Ask the Intern: Performance is Improving

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Detroit’s Latest Performance on the Field Has Lead Some Speculation Among Fans

Detroit is starting a winning streak here. Back to back wins against winning teams is a good way to turn a season around. Now these two wins don’t confirm the Lions are going to the post season, but it is a good sign for the rest of the season. Matt Stafford and the offensive line had a good day and part of the help came from the innovation of Jim Caldwell and Jim Bob Cooter.

If you would like to see your questions appear here next week, comment on our Facebook post, tweet me @BKnappBlogs, email me at [email protected], or call in to the podcast. Here are this week’s questions.

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Question 1: Will the Ability to Innovate the Game Ultimately Lift the Lions Out of Poor and Mediocre Seasons?

Innovation for the Lions has worked somewhat so far this year. They are using Golden Tate and even Marvin Jones on sweep plays or lining them up at running back and letting them start in the backfield. Jim Caldwell is 5/5 on fourth down conversions and he is doing them more often and in good situations.

Not many teams go for it on fourth down, or play their wide receivers at the running back position. Jim Bob Cooter could get some credit for the second innovation, but Jim Caldwell is the man calling all of the shots in the end. Another innovation on the opposite side of the ball is having Miles Killebrew play linebacker. While it has happened before on other teams, it is new for the Detroit Lions to have a player be able to play linebacker and safety on the team, creating new plays and giving Detroit more options.

If Detroit can keep being fresh with ideas and be different than the others, they will have a better chance of getting out of the poor and mediocre seasons. Things like this take time and sometimes can only work for a small period of time before teams figure you out or ask for a rule change (look at New England and their tactic with an ineligible receiver).

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Question 2: Is Matt Stafford Capable of More Games Like Last Week?

Hands down yes. Now he won’t be able to keep having these games if Detroit can’t figure out a run game sooner or later. Teams should know by now we are going to be pass heavy with only two healthy running backs on the roster right now, so when they come back maybe some pressure can be taken off of Matt Stafford’s shoulders. His performance last Sunday was impressive and while it didn’t blow people away in yards, he had four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

I am going to jump on a little ship that many people aren’t on right now, and while it is a little bit crazy to think this, you can’t rule it out just yet. Matt Stafford could be having an MVP type of season. Now he isn’t blowing people away in yards, currently in eighth place in the NFL and will be able to jump up to at least seventh with Ben Roethlisberger out with an injury. He is tied for third in touchdowns with Drew Brees. He only has four interceptions as well, which is a low number to start out the season with.

Looking around the league to see who else could be in the MVP talk, you see the rookies in Dallas (Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot), Matt Ryan is having a great year along with Julio Jones. Besides that, all of the other possible contenders aren’t having that impressive of a season. That is something for sure to watch out for. If Stafford can keep having impressive games, his name is for sure on the list.

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Question 3: Should We Make Any Changes to the Offensive Line, or Keep Things the Way We Were Last Week?

Well last week we were without right guard Larry Warford and surprisingly the line held its own against a monster defensive tackle in Aaron Donald. Travis Swanson did have x-rays after the game last week, so if he has to miss any time expect Graham Glasgow to become the center. If Warford returns and Swanson has to be out of action, the line should do fine with Glasgow at center.

If Warford will miss another week, then the line will struggle with rookie Joe Dahl at either left or right guard. Let’s imagine that Warford returns though and so does Swanson.

Right now Tomlinson has his job safe at left guard, but Detroit now has tape on Glasgow and he has experience. If the team believes he can do a better job than Tomlinson, then he will be replaced instantly.

So to answer the question overall, no. If Warford and Swanson are back, keep Tomlinson at left guard, but if he starts to struggle and has a poor performance then bring in Glasgow. If Warford is out of action, keep the line the way it was last week. If just Swanson is out, then replace him with Glasgow and we should be fine. The offensive line can make or break this season, so we don’t want to make any crazy moves if they are content right now.

Thanks for reading! We will be taking and answering your questions via Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and even the Podcast! Don’t forget to follow me and ask me questions on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find and send me questions on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life. I also have an email you can send questions to at [email protected] Call in to the live post-game show and ask me questions – we will be taking listener calls and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.