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 — Rob Sims in best shape of his life

Rob Sims was one of the last Lions players to walk off the field at Wayne State on Wednesday night. The players signed autographs after their third training camp session which was held under the lights before nearly 9,000 fans.

Three camp sessions down for Sims who missed organized team activities in the spring while coming back from a knee injury.

“I’ve been fighting through some stuff didn’t want to talk about it last year,’’ Sims said on Tuesday. “Stress going on with my knees, I needed to take care of that. Offensive line, you just battle through it.’’

The left guard has not missed a game in four seasons in Detroit.

“That was my first offseason of actually not being on the field and not playing. That’s a time when I do a lot of experimenting with my game and my technique,’’ Sims said. “I didn’t have it so I was worried about how it was going to go, but I’ve been strong up to this point so I’ve got to continue to do it.''

Sims at age 30 is one of the veterans on the offense line along with 35-year-old center Dominic Raiola.

 “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m strong and excited to show everybody what I can do again. With an offensive lineman that’s all you can ask for, I’m pumped about it.’’

(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, Joique Bell practice at Wayne State

DETROIT — Joique Bell stopped for photos with fans as he approached Wayne State football stadium  Wednesday night an hour before the Detroit Lions practice.

“I’m grateful to be back, for me to play college ball here, be from Michigan, play for Wayne State and now I’m playing for the Detroit Lions and bringing the Detroit Lions back to Wayne State it’s a great feeling and this is a day I’ll never forget,’’ Bell said while being pelted with rain.

He said he had no intention to show off for the fans.

“I’m going to come out and do what I do every practice I’m going to bust my butt and get better,’’ Bell said.

He keeps in touch with his coach and the athletic director at Wayne State. Last season he was able to attend a home game that the Warriors pulled out for a win.
This is the first time the Lions practiced at Wayne State.

“It’ll be a great opportunity for our guys to perform and to mingle with the fans as well,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said. “Hopefully there will be a lot of fans who come who usually don’t have the opportunity to see our team play. So that’s part of it, coming out to the community giving our guys a chance to shake hands with a few folks.’’

Caldwell spoke to the fans prior to the practice along with running backs coach Curtis Modkins who introduced Bell to the fans.

“I promise you we're going to bring pride, dedication and commitment every single Sunday,’’ Bell told the fans.

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

Check out transcript of Detroit Lions chat

If you missed today's live chat discussing the Detroit Lions after the first three days of training camp, check out the transcript here. Join me for the next chat at noon on Thursday, Aug. 7.


Detroit Lions — Running back by committee?

ALLEN PARK — It’s a new day and a new offense for the Detroit Lions as they work out during the first week of training camp.

The rotation of players on the field in 7-on-7 and team drills is fast and furious, giving several players opportunities.

When it comes to running backs, expect a different look. Just not sure exactly what that will be yet.

“(The running back rotation) is yet to be determined,’’ quarterback Matthew Stafford said on Monday. “This league seems to be going running back by committee more and more.

“Who knows if that will be us, but it’s such a physical position. We have talented guys who have individual talents that can help our team in different ways. We plan on utilizing them as best we can,’’ Stafford added.

Obviously Reggie Bush and Joique Bell are 1A and 1B, in no particular order.

Theo Riddick shined in minicamp and offseason work. He could prove a good fit with this new offense which mirrors the New Orleans Saints. As a rookie, he was active in 14 games in 2013 and had nine carries for 25 yards.

Mikel Leshoure certainly had his share of work on Monday. Will that continue?

Leshoure was active for just three games in 2013 and had two carries for nine yards.

 Will he be the odd running back out?

“He came back in very good shape, he’s certainly running well at this stage,’’ coach Jim Caldwell said of Leshoure. “We like what we see. It’s early yet. If a guy can perform and play well, there’s always room for another good back. He’s a talented guy.”

(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 table talks with Ndamukong Suh until after season

ALLEN PARK — Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said today, just before the opening of training camp, that the team has tabled contract talks with Ndamukong Suh's agent until after the season.

Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew remain optimistic that a deal will get done.

Suh is under contract through 2014. The two sides have been negotiating since the spring on a new deal. Mayhew said it was the team's decision to table the talks.

"We've had a lot of conversations over the offseason,'' Lewand said. "Every one of the contract negotiations is different. In light of where we are and most importantly in light of getting ready for the season and keeping the focus where it should be, we've decided to table the discussions with Ndamukong on any further discussions until after the season.

"I think it's the right thing for us to do, its the right thing for the team, it's the right thing for everybody involved,'' Lewand said. "It allows us to keep the focus where it belongs.

