Kurt’s Mailbag: Detroit Lions Preseason And Roster Inquiries

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It’s currently nearing 11 pm on Thursday as I write. The Detroit Lions have prepped all week for the preseason opponent they’ll play Friday night, Tampa Bay. What better time to get into the mailbag and tackle some questions that have popped up on Twitter recently? There are some interesting things to get into this time around so no more wasting time. As usual, I’d like to thank everyone who submitted a question. There was a lot to pick from so apologies ahead of time if I don’t get to a specific one. Let’s go!

The backup quarterback situation is fascinating to me. On one hand, everyone wants a steady backup that can come in and reliably control a game and give the Lions a shot to win. On the other hand, it’s abundantly clear to me that this team doesn’t have that luxury. The debate about Rudock and Cassel is frivolous in my opinion. I don’t think either of them can do what’s asked of them on the field. The preseason showings have been ugly, and reports from camp aren’t any better.

The truth is the Detroit Lions aren’t going anywhere without #9 behind center. This leads me towards favoring Cassel for the job. Not because he can play better than Rudock, but because he can provide veteran insight to Stafford, help with game planning, and be a sounding board. For this time at this moment, I find that to be the more valuable asset between the two options.

As far as Patricia’s play calling goes, I can only assume the questions refers to the defensive side of the ball. I wouldn’t be providing a proper service if I didn’t link fellow DLP writer Sean Lannigan’s article on Matt Patricia’s Defense … I could give a much shorter answer, but that article is well worth the read.

This could change very soon, but as of right now I have the roles and order as follows:

LeGarrette Blount – Early downs and short yardage

Kerryon Johnson – Defacto RB2 that can be used in any situation

Theo Riddick – Passing situations

As simple as that seems right now, I fully expect Kerryon Johnson to take over the workhorse role as the season progresses. Blount can be relegated to short yardage and clock killing in the fourth quarter. That should keep him fresh and let him do what he’s best at. We know what to expect from Riddick. Abdullah could easily end up on another team by the time the season starts. There’s no clear role for him at the moment. I would be surprised if Zenner or Washington made the cut. However, if Abdullah does get traded or released it would free up a spot for one of them, likely Zenner.

The playcalling is a product of the preseason. Coaches don’t want to get fancy or tip their hand. They are calling vanilla plays and the true focus is watching each individual to see who is or isn’t getting their job done. Last season is a different story. I felt the plays were on the predictable side and certainly lacked creativity. Hopefully, Jim Bob Cooter can adapt as offensive coordinator.


The defensive line has to be worse. In theory, the offensive line should be ok. They certainly look like a solid unit on paper. With that being said, they have to prove it. Paper champions don’t get rings. The front seven as a whole for the Lions is the weakest link on the team for my money. Generating a pass rush is a major key to Matt Patricia’s defense. As good as the secondary may end up being, nobody can cover forever. Pressure has to get there. Combine that with the inability to stop the run that was displayed last season and the lack of additions to change that and we may be in for a rough season up front defensively.


It seems legit to me. Darius Slay is among the very best cornerbacks in the NFL. The Lions only have two other players that fit into this category in their own respective positions, quarterback Matthew Stafford and safety Glover Quin. No disrespect to kicker Matt Prater, but I don’t think kickers count for this question. In my opinion, Stafford is somewhere between the 5th to 7th best QB in the NFL. Quin is likely a top-five free safety. Both are great players. However, Slay comes in the top three of my list of cornerbacks in the NFL. Slay has gotten to the top of his craft at a very young age. So while he may not be quite as important to the Lions as Stafford or Quin right now, he is likely the pound for pound best player on the team.

Show up and don’t do anything egregious. If the tight ends don’t produce the same way Ebron did statistically it’ll be forgiven so long as they don’t make mistakes on key third downs and red zone opportunities. I don’t see many Lions fans eager to defend Ebron. It’s likely they will appreciate a quiet tight end that does his job even if it isn’t flashy.


The major difference we should notice against Tampa Bay is the Lions are treating this game as they would a regular season contest as far as preparation goes. They’re studying film and coming in with an actual game plan. This wasn’t the case in the first couple of preseason games. Aside from that, the staff looks closely at everything these players do. It pays to put them in different positions and scenarios to check and double check what is working. We may see certain players asked to do less to maximize efficiency as well as seeing some players do more than expected just as an audition of sorts. Just keep in mind, Matt Patricia’s number one goal in these exhibition games is not to come out with a win. There are many other factors at play here.

Make Sure To Follow Kurt On Twitter To Ask Your Detroit Lions Questions!

Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions even if I couldn’t get to each of them. I appreciate the entire #OnePride Twitter family and can’t get enough of the interesting debates and discussions I see on my timeline daily. I’m always up for a great Lions thread so never be too shy to @ me. Until next time, Go Lions!

You can find me at @MrEasyStreet or on the Detroit Lions subreddit.


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