Before we kick off our training camp coverage, I wanted to get one last mailbag session in. Because I’ve accidentally forgotten the mailbag the last couple of times, I pulled questions from the last two or three weeks that were just sitting on the pile.
So without further ado, here’s our pre-training camp mailbag.
#AskPOD when it comes down to 3rd down obvious passing situations who do u see as the left edge rusher ? And do u believe they’ll use hand as a three technique or on center on 3rd down?— Durdy Mike (@michaelman1212) July 14, 2019
Most of the time last year, when the Lions’ defense was in a third-and-long situation, they utilized what many call the NASCAR front. This is basically where you get every defensive lineman and linebacker that is capable of pass rushing in there.
The way the Lions did it last year was to usually have someone over center (typically Da’Shawn Hand), and have two wide edge players (Ezekiel Ansah/Romeo Okwara and Devon Kennard). Between them, the Lions would threaten a bunch of linebackers up the middle. We’ve already seen the Lions practice this exact formation in OTAs this year, so expect it to stick around.
As for the players, you can probably expect everything to be the same, just with Trey Flowers replacing Ezekiel Ansah. So to answer your questions, Kennard should be the left edge rusher, and Hand will typically stay at that nose position.
How many all-purpose yards will Johnson finish the year with?
A. Below 1,000 (likely injury-related)
For reference, last year Kerryon had 641 rushing yards and 213 receiving yards for 854 all-purpose yards. If you were to extrapolate his statistics over a full 16-game season, he would’ve had 1,366 yards total. Considering his limited usage over the first three or four games, I would say it’s certainly possible, if not likely, that he eclipses 1,500 all-purpose yards this year. So, I guess D?
If there would be another draft today where you have the No 1 pick for the Lions and there are players on every position that justify a No 1 pick and fit the scheme: Which position would you upgrade? #AskPOD— One PriDE (@OnePrideDE) July 12, 2019
It would be between cornerback and quarterback. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Matthew Stafford. But if you could guarantee me that there was a player that justifies the No. 1 pick in the draft and the Lions could have him? Absolutely go get him. A talented quarterback on a rookie contract is literally the most valuable commodity you can have in the NFL.
That being said, cornerback is a pretty important position, and this team continues to struggle to find someone to pair with Darius Slay. Though a rookie cornerback may struggle in his first year, it’s also the position on the Lions roster that probably needs the biggest upgrade.
The only other position I’d consider is an edge rusher, because you can never have too many of those, and top-tier edge rushers tend to have a pretty good hit rate at the top of drafts, and they can be impactful immediately.
Evil criminals have your family.
You can make one call to save them. Who do you call?
Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon
Ethan Hunt: Tom Cruise
James Bond: Daniel Craig
John Wick: Keanu Reeves
Other: your favorite non-super hero
John Wick will do anything to save my puppy. Wick by a landslide.
#AskPOD do you guys like watching fullbacks play/how much would you expect Bawden to be an upgrade from last year’s FBs in terms of viewing enjoyment?— Will MacPhee (@willmac11111) July 7, 2019
Personally, I love watching a fullback play. It’s a throwback to old-school football and it’s really football in its most basic form. Two players running toward each other and trying to hit the other one out of position. It’s essentially sumo wrestling with pads.
We’ll see with Bawden. He was obviously phenomenal in college, but it’s hard to give any sort of informed opinion on a guy I haven’t seen take a single snap in the NFL. It looks like he’ll avoid the PUP list, which means he’ll be one of the guys I’m keeping a close eye on at camp.
One interesting note from Darrell Bevell’s media session this week was that he seemed non-committal on a pure fullback.
“As that lead back, you like to use that guy in different spots, move him around,” Bevell said.
During OTAs and minicamp, we saw the Lions use tight ends that way: in the backfield, in line, out wide. At this point, we aren’t sure if Bawden is capable of all that. So, at this point, I am not convinced there’s a roster spot for him.