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.

5/21/2015

Detroit Lions announce TV partnership with FOX2, FSD

A new broadcast partnership between the Detroit Lions with FOX2 Detroit and FOX Sports Detroit was announced today (Thursday).

Preseason games — including pre- and post-game shows — will air on FOX2 and throughout Michigan via the Lions’ network affiliates.

Also, the team’s one-hour pregame show “Lions GameDay LIVE” will air on FOX2 Sundays at 11 a.m.; the “Lions Live” postgame show will be simulcast on FSD and Detroitlions.com immediately following each game; and FOX2 will air “Sportsworks: Lions Game Night “on Sundays at 11 p.m.

“Partnering with FOX2 and Fox Sports Detroit will expand our presence on the local station that broadcasts many of our regular season games along with the most comprehensive sports network in Michigan,” said Lions president Tom Lewand. “Lions fans will a have greater opportunity to view our TV programming than ever before.

During the season, the weekly Monday press conference with coach Jim Caldwell will also air on FSD

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for FOX2 to partner with the Detroit Lions, one of the strongest sports brands in our market. This deal not only enhances our programming lineup but furthers our commitment to our viewers,” said Mike Renda, vice president and general manager of WJBK FOX 2.

It's a multi-year deal, but the specifics were not released.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Five Detroit Lions veterans who need to impress

The third phase of the Detroit Lions offseason starts next week with the first three sessions of organized team activities.

While the players have been working out at the Lions facility for five weeks, they can step up the process during OTAs when they’re allowed to have seven-on-seven or nine-on-nine drills for the first time, although still no live contact is allowed.

They’ll have 10 days of OTAs over the next three weeks leading up to the mandatory three-day minicamp in mid-June.

Here are five veterans who need to impress in OTAs, minicamp and training camp:

  1. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles didn’t see much action in the 2014 season with the new Jim Caldwell regime. The coaching staff didn’t seem to give him much of a chance despite good showings late in preseason games. A battle for jobs is shaping up at wide receiver. Broyles needs to prove he still has his explosion and speed following three major surgeries (two ACLs, one Achilles). This is his first Lions’ offseason where he is not coming off surgery.

  2. LInebacker/pass rusher Kyle Van Noy was injured in the preseason and missed the first eight games of his rookie season in 2014. By the time he was well enough to play the defense was rolling and he wasn’t able to prove he deserved more playing time on defense. As a second-round pick much was expected. Van Noy needs to step up. It’s good he at least got a few snaps on defense (more on special teams), but now he has to show he can be a vital part of the defense.

  3. Tight end Eric Ebron seemed lost in the Lions’ offense especially early last season. Maybe too much was expected of the first-round pick as a rookie. Matthew Stafford has plenty of weapons on offense Ebron needs to prove he is reliable, knows the offense and can be a go-to guy.

  4. Cornerback Bill Bentley was injured in the opener in 2014 and missed the rest of the season. He had won the nickel role in training camp. Coming off ACL surgery, he will have to battle again. Now he’s got more competition. Nevin Lawson, who filled in after Bentley was injured for one game before he was knocked out for season with serious foot injury will be in the battle. So will Josh Wilson, a 30-year-old free agent, and rookie Quandre Diggs, a sixth-round pick out of Texas.

  5. Wide receiver TJ Jones didn’t get a speck of playing time as a rookie due to a nerve injury as a result of offseason shoulder surgery. After Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, there will be plenty of wide receiver candidates for not-so-many roster spots. Jones, a sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2014, will need to show he belongs. Corey Fuller is close to a lock to make the 53-man roster. Last week the Lions signed veteran Lance Moore who knows the offense from his time with the Saints. Other wide receivers on the current roster include:  Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross, veteran Greg Salas, Andrew Peacock (practice squad in 2014); and three undrafted rookies — Jared Haggins, Vernon Johnson and Erik Lora.


