Detroit Lions 2013 Team Preview
August 8, 2013 | Chet
Welcome to our 2013 Lions Team Preview. To get a better understanding of what each NFL team might be up to this season we are asking local team bloggers to answer a few questions for us. We talked to Zac Snyder the NFL Editorial Director for fansided.com, and Lions blogger for Side Lion Report, to get the inside scoop. Follow him at @ZacSnyder and check out his work.
1. Matthew Stafford threw the ball more than any quarterback in the history of the game last season and had a down year in the process. It seems like a bounce back season would be in order after great numbers in 2011. How do you see this year playing out for him in comparison to last year?
I feel that Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are both in for a bounce-back year in the touchdown department. Both guys are proven sources of yards but the touchdown numbers took a big dip last year. The Stafford-Johnson connection lost a handful of touchdowns as a result of tackles inside the five-yard line. I don’t expect him to bounce back to the 41 touchdowns he threw in 2011 but I expect him to be a consistent 30 touchdown performer. After throwing for 10,000 yards over the last two years, it is easy to pencil him in for 4,500+ yards this year.
2. There are three viable starting running backs on the Lions roster this season with Bush, Bell and LeShoure. Bush is the big name there of course, but how do you see touches being divided if everyone stays healthy?
Jahvid Best was a big part of the Lions offense when they got off to a quick start to the 2011 season and his absence was a big reason the team sputtered a year ago. The addition of Reggie Bush was a direct response to missing Best. Going back to the 2011 season, Best averaged 18.5 touches per game so that is my expectation for Bush in 2013. I figure another 15 touches will be divided between Bell and Leshoure with the nature of those touches determining the split between them with Bell the more natural pass catcher and Leshoure the more traditional runner.
3. Brandon Pettigrew saw a ton of targets last season, but couldn’t produce. Do you feel like he has the talent to significantly get better or is he who we think he is?
I think he is who he is. He could be better by being more consistent but his career has been defined by inconsistency. It is likely just a part of who he is as a player. He will drop an easy pass on one play then make an impressive grab the next. There may still be some upside for fantasy owners, provided Pettigrew can avoid things like the nagging knee issue that made it difficult for him to gain separation last season.
4. With the number of opportunities receivers have in the Lions offense us fake footballers are always trying to grab the secondary guys to Calvin Johnson. This year many are high on Ryan Broyles. He looks like he’s recovering well from his injury, are we correct in believing his upside is high in that offense?
Count me in the group of people really high on Ryan Broyles. After working his way back from the ACL tear he suffered at Oklahoma, he was just starting to show why the Lions took him in the second round before tearing the ACL in his other knee. He is one of those guys that just seem to have a feel for the game and finds the open spots in the offense. With Matthew Stafford and the Lions style of offense, he will see a lot of passes his way. The question for fantasy owners will be, will be just be a yardage guy or can he get in the end zone? He has been nearly a 100% participant in camp so worry about his knee should be in the past.
5. What offensive starter(s) do you feel have the most upside if the incumbent were to get injured?
A lot of eyes have been on Joseph Fauria. There is no guarantee he makes the final roster but if he does, or if he can stick on the practice squad and gets a chance later because of injury, he could make a fantasy owner very happy. He isn’t much of a blocker so his production is entirely based on his ability to catch the football, and with his huge frame, he is a natural target in the red zone. Joique Bell is the guy to keep an eye on if Reggie Bush gets hurt. He is a much better receiver than Leshoure so Bell’s touches figure to go up more than Leshoure’s if Bush is sidelined.