Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Detroit Lions 2014 regular season schedule

2014 Detroit Lions schedule
(All games at 1 p.m., unless noted.)
Sept. 8 — vs. N.Y. Giants on Monday Night Football, 7:10 p.m.
Sept. 14 — at Carolina
Sept. 21 — vs. Green Bay
Sept. 28 — at N.Y. Jets
Oct. 5 — vs. Buffalo
Oct. 12 — at Minnesota
Oct. 19 — vs. New Orleans
Oct. 26 — at Falcons (London’s Wembley Stadium), 9:30 a.m.
Nov. 2  — Bye week
Nov. 9 — vs. Miami
Nov.  16 — at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.
Nov. 23 — at New England
Nov. 27 — vs. Chicago (Thanksgiving)
Dec. 7 — vs. Tampa Bay
Dec. 14 — vs. Minnesota
Dec. 21 — at Chicago
Dec. 28 — at Green Bay

Detroit Lions minicamp: Ryan Broyles returns to work; Mikel Leshoure absent

ALLEN PARK — Wide receiver Ryan Broyles, who did not practice on Tuesday, was in action today (Wednesday) in day two of the Lions’ voluntary minicamp.

Broyles is coming off surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ in late October.

If he is ready to go for training camp and the season, it could be a big boost to the offense. He has played in just 16 games in his first two seasons. In 2013 he had eight catches for 85 yards in six games.

Running back Mikel Leshoure, who was present on Tuesday, was absent on Wednesday in the 10-minute portion of practice open to the media.

Still no sign of Ndamukong Suh or Chris Houston who is injured.

Eleven of the dozen who were present but not working on Tuesday remained outincluding Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell, Brandon Pettigrew, Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

For Lions, ESPN's Mel Kiper likes Pryor over Clinton-Dix, Dennard over Gilbert

ALLEN PARK — Mel Kiper is still moving players around on his draft board just two weeks before the NFL draft.

In a conference call today (Wednesday) Kiper, the ESPN NFL draft analyst, said he rates Calvin Pryor (Louisville) as the best safety in the draft by a slim margin over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama).

The Lions could be interested in drafting a safety if they keep their 10th overall pick. 
“Clinton-Dix has range, he can cover, he’s a pretty good tackler ...,’’ Kiper said.

“You look at Pryor, Pryor is just lights out, Pryor competes, has coverage ability ... His 40 time doesn’t reflect how good he is.’’

Several mock drafts have the Lions taking Clinton-Dix at No. 10. Kiper said it would be a reach to draft Clinton-Dix at that spot, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen.

Cornerback would also be a possibility for the Lions in the first round.

Kiper also said he sees Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard (in photo) as the top cornerback over Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State).

“Darqueze Dennard is an in-your-face, tough aggressive corner,’’ Kiper said. 

Other Kiper comments:
— He says it’s possibility Lions could trade up to No. 2 to draft wide receiver Sammy Watkins but it would be costly — St. Louis Rams would have to give up a shot at the top seven or eight players in the draft. Kiper loves Watkins, says he could be as good as A.J. Green when he was drafted.
— If the Lions draft a kicker in later rounds, Kiper likes Anthony Fera (Texas), Zach Hocker (Arkansas) or Chris Boswell (Rice) in that order.
— Linebacker Anthony Barr has visited the Lions but Kiper projects him to be drafted in 20s rather than top 15.
— Not out of the question for Michigan’s Taylor Lewan to be drafted No. 2. Doesn’t think he’ll go past No. 6.
— Without question, Kiper thinks Jadeveon Clowney is the No. 1 pick whether it’s the Texans or a team that trades up.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Discuss Detroit Lions during chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday

Join me at 3 p.m. Thursday for a live chat discussing the Detroit Lions. The team will wrap up three days of minicamp on Thursday. The NFL draft is just two weeks away. Plenty to discuss.


Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh, Chris Houston no-shows at minicamp; a dozen don't practice

ALLEN PARK — Ndamukong Suh was one of three Detroit Lions not present at the first minicamp held by new coach Jim Caldwell on Tuesday.

Also missing from the voluntary minicamp were cornerback Chris Houston and running back Carlin Isles.

