Follow Kurt On Twitter @MrEasyStreet, Real Questions From Real Fans.
Welcome back to Kurt’s Mailbag. Now that the Lions 2017 season has ended, it’s time to both look back on the year and reflect as well as look forward to the offseason. I took to Twitter and asked for topics to discuss and got some great questions once again. Without further ado…
I love how Martha has handled the team since she took over. Do we know who is set to take over after her. I think her son has been involved in the past.
— Detroit what (@CarriveauJustin) January 13, 2018
Her son, Bill has indeed been involved with the team in the past. He was the CEO from ’01-’06 and still has a seat as vice chairman. Martha’s daughter, Sheila Ford Hamp has also been quite hands-on with the team and is a vice chairman herself. Team president, Rod Wood has mentioned that the Fords intend to keep the franchise in the family and do have a succession plan in place. It appears that one or both of her children will take control.
Was Marvin Jones’ emergence enough to be considered a bonafide number 1 or is that still a need?
— Colin Guy (@kwcolin) January 13, 2018
To recap, Marvin Jones Jr. (wide receiver) finished the year with 61 receptions, 1,101 yards, and 9 touchdowns. That campaign was good enough to finish 9th in yards and tied for 4th in TDs. The stats put Jones in the category of a number one if that’s how it’s going to be judged. The bigger factor to me was the eye test. He put up some major highlight reel grabs and consistently came down with balls that were tough to secure.
I don’t know that he’s a bonafide number one just yet though. Only having 61 catches means he’s not as involved as much as most of the true number ones in this league. That’s not his fault, but it does hurt his case. Wide receiver Golden Tate had over 1,000 yards himself including just as many 100 yard games (3). For now, I still consider Jones a 1A type. He’s certainly on his way though. He’s topped his own career best in yards every single year and he’s earned Stafford‘s trust. That should bode well for him as his career progresses.
If Stafford won a playoff game, would he then be considered the greatest ever by these idiots that cry about him not winning one despite the 32nd ranked run game and 30th ranked D?
— Timothy Ray Brandon (@TBrandon84) January 13, 2018
This made me laugh. The sad truth is the Stafford haters would find some other minuscule stat to use against him. I find myself defending #9 far more often than should be necessary. QB Wins is not a good stat.
Pass blocker or pass rusher, which one is addressed first?
— Jeff Germann (@TBBoltsDoctor) January 13, 2018
I expect general manager Bob Quinn to address the pass rush in the draft as well as free agency. There is a clear need for starters and there’s no such thing as too much D-line depth. Don’t be surprised at all to see two or three new faces there next year.
What would define a coaching successful transition for the team in 2018?
— Joe Boyd (@Joe_Boyd_FL) January 13, 2018
No surprise, but I had a few questions related to the coaching change. I’ll group all those into this answer. As of now, it seems very highly likely that Matt Patricia will be the next head coach of the Lions. There has been a lot of excitement about the hire and in my opinion, it seems like a good fit. It also seems fairly likely that Jim Bob Cooter may be retained as the offensive coordinator. That’s not set in stone. Bob Quinn did say that the new coach will choose his own staff. But, Matt Patricia being a defensive minded guy and the player’s familiarity with JBC’s offense may well lead to him sticking around.
Expectations will vary from person to person, but I don’t think it’s fair to expect too much of any new coach in year one. Implementing new systems or philosophies and adjusting to new coaches takes time. Often, a team needs to find different types of role players to fit within those systems. Add to that the fact that the Vikings will remain a very good team next season and Green Bay will get their QB back.
What’s important is to avoid taking a step backward. The Lions have turned into a respectable franchise under former coach Jim Caldwell. That same level of play in year one would be a success in my book. My expectations for Matt Patricia are duplicating a 9-7 season while going through the transition. On the other hand, it would be a disaster if his first season was a 5 or 6 win year. Doubt creeping into player’s minds is a quick path to failure.
Michael Roberts was used almost only for blocking all year. Do you think he'll be a bigger part of the pass game next year? (Had 4 catches all of 2017)
— DET (@DETROIT_bluee) January 13, 2018
Roberts can be a bigger player in the passing game. He does possess the skills to do so. However, he’s still buried on the depth chart. It seems likely that he’ll improve on the four catches he had, but I wouldn’t expect that number to skyrocket. He’s here to block. The fact that he can catch the ball is a bonus for now.
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Thanks to everyone who sent in questions! I apologize if I didn’t use a specific one. This will be a regular feature so please keep the great questions coming! I’m always open to a healthy discussion of these topics and any others that pop up.