The Lions, lying in wait for the new year ...
A bunch of great chat questions, so figured I'd answer some more here before we get into links. Remember, chats will most often be Tuesdays at noon -- at least until the start of the season.
Brandon (New York City): What are the chances the Lions trade (Mikel) Leshoure? I think we could get a decent CB for him?
I think you’re overestimating the trade value on Mikel Leshoure at this point. The Lions barely used him last season and he’s no better than the third running back now. Also consider this -- there is a decent chance Detroit uses more running backs this season and the team did not draft any or sign any as undrafted free agents, just fullback Chad Abram. So they might actually have a plan for Leshoure now. But I have a tough time seeing them being able to get a decent cornerback for him at his current value, to answer your question.
Justin (Oak Park): Michael, with the way some other NFC team drafted and moves made in the offseason, do you think it is safe to say that in order for the Lions to make the playoffs, they HAVE to win the division?
It’s a long way from that question, I think, but on paper right now the answer is probably yes. The NFC West -- and granted, those teams will beat on each other a bit, too -- is stacked. Put any of those four teams in another division and they probably finish no worse than second. As mentioned in the chat Tuesday, I love what St. Louis did with its draft. If Atlanta and the New York Giants also rebound, those teams should be in the playoff conversation as well with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Then there’s the North, with Chicago, Green Bay and Detroit. So a lot of things can happen.
Kevin (Troy, MI): Michael, in the Lions history, the QB has often times been on the hot seat and at fault for many of the team’s woes. Do you think that an unsuccessful season for (Matthew) Stafford could mean his time in Detroit is nearing an end? Even with all the insane upgrades at RB, WR and TE in the past year or so?
Matthew Stafford is not going away all that fast. Despite his accuracy issues and some bad decision-making, he is not a bad quarterback. He’s just not. He has a strong arm, is very intelligent and has shown the ability to win games for a team. Does he need to improve? There is little doubt about that. But I’d put him in the top half of the quarterbacks in the league and he’s still pretty young. Put it this way: The only quarterbacks from the past four years coming out of college I’d rather have than Stafford are Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and maybe Colin Kaepernick. Stafford is not elite and has to improve to get there, but he has the tools for it. If he can’t improve, though, everybody might be gone in three years.
Gary (Apopka): If Calvin Johnson is Megatron, should we give Decepticon nicknames to (Golden) Tate and (Eric) Ebron now?
No. The Calvin Johnson nickname came organically -- and that’s how all nicknames should come. Don’t force it. Just let it happen.
Jason (Grand Rapids): The Lions have used recent drafts to add CBs (Bentley, Greenwood, Green in '12 and Slay in '13) including 2nd and 3rd round (Slay and Bentley). What is your opinion of the younger CBs and their ability to "step up" which could improve the pass defense?
Slay should be fine. He showed flashes of being a good cornerback, especially really early in the season (preseason) and really late in the year when he ended up being a starter again. Bentley has been decent in the nickel and that might be where he is best suited, although he’ll get pressure from Don Carey and Rashean Mathis there this fall. Yes, the Lions need two of the younger corners -- and include Slay in this conversation -- to improve if Detroit wants to make the playoffs this season. If they can’t cover, they can’t win.
And now, on to searching for news on the Lions from around the Interwebs:
Cornerback Chris Houston is doing well following toe surgery, reports Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press.
Safety Glover Quin hosted a football camp in Mississippi, writes Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News.
The Lions, once again, had a lot of contact with the players they drafted in pre-draft evaluations, writes Justin Rogers of MLive.