(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)


Bobby, Mo and Joe joined Detroit Lions chat - check it out

Had some interesting Detroit Lions questions Thursday from guys with familiar sounding names — Bobby, Moeller, Darryl and Hilger. It was all in fun. Don't believe me? Check out the transcript here.

Join me for the next chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 28.
 — Paula Pasche




5/19/2015

Detroit Lions Matt Prater should be fine with NFL extra point rule change

While Deflategate continues to dominate sports headlines, the NFL owners voted Tuesday to change an important part of the game.

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, sent this tweet early Tuesday evening: “The extra point rule for 2015 just changed. Snap for kick from the 15-yard line, 2-pt try stays at 2-yard line and defense can return.’’

"The overall goal is to make the play more challenging, and to make it a more skilled play than what it was,'' Blandino said.

Basically the coaches will have to decide between a 33-yard PAT or a 2-point conversion.

NFL teams went 162-171 (94.7 percent) on field goals between 30-35 yards in 2014, according to ESPN NFL reporter Field Yates.

Lions’ kicker Matt Prater was four-of-five on field goals in the 30- to 39-yard range in 2014. He had a 37-yard attempt blocked in Chicago on Dec. 21.

According to the NFL Network, in 2014 extra point kicks were 99.5 percent accurate. In preseason experiment for two weeks with snap from the 15-yard line the accuracy was 94.3 percent.

What do you think? 


(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

5/14/2015

Detroit Lions sign DE Corey Wootton

The Lions added depth along the defensive line with the signing of Corey Wootton on Thursday. The one-year deal brings the Lions roster to the maximum of 90.

Wootton, a fourth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2010 out of Northwestern, is joining his third NFC North team. The defensive end played with the Bears from 2010 to 2013 and spent 2014 with the Vikings.

Wootton, 27, played in 15 games last season and had 16 tackles and one sack. In 32 games with the Bears in 2012 and 2013 he had 13 sacks, three forced fumbles and 61 tackles.

Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones are expected to start at end.

Wootton is expected to battle for a backup spot with Devin Taylor, Larry Webster and Darryl Tapp. Phillip Hunt and Kerry Hyder, who both signed as free agents, could be in the mix too. Hunt was with the Colts in training camp in 2014 while Hyder was on the 2014 Jets practice squad.

Wootton is versatile like Jones, so he can also play on the inside.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

5/13/2015

Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford welcomes rookies

Rookies Laken Tomlinson (left) and Corey Robinson
 at the Taste of the Lions on Tuesday at Ford Field.
DETROIT — It’s a good week for the Detroit Lions rookies who get their first chance to meet and work with the veterans.

Matthew Stafford at the Taste of the Lions at Ford Field.
“It’s been great. They bring a bit of excitement into the building,’’ Matthew Stafford said at the Taste of the Lions on Tuesday. “You have new teammates, young guys who are here to prove themselves. We have some great guys, they are quiet which is great, ready to come in and learn. Each position group guys help their guys along. It’s a fun time of year.’’

The Ford Field event was the first time we’ve gotten reaction from Stafford on the draft.

It’s not a stretch to say the guy who was sacked 45 times last year is pleased especially with first-round pick Laken Tomlinson.

“I was happy. Any time we have players that can help us win games I’m all for it. Obviously we were a little thin at the (guard) position, to add a guy who’s got great character, played great the last two years at Duke. I was fired up,’’ Stafford said.

It wasn’t just the addition of Tomlinson at the draft that put a smile on Stafford’s face.

“Getting Manny (Ramirez) in that trade too was great to add depth,’’ Stafford said. “We’ve upgraded that from the week before the draft to the week after the draft it’s like night and day. We have so many more bodies and guys who are capable of playing well.’’

Along with Tomlinson the Lions drafted tackle Corey Robinson in the seventh round. Plus the run game got a boost in the draft with the addition of running back Ameer Abdullah and fullback Mike Burton.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Check out transcript from Detroit Lions' chat

Coach Jim Caldwell at Taste of the Lions on Tuesday night.
If you missed Thursday's weekly chat on the Detroit Lions, check out the transcript here.