A dozen players were present, but not practicing including Calvin Johnson, Ryan Broyles, Glover Quin, Joique Bell, Brandon Pettigrew, Jonte Green, Ezekiel Ansah, Rob Sims, Jason Jones, Ashlee Palmer, Jed Collins and Vaughn Martin.

Caldwell will speak to the media following practice.

The minicamp continues on Wednesday and Thursday. Any NFL team with a new head coach is allowed this type of extra minicamp.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Report: Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh to skip minicamp

When the Detroit Lions begin their three-day voluntary minicamp on Tuesday, they will be minus Ndamukong Suh, according to the Associated Press.

Suh did not attend the first two weeks of conditioning workouts which were also voluntary.

A source told the Associated Press that Suh won’t participate in minicamp this week, but will attend the voluntary workouts in May and the mandatory minicamp in June.

In the past two weeks coach Jim Caldwell has made it clear he would like Suh to be in attendance at the voluntary sessions. Not only has the team worked on strength and conditioning, they have done classroom work with the new coaching staff to get familiar with the new schemes.

The Lions and Suh’s agent are working on a contract extension.

The Lions have been clear they expect it to get done. Suh's 2014 salary counts $20 million against the salary cap. When Matthew Stafford signed an extension in 2013, it didn’t happen until early July. Stafford, though, did not miss any voluntary workout sessions.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


ESPN's Mel Kiper has Detroit Lions drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in Mock 4.0

In Mel Kiper’s latest — Mock 4.0 — which was released today (Thursday), the ESPN draft guru has the Lions drafting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round at No. 10.

In the second round he has Detroit selecting cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste out of Nebraska.

This changes from Mock 3.0 where he had the Lions taking wide receiver Mike Evans at No. 10. This time he has Evans going at No. 7 to Tampa Bay. 

In this recent mock, he has Jadeveon Clowney going first, offensive tackle Greg Robinson going second and wide receiver Sammy Watkins going to the Jaguars at No. 3. Both Clowney and Watkins have made pre-draft visits with the Lions.

The biggest drop in this mock, is Kiper has quarterback Teddy Bridgewater dropping from the fifth overall pick to 33rd (the first pick in the second round).

ESPN's Todd McShay also had Clinton-Dix going to the Lions in his mock draft 4.0.

The NFL draft starts three weeks from tonight — May 8 at 8 p.m. 

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Detroit Lions host Jadeveon Clowney, a bit of a surprise

So what are the Detroit Lions up to?

Today (Wednesday) the team hosted defensive end Jadeveon Clowney who is expected to be either top pick or second pick in the NFL draft.

Each NFL team is allowed just 30 pre-draft visits and now they’ve used one on Clowney. Wonder what he thinks about snow in mid-April?

The Lions want to win now and adding Clowney to the defensive line along with Ndamukong Suh, would be interesting to watch unless you were the opposing offense.

Clowney played at South Carolina with Lions defensive end Devin Taylor who improved game to game last season.

The Lions have the 10th overall pick in the draft which is May 8-10.

The team also hasn’t hidden its admiration for wide receiver Sammy Watkins who is expected to go at least top five. He visited and Lions coaches and staff were present at his pro day.

To draft either Clowney or Watkins the Lions would have to move up several spots. 

Of course the Lions are close-mouthed about their intentions. At a panel discussion at Ford Field on Monday night for season ticket holders, the master of ceremonies mentioned rumors of a Clowney visit. Not a word was spoken except for “I plead the fifth.”

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Transcript of live chat discussing the Lions, draft possibilities and more

If you missed Thursday's live chat on the Lions, check out the transcript here. Tons of discussion on draft possibilities and also other interesting topics like whether Calvin Johnson is overpaid. Hmmm. Join me at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 24, for my next chat, Lions have a three-day minicamp next week so we'll have a chance to get our eyes on the players working with the new coaching staff.

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford in elite class with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was one of the three highest paid players on American sports teams in 2013, according to an ESPN survey of worldwide sports salaries.

Stafford, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were three of only seven professional athletes in the world who made at least $31 million last year. This is based strictly on salary, not endorsement money.

Rodgers ($40 million) was ranked fourth while Stafford ($31.5 million) was sixth and Brady ($31 million was seventh.

