The Detroit Lions are officially in their final break before training camp starts up at the end of July, but that doesn't mean questions about the team are going to stop.
With minicamp over, if anything, some small answers are starting to emerge about the 2014 roster. We touch on that and more in this week's Mailbag.
To ask a question for the Mailbag -- which will also take a summer hiatus at some point -- email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter.
— Don B. (@michdmdcts) June 13, 2014
@mikerothstein: As of now, I wouldn't expect any big surprises. Three positions are set barring injury -- Riley Reiff at left tackle, Dominic Raiola at center and Larry Warford at right guard. Left guard should still belong to Rob Sims as long as he is able to play, although the reps Rodney Austin received in the spring could help him push to make it a competition early in camp. Right tackle is the only place really up for grabs. LaAdrian Waddle and Corey Hilliard both started games last season and split first team reps there in the spring. My feeling is Waddle ends up winning the job, but this battle will end up going down to the last preseason game. Don't expect many surprises as far as who makes the 53-man roster, either.
— Ricky Hammoud (@RickyH174) June 11, 2014
— Mitch (@millenium_mitch) June 10, 2014
@mikerothstein: Are there receivers available? Sure there are. The question is all about dollars and sense for the Lions here. They need to either restructure contracts or re-sign Ndamukong Suh to open enough money for the Eric Ebron rookie deal. They'll also need to leave some money as a cushion due to injuries or perhaps a defensive back. Considering Ebron can play on the outside as a receiver, don't know if the need is truly there. Detroit has Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Ebron and even Jeremy Ross who can play on the outside. The Lions will likely have Kris Durham, Kevin Ogletree, Naaman Roosevelt and Corey Fuller to play on the outside, too. Can they find someone on the open market better than one of those guys? Maybe, but probably not at a price that would be logical. For your question, Danario Alexander would probably be the most attractive option, but he is a major, major injury risk.
Joe from Parts Unknown asks The Lions surely have a lot of talent but the NFC is loaded and it seems they don't have a great shot to make the playoffs this year. If they were in another division or even in the AFC, do you think they'd have a better chance to win a division or make the playoffs? Thanks!
Interesting question. Let's start with the NFC. The Lions would not do well in the NFC West with San Francisco, Seattle and Arizona all lurking there (assuming they'd replace St. Louis). The NFC South could be manageable, but New Orleans is a step above the Lions. The NFC East would be a good landing spot. The Giants are beatable. Dallas, on paper, seems very ordinary. Washington has a new coach. Philadelphia would be the biggest challenger there, but the Lions could hang with the Eagles. In the NFL in general, the NFC East might be the best spot. The AFC East still has New England. The AFC South has Indianapolis and the AFC North has Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore. For this season, the AFC West has some guy named Peyton Manning and the Broncos, along with Kansas City and San Diego. So to sum up, the Lions' best shots would be the NFC East or AFC South.
Cannon from Decatur, Georgia, asks why won't Detroit take the time to reinforce their secondary? Last season they suffered tremendously in the back field.
They did reinforce their secondary -- kind of. They replace Louis Delmas with James Ihedigbo, who is clearly a safer, more reliable option. They did add Cassius Vaughn in free agency and while he isn't going to end up as a starter, he could provide decent depth if he makes the 53-man roster. Plus, they re-signed Rashean Mathis, who could end up starting again. I've been one of the biggest supporters of adding to the secondary, however, after watching OTAs and minicamp I'm much more impressed than I expected to be with Detroit's secondary. Whether that says more about the Lions' offense of their defense is up for debate. Depending what happens with Houston, it wouldn't stun me if Detroit did add another secondary piece at either corner or safety, but not yet.