The Detroit Lions had a town hall meeting earlier this week and a bunch of small information came out of it -- from Teryl Austin thinking the defense will be better in 2015 to new special-teams coach Joe Marciano explaining what he wants out of his core group of players.
We address some of that in this week's Lions Mailbag.
Like last week, we're breaking the Mailbag in two this week. Today represents the first part. Sunday will be Part 2. Have a question for next week's Mailbag, ask on Twitter with the hashtag #LionsMailbag, pop on Facebook here and shoot me a message or email me at email@example.com.
Now, on to your questions.
@mikerothstein: The simple answer here is no -- at least not until I see what the Lions are working with during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp. Looking at the personnel, there's no way to really think Detroit will be a better defensive team in 2015. The Lions lost their best defensive player, Ndamukong Suh, and replaced him with a good tackle at the end of his prime (Haloti Ngata) and a young player who has not had to play a significant amount of snaps through the course of a season (Tyrunn Walker). Four key starters -- Ngata, middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, cornerback Rashean Mathis and safety James Ihedigbo -- will be 30 years old or over by the time the season begins. Mathis has been strong the past two years, but at some point his age might catch up with him. There are also questions about how teams will scheme against Detroit now that Suh is gone. I think this defense can still be good in 2015, but not the top-5 defense it was last season.
@mikerothstein: That's a fantastic question. Myself and other Lions reporters have made multiple requests to talk with Martha Ford in the year-plus she has been the majority owner of the franchise. Those requests, so far, have not been positively met. Ford has been friendly when she runs into the media -- either to a group of reporters at the owners meetings or to Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett and me in London after the Lions' win over the Falcons. But she has not taken questions from the media since taking over. Her son, Vice Chairman Bill Ford, has also been silent when it comes to talking with the media that covers the Lions. He has talked some about the Lions when he does Ford Motor Company events. I'm holding out hope that Martha Ford will talk with the media soon, but maybe that's misguided.
@mikerothstein: Well, Pig, (sorry, I've always wanted to type that) I think you'll see a couple of other bargain moves here at some point. The Lions picked up veteran Josh Wilson on Friday to add cornerback depth. The team is in need of a left guard so I'd anticipate some sort of move there, be it Justin Blalock, Rob Sims or another veteran. There could be a veteran kicker or punter signing as well to help take reps off the legs of Matt Prater and Sam Martin, but that could end up being rookies. The Lions don't have much cap room right now, but they can make some room if they need to in order to sign a guy.