Lions Mailbag: Where is receiver help?

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions have a bunch of receivers other than Calvin Johnson. But how are they used and why are some of them not used much at all? Those are among the questions in this week's Lions Mailbag, filled with your questions. Remember, the Mailbag is only as good as the questions you ask, so ask away about anything with the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, by email at michael.rothstein@espn.com or come on over and have a conversation at my professional Facebook page, where I take questions throughout the week and also for the Bag. Also, follow there for story links, too. Now, on to your questions.

@mikerothstein: It's a little too early to be going down that road, because if the Lions do struggle the rest of the way, you can't really call it a collapse since it was only through four games when they were 3-1. Their schedule sets up for second-half struggles, though, with trips to New England, Arizona, Chicago and Green Bay. I wouldn't call this one a classic collapse if it happens -- and I think that phrase should be withheld until at least the midway point of the season.

@mikerothstein: Interesting question and something I've wondered, although you could say the same about Ryan Broyles at this point. The issue for Jeremy Ross is this: He was essentially used in a Golden Tate-esque role a season ago on reverses and end arounds and screens because of his speed. The Lions have Tate for that now and he's a better option to run those things than Ross is. That said, I expect a bigger role for Ross this week and as the season progresses. He's still growing as a receiver and has a chance to make an impact Sunday against Minnesota.

@mikerothstein: Ryan Broyles is probably asking the same questions at this point. Even when Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson were out against the Bills, Broyles barely saw the field. When I talked with him this week about whether he was more involved in the game plan this week, he said the same as last week. I anticipate he'll play more Sunday -- but for whatever reason Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi don't seem to trust him as much as some of the other guys they have. If it were me, I'd play Broyles more considering his preseason and his hands, but I'm not the coaching staff.

@mikerothstein: It's more of a combination of Nos. 1 and 2 than No. 3 there. Stafford has held the ball longer and part of that has to do with the depth of the routes run, not necessarily the receivers getting separation because Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and even Corey Fuller can get separation. The offensive line's blocking issues have been magnified the past couple of weeks because of strong pass rushes and struggles picking up stunts from the interior line against the Bills. If Detroit can't fix the pass protection issues this Sunday against a middle-of-the-road Minnesota pass rush, then it might be time to consider changes to something within the scheme or personnel of the offense.

@mikerothstein: You can expect a whole bunch of carries. With Reggie Bush hobbled at best and out at worst, Joique Bell should see a full workload against Minnesota. He'll probably be spelled by Theo Riddick and maybe George Winn, but Bell is going to be the Lions' main running back against the Vikings. That probably means somewhere in the realm of 15-to-18 carries for Bell, who didn't play last week due to a concussion. But he's back this week.

@mikerothstein: The Lions are not a franchise that dumps a coach after one season, never really have been. Jim Caldwell will get a chance with this roster and at this point, barring a complete collapse, Martin Mayhew probably is around as well. Doesn't feel -- at least at this moment -- that either seat is particularly hot.

Shawn from Facebook asks: With two kickers this year now both having multiple misses in a handful of games is it time to question the ability of the Lions staff to scout and evaluate special teams players? Good question and I'll answer it like this. Matt Prater is an accomplished kicker with a good history. If he struggles with the Lions, then everything is fair game to be called into question, from the snapping of Don Muhlbach to the holding of Sam Martin and the coaching of John Bonamego. Unlike Alex Henery, who was having kicking issues in Philadelphia before his release, and the rookie Nate Freese, who was inconsistent his entire time here, Prater has been known for his accuracy. So if there's an issue, then the questions can begin.