top 15 receivers in the game, according to, ranges from around $12 million to $20 million. I think Golladay fits somewhere right in the middle there. Let's also not forget that if a long-term deal can't be agreed upon, the franchise tag is always an option teams can use as well.

Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola and Mohamed Sanu are all unrestricted free agents after this season. Rookie Quintez Cephus is the only receiver on the active roster under contract for next year. Golladay is a Pro Bowl caliber player, when healthy, and he's a home-grown talent as well, drafted by the team in the third round in 2017.

I've never been a big fan of letting young players drafted and developed by a team move on for a second contract somewhere else. Teams get good by drafting well and developing talent enough to deserve a second contract and become the foundational pieces in their prime years. Taylor Decker and his recent extension is a perfect example.

20man: Rookie defensive end Julian Okwara returned to practice Dec. 2, which began his 21-day window for the Lions to decide to activate him to the 53-man roster. If he continues to progress, I'd expect the team to look to activate him at some point.

Defensive end Trey Flowers is another player currently on IR head coach Darrell Bevell said he expects to return this season. He's been doing stuff on the side of practice and is working his way back from the arm injury.

Defensive tackle Danny Shelton, cornerback Desmond Trufant and offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai are three others to monitor in the next couple weeks to see if they have a chance of returning. No news on those three up to this point.

20man: That was a tough injury early in camp because I thought rookie defensive tackle Jashon Cornell was playing pretty well early on. He suffered a significant non-contact Achilles injury in a pass-rush rep, and he's not expected back until next year as he continues to rehab the injury.

20man: Two things stand out.

1. They have to stop the run. Packers running back Aaron Jones had a career-high 236 yards from scrimmage in the Week 2 loss to Green Bay. The Packers have the No. 1 scoring offense and No. 2 overall offense, so if Detroit allows them to run the football like they did in the first meeting, they have almost no chance of winning this time around.

2. Detroit's offense has to score points. The way Aaron Rodgers and Co. are playing right now, it's going to be tough to completely shut them down. They're going to score points, and the Lions' chances of winning Sunday are better if they can match that production and play the way they did last week in Chicago, when they racked up the big plays in the passing game and scored 34 points.

20man: I see the Zeeland crowd is getting into the mix this week. Dynamic is certainly not the word I'd use to describe my old high school days. 

I've written before that if the Lions do draft a quarterback, I believe it would be to back up Stafford in 2021 and possibly beyond, much like the current situation in Green Bay with Jordan Love and Rodgers.

I'm going to skip Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields because I think they're off the board early. One player that intrigues me a bit is BYU's Zach Wilson – if he declares after his junior season.

He's completing 73 percent of his passes this season with 27 touchdowns and three picks. I like the fact that as a true freshman he completed better than 65 percent of his passes. He's accurate. He can also run a bit (eight rushing touchdowns this season). That's kind of where the league is heading, right?. Guys like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Josh Allen are always a threat to make plays with their legs and their arm. That's an early name, but it's a long process to draft day.

20man: Owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in her Zoom call after relieving Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia of their duties that she planned to do a thorough and comprehensive search. She said she had some ideas of the kind of people she was looking for, but was open to interviewing all potential candidate fits, both those with previous general manger and head coaching experience and those without. It's a search for the best fit, and Hamp and team president Rod Wood won't limit themselves to just looking at candidates with experience.

I expect there to be a long list of interviews, especially when it comes to the GM position. They will likely interview in-house candidates, those outside the organization not currently employed by a team and then after the regular season those candidates currently employed by other teams. It sounded like they wouldn't leave any stone unturned.

20man: I believe he will be. He's under contract for a couple more years and still has a lot of good football left.

That decision will be up to the new GM and head coach. Stafford is very well respected around the league, and there really couldn't be any better situation for a new GM and head coach to come into than having some stability at the most important position in football while they figure out the roster and their plan moving forward. That's not to say you can't add a young guy to the mix and think about the future, but Stafford's contract is very reasonable and he's still playing good football.

20man: This team is responding to Darrell Bevell's first message to them after taking over as interim head coach. He told the team he doesn't believe they are out of the playoff race. Detroit is only a game back in the wild card.

I know Green Bay, Tennessee and Tampa Bay are tough opponents coming up, and the Lions will be underdogs in every one of those contests, but one thing you have to know about professional athletes, at least one thing I've learned from being around them for more than a decade, is these guys got to where they are because they have extreme confidence in their ability. They won't stop believing there's a chance until the math tells them there isn't one. One game back isn't a lot.

I saw Washington, the same Washington team the Lions beat Week 10, go on the road and beat the 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday. There are no guarantees in this league. It's why they play the games. I'd expect this team to fight until they're mathematically eliminated, and if that point comes, then I expect they'll play for pride and for a coach they really respect in Bevell.

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