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson ($25 million) was tied for 16th with Peyton Manning and MLB’s Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions coordinator: Sky's the limit for punter Sam Martin

While the Lions are looking for a kicker, they found their punter in the fifth round of the draft last year when they selected Sam Martin from football powerhouse Appalachian State.

“He rewrote all the records for punting, he owns all the single season records and is second all-time rookie punter in the history of the National Football League,’’ Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego said on Monday night at a town hall meeting for season ticket holders.

“I think he’s pretty good and I think with Sam the sky’s the limit,’’ Bonamego said. “He’s only starting to scratch the surface.’’

Bonamego pointed out that Martin performed “very well’’ in three areas — punting, holding for field goals and kickoffs.

It wasn’t a perfect season, Martin had a few shanks and miscues, but it was still solid for a rookie.

“He’s a young man that works very, very hard,’’ Bonamego said. “I would expect for him this year to improve in some of the situational (areas), I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near what he’s capable of.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions will test 2 young kickers, may look to draft

When it comes to special teams, the Lions have one key need.

“The No. 1 thing we need to do is find a kicker,’’ Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego said at a town hall meeting for season ticket holders on Monday night.

“We have two guys on the roster right now who both have some experience,’’ Bonamego said.

John Potter, 24, and Giorgio Tavecchio (in photo), 23, are both signed to reserve/futures contracts.

“John (Western Michigan) was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, was in their training camp, he’s got regular season experience. He’s going to compete with Giorgio Tavecchio who’s also in his third training camp. Giorgio’s from Cal, he was in camp with the Green Bay Packers last year and really gave Mason Crosby a run for his money,’’ Bonamego said.

The Lions minicamp April 22-24 will be key for the kickers to show what they can do.

“We’ll evaluate those guys in this upcoming period, and we’ll compare to the guys who are coming up in the draft,’’ Bonamego said. “We’ll find one.’’

David Akers was a disappointment last year when he replaced Jason Hanson.

Finding a young kicker who could be around for years to come would be the ideal situation for the Lions who drafted Hanson in the second round in 1992 and kept him around for 21 seasons.

Last year the Lions drafted punter Sam Martin in the fifth round. He had a solid rookie season and they expect him to improve.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)

Detroit Lions seek closers in free agency, the NFL drat

Closers. The Lions have been looking for guys who can finish out a game during free agency. That will be another focus during the draft.

It’s not a shock considering in 2013 they let so many wins slip away.

Sheldon White, the Lions vice president of pro personnel, explained that when the Lions play, he and team president Tom Lewand make their way to the sidelines late in games. It gives them a good perspective.

“We’re going to be there right with Jim (Caldwell) when we finish up each game. We’ll see the positives and negatives. With that we also saw six games out of seven where we did not finish,’’ White said Monday night at a town hall for season ticket holders.

“We’re going to be looking for closers this year, we look for them in free agency guys who have been there, guys like our coaching staff that have been there. Guys who will not quit ... that’s what we’re looking for and that’s what we’ve done so far. We still have a lot of work to do,’’ he added.

They have signed two free agents who own Super Bowl rings — wide receiver Golden Tate and safety James Ihedigbo. Caldwell, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi have won Super Bowls. 

You win a Super Bowl, you know what it takes to finish.

Through free agency, the Lions have put themselves in a position where there is not one huge screaming need when it comes to the draft.

Obviously that’s a good thing.

“It’s not just simply a talent factor, obviously that makes a huge difference, but it’s also a character factor, it’s also a commitment factor, it’s also being able to gel with your teammates and create chemistry you need,’’ Caldwell said.

Naturally White would not share the players the Lions are most interested in with their eight picks, starting at No. 10 overall.

But he narrowed it down this way.

He wants players with “high integrity, high motor and a guy who finishes well.’’

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)


Report: Detroit Lions re-sign CB Rashean Mathis

Veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis has re-signed with the Detroit Lions according to a report from Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.

Mathis, who was signed as a veteran backup last August, started 13 games for the Lions in 2013.

The 33-year-old corner had 47 tackles and 15 pass defenses in 15 games.

He was a valuable asset as a veteran leader for the young cornerback group.

Chris Houston and Darius Slay are expected to start this season, but don’t count out Mathis. The Lions also signed free agent corner Cassius Vaughn who was with the Indianapolis Colts the last two seasons.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here. It’s also available at bookstores.)