Your Daily Fix of Detroit Lions Morning Intel
The Lions hired a bunch of new coaches to take care of some of the position groups that were less than stellar last season. One of the coaches I didn’t really know anything about was David Walker, the new running backs coach. On the surface, 2011-2014 as the running backs coach in Indianapolis doesn’t look like a great resume, but he has managed to coax solid performances out of players like Donald Brown (645 yards, 4.8 yards per carry in 2011, 537 yards and 5.3 yards per carry in 2013), Vic Ballard (814 yards in 2012), Ahmad Bradshaw (425 yards, 4.5 yards per carry 2014), Dan Herron (351 yards, 4.5 yards per carry) as a few examples, These players have not done a whole bunch before or since coming under his tutelage. Those were the only two seasons Donald Brown. for example, averaged more than 4 yards per carry. I’m not saying that he’s going to turn the running game in to a juggernaut over night, but I do see some light at the end of that tunnel.
It always irritated me to hear on the NFL network about all the position coaches scouring the country for obscure player workouts at the pro days for Northwest Oregon Tech State Junior College (not a real school but you get the idea) and never hear that it was a lions coach doing it. This season you can’t say that. They’ve been sending coaches everywhere this year leaving no stone unturned, and your Morning Intel can’t understand why that hasn’t always been the case. There is no substitute for talking to a person directly in terms of knowing whether or not you want to hire them – there just isn’t. Tape tells you what a kid did, but talking to him tells you why and how.
Alex Carter is the forgotten man in the Detroit Lions secondary. Missing the offseason program puts any rookie behind the eight ball, and his injury never let him get up to speed. He was a third round pick last season, and not a reach, there is a good possibility that this kid is going to come out swinging this season, and push a guy like Lawson back on to the bench.
Steven Ridley is a limited but useful player. His contract is not big enough that the team HAS to keep him, but unless they draft someone they are most certainly going to be using him in short yardage situations. This is a player with a 1200 yard rushing season under his belt, and if he can just hold on to the ball, there is no reason to think that it’s not possible for him to return to form. Likely? No it’s not, but this is Kool-aid season.
I don’t have ESPN insider, so this time of year Morning Intel likes it when someone tells me what they’re saying in Bristol. Todd McShay has Robert Nkemdiche falling to the Lions in round two. I’d sprint to the phone to make that pick, but I am not sure Bob Quinn would share my enthusiasm. I’ve never spoken to Nkemdiche, but the interviews he did at the combine, and the incident of falling out a hotel window don’t paint a picture of the intelligent character guys Quinn has said he wants. With that said, I’d love to see a guy tough enough to fall out a fourth story window and suffer no ill effects in the middle of the Lions defensive line. I love the player, but I’ll never have to work with him.
I don’t like Su’a Cravens as a Safety, but I’m not a scout. I don’t love him as a linebacker either, he strikes me as a guy that’s a “tweener” in the bad way, the to slow to play safety and not big or stout enough to play linebacker. I keep reading comparisons to Deone Bucannon, but Bucannon was a much more explosive, speedy athlete and he had to make the move to Linebacker. Kam Chancellor is also seen by some as the analogous player at the safety spot, but Chancellor ran a much faster 40 as well.