For the first installation of the Detroit Lions Mailbag, I will be answering some of the most common questions that Detroit Lions’ fans may have. The Detroit Lions season ended on a bitter 1-6 stretch, which resulted in the firing of then Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz. Fans are questioning every move the Lions make, and for good reason. It has been 57 years since the Detroit Lions have been crowned NFL Champions, and some fans are losing hope. This leaves plenty of unanswered questions about a 2014 season that Lions’ fans want to put their faith in.
Mike Syers Q: How will the Lions’ LB corps be used under the new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin?
TN: Not much has been noted about the Detroit Lions LBs, because they weren’t an area of concern coming into the off season. The one thing that is certain, is that Teryl Austin wants his linebackers to blitz more often, get more pressure on the quarterback, and he wants them to be able to get sideline to sideline making tackles. It is expected that Kyle Van Noy, the rookie 2nd rounder out of BYU, is going to be the third man with Deandre Levy and Stephen Tulloch.
George Beverly Q: I keep hearing about how the new defensive scheme in Detroit will help the players become better, but who will struggle in the new scheme?
TN: Tough question, but if I had to pick one guy that might take longer to adjust, it would be Stephen Tulloch. He had a mediocre season in 2013, and he is going to need to be able to shed blocks better in 2014 for the Lions’ defense to be successful. He could breakout in the new scheme, but he’s going to have to work harder than anyone besides maybe Darius Slay to make it happen. Slay has more to prove, but Tulloch has more to lose.
Robert Lee Hamilton Q: Do you think our offensive line will be stronger or weaker than last year? And why?
TN: There is a lot of talent on our offensive line. A lot of fans give Dominic Raiola a hard time, but Detroit was 2nd in the NFL in pass protection, and ranked 13th in run blocking. With guys like Reiff, Waddle, Hilliard, Sims, Raoila and Warford, there is no reason to fear for the well being of our offensive line. In fact, we have more depth than ever with the addition of Swanson and Michael Williams taking his run-blocking TE talents to OT.
Mark DeGain Q: How much influence does Jim Caldwell have on the offensive schemes of Joe Lombardi? Or is it a group effort?
TN: Joe Lombardi is almost completely in control of his options in accordance to developing an offensive scheme for our players. Jim Caldwell is overseeing both sides of the ball, like any good head coach, but he also understands that it is extremely important for a guy like Joe Lombardi to be in control of his offense.
Some very good questions this week, and we hope to keep getting your questions in our Detroit Lions Mailbag. Be sure to send in your questions, and the Lions team at Detroit Sports Nation will be glad to answer them.