"I remain tremendously confident and Jim (Caldwell) said it (Sunday) in his press conference we have a high degree of confidence that we can work out something that will be mutually satisfactory at the right time and the goal hasn't changed in the least but  the timinig is such we think the focus needs to be on the field starting today,'' Lewand said.

Mayhew echoes Lewand.

"We have the formula for getting a guy signed, we have a player who wants to be here, we have a team that wants to (sign) the player,'' Mayhew said. "Those are the two most important things.''

Mayhew said Suh has told him he wants to remain with the Lions.

"It's been a complicated process. At the (February) Combine I thought it would be done around the start of free agency, possibly. After the draft I thought probably by now and now I think probably next year,'' Mayhew said.

"When you're talking about good players it takes a long time to get them done frequently. They're more complicated contracts,'' Mayhew said.

(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 Jim Caldwell expects young cornerbacks to step up

ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions have plenty of cornerbacks with limited experience. It’s an issue as training camp starts and coach Jim Caldwell doesn’t tip-toe around it.

He’s got veteran Rashean Mathis, 33, who started 13 games for the Lions last season along with Cassius Vaughn, who is 26 and started four games for the Indianapolis Colts in 2013.

Most of the others are untested youngsters including Darius Slay who could be a starter along with Mathis.

“The young boy, Darius Slay, in his second year is taking big steps to become a big-time player in this league,’’ linebacker Stephen Tulloch said on Sunday.

Three corners — Bill Bentley, Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood — were drafted in 2012 and remain short on experience. The Lions also drafted Nevin Lawson in the fourth round.

“We’re young. We have a few guys who have been around the block a little bit, but we’re young,’’ Caldwell said. “But we also have some guys who have talent and ability which we’ve certainly been pleased with. Some of the young guys we were able to bring back last week (when rookies reported early).

“We’ve been looking at those guys closely they’re doing a good job. We have some young veterans who have not played an ordinate amount. We certainly anticipate they’re going to have to step up and play and play well,’’ Caldwell said. “We’re pleased with where we are right now. This is the real test. This is where we’re going to find out what we have.’’

Training camp, which starts on Monday, will offer Caldwell and the coaching staff a better understanding of what they have at the position.

“There are a number of spots — to be honest with you -- there’s a number of spots that we’re going to get a look at them in a totally different arena at this stage,’’ Caldwell said. “We’ll see them under the lights in preseason games, we’ll get an opportunity to see them with pads on. To me those are the things that really matter.’’

(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 — Jim Caldwell optimistic about deal for Ndamukong Suh

ALLEN PARK — Ndamukong Suh reported to training camp in impressive shape according to those who have seen him.

The Detroit Lions defensive tackle also reported without having a contract extension done, but coach Jim Caldwell said that will not be a distraction.

“No. 1, he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in,’’ Caldwell said on Sunday. “He’s got a great attitude. You guys will have a chance to talk to him at some point in time, he’ll speak for himself. I don’t think he’s going to let anything distract him. I’m not worried about it in that regard because Tom (Lewand) and obviously Martin (Mayhew) and ownership will get that taken care of.’’

Caldwell said he’s “absolutely” sure that Suh will reach a long-term agreement.

“I’m always optimistic,’’ Caldwell said. “I think you know me by now. Without question they’re working at it and something will be done at the appropriate time.’’

Center Dominic Raiola said the players won’t try to urge Suh into a new deal.

“I don’t think there’s much talking to him,’’ Raiola said. “Right now he’s under contract with the Detroit Lions and he’s coming to camp. He’s here, he’s a Detroit Lion and I’m excited for that. 

“The guy looks more like Adonis now. I think he cut out more body fat and put on more weight which is scary. He’s an exceptional player, one f the best d tackles we play against all year long,’’ Raiola added.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch echoed the comments. 

He doesn’t see the lack of a new contract as a distraction and he wants Suh playing well in front of him.

“As long as I’m here, I’d like to have him here,’’ Tulloch said on Sunday.

(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 not optimistic about deal with Ndamukong Suh

The Detroit Lions are not optimistic about signing Ndamukong Suh to a new contract, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

Suh’s contract which runs through the 2014 season has a salary cap hit of $22 million. Mortensen reported that if Suh doesn’t get signed his franchise tender would be $26.7 million in 2015 or he would become an unrestricted free agent entering his sixth NFL season.

Suh fired his former agent in January and signed new agent Jimmy Sexton in March. Both sides have said they want to reach an agreement, but neither side has made a public announcement in months.

It’s likely Suh, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, wants to be the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL. A year ago Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins signed a six-year deal worth $66.423 million.

While there’s no question Suh has found success on the field, he drew attention to himself this spring when he didn’t show up for the voluntary offseason workout programs from the get-go.

He's a man with a mind of his own. Nothing should be