At this point last season, there were a lot of unknown questions about the Detroit Lions with a new coaching staff, new coordinators and what turned out to be a new philosophy around the franchise.
There are some other questions about philosophy this season, and we look at some of those during this week's Lions' mailbag. To ask a question for the mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a note on my Facebook page.
@mikerothstein: This is going to be one of the bigger questions, league-wide, throughout the 2015 season, and I think we'll start to see some evidence of this during preseason games as coaches tinker with things as much as players work to fine tune stuff. My gut would tell me that Jim Caldwell will go for two more than he has in the past. Last season, Caldwell went for two three times -- converting against the New York Giants and failing to convert against Green Bay and Atlanta. But with the shift in the rules, teams might be more willing to take the two-point chance, especially in situations where there is weather involved. I don't know how much it will influence things at Ford Field -- unless there's a momentum situation going on -- but on the road, in the snow or rain, I could see it playing a massive role. I also think it'll play a larger role in stadiums known for swirling winds that make it difficult on field-goal kickers. Those stadiums, particularly MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo and Gillette Stadium in New England, could see coaches with even trickier decisions in critical times. It'll be something to watch.
@mikerothstein: All indications are that the offense will open up a little bit more -- although the bigger issue last season came from the Lions not hitting on their downfield shots. I would anticipate Matthew Stafford having a bit more control at the line of scrimmage and during plays to freelance if he needs to. He's always had that capability, although it has led to poor decisions in past seasons. The Lions are clearly hoping the 2014 season -- where Caldwell and Joe Lombardi wanted Stafford to focus on limiting turnovers and have a higher completion percentage -- will remain intact even as the team takes a few more shots throughout games. A healthy Calvin Johnson will also be a key there. If Johnson is at or near healthy, that gives Stafford his true deep threat. I do believe Detroit will run more this season than last season as long as Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah are healthy, but this is still a team built to throw in a league that demands it to be successful. So expect Stafford to still have a lot of chances to make plays or make mistakes.
@mikerothstein: Sure, although there is still a long way between now and next April. No matter how the defensive tackles play this season, that will still be a need next year because of free agency and the age of Haloti Ngata. Wide receiver will be a need position because, at some point, the team is going to have to draft an eventual replacement for Calvin Johnson. Depending on Abdullah's actual skill set, running back could be a need again as Bell creeps toward age 30. Safety and linebacker are also spots of potential concern, depending on health and the contract situations of DeAndre Levy and James Ihedigbo. There are a lot of potential spots to look at and a lot of time to look at them.