This week's question from Marshall Faulk revolves around what the Detroit Lions' biggest strength is and how they should build upon it in the second half of the season in order to make the playoffs.
Based on what happened in the first half of the season, I think it's pretty clear that the Lions' biggest strength is simply playing defense. If you want to get more specific, stopping the run is probably the Lions' best attribute, as they are currently second in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.
Generally speaking, how can the Lions build upon their strength on defense in the second half of the season? Aside from continuing to play at a high level, one interesting curveball for the NFL's No. 1 defense is that rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy is returning this week. He spent the first half of the season on injured reserve, but now he's healthy and ready to contribute, although his exact role remains to be seen, according to Jim Caldwell.
"We'll see. We'll see how it works in terms of rotation, but certainly any guy that can run, tackle, who's smart, has toughness and great leadership is certainly going to be able to play some role for us. We'll see how significant that is as time goes on."
With Stephen Tulloch out for the year, the Lions have had to get a bit creative at linebacker. Tahir Whitehead has seen the bulk of the work in place of Tulloch, but Ashlee Palmer and Josh Bynes have received playing time as well. Van Noy figures to be a major factor in that rotation as the season progresses, but it's unclear if he will be used mainly on a situational basis or if he will emerge as a starter once he gets on the field.
How do you think the Lions should use Van Noy now that he's healthy?