Plenty of questions remain with training camp more than two months away. The rookie minicamp is complete and this week the young guys have joined the veterans for workouts.

We'll chat again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 21. Bring your questions or just read along. It's always fun — Paula Pasche




5/12/2015

Detroit Lions sign veteran WR Lance Moore

With rookie minicamp behind them, the Detroit Lions have signed 31-year-old wide receiver Lance Moore.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi knows Moore from the years they spent with the New Orleans Saints including the Super Bowl championship team from the 2009 season.

Moore spent nine seasons (2005-2013) in New Orleans. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 2014 season where he played in 14 games with 14 catches for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

 For his career he has 360 receptions for 4,479 yards and 40 touchdowns. He originally was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Toledo by the Cleveland Browns.

On Tuesday, the Lions also signed rookie running back Desmond Martin (Wayne State) who was a tryout at the minicamp over the weekend.

The Lions have a history of finding undrafted players and give them a good chance at making the 53-man roster.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

5/08/2015

Quick impressions from Detroit Lions rookie minicamp

Lions rookie running backs at camp on Friday.
ALLEN PARK — While it’s too early to make any kind of judgments, here are a few quick impressions from the first day of Detroit Lions rookie minicamp on Friday. (It was open to the media for about 20 minutes.)

  1. First-round pick guard Laken Tomlinson finished every drill, kept going and going almost running into this reporter. (See video). Looks solid, but not that much bigger than the other offensive linemen.

  2. It’s really odd seeing someone new wearing No. 90. Defensive tackle Gabe Wright wore 90 in college at Auburn and asked to wear it with the Lions. Looked solid in line drills.

  3. Running back Ameer Abdullah (second-round pick from Nebraska) ran the ladder drills smoothly like he’s done it a million times before. (See video)

  4. Undrafted running back Zach Zenner (South Dakota State) ran drills next to fullback Mike Barton and they looked about the same size. Zenner listed at 5-11 and 223 while Barton is 6-0, 230 pounds.

  5. Coaches had players repeat some of the drills — that’s why they have a rookie minicamp. Some mistakes or unfamiliarity wouldn’t be tolerated a few weeks from now when they're practicing with the veterans.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

Detroit Lions sign 5 draft picks, a dozen undrafted free agents

This weekend is the first chance the Lions coaches have to work with their seven draft picks and free agents during the three-day rookie minicamp. The action starts today (Friday).

Five of the seven Detroit Lions draft picks have been signed. The Lions announced they have reached deals with cornerback Alex Carter, defensive tackle Gabe Wright, fullback Mike Burton, cornerback Quandre Diggs and offensive tackle Corey Robinson.

That leaves just first-round pick Laken Tomlinson and second-round pick Ameer Abdullah left to be signed. They can participate in rookie camp without signed contracts.

Zach Zenner is among a dozen undrafted free agents. The South Dakota State running back ran for more than 2,000 yard in each of the last three seasons.

Other undrafted free agents signed include: Memphis guard Al Bond, Duke quarterback Anthony Boone, Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza, Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson, Texas A&M Commerce wide receiver Vernon Johnson, North Carolina A&T wide receiver Desmond Lawrence, Kent State tight end Casey Pierce, Rutgers linebacker Kevin Snyder, Utah State safety Brian Suite, Alfred State running back Rasheed Williams and Central Florida guard Torrian Wilson.

(Follow @PaulaPasche on Twitter. Pre-order her new book “Game of My Life Detroit Lions” which will be be published in October on Amazon.com. Also order her book,  “100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die’’ here.)

5/06/2015

Join live chat on Detroit Lions at 3 p.m. on Thursday

Join me for a live chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday discussing the Detroit Lions.

 Coming off draft weekend, there are still plenty of questions and issues as the team prepares for rookie minicamp this weekend.

That's first-round pick Laken Tomlinson as he was introduced to Detroit media on Friday.

Bring your questions and comments. It's always a good time. — Paula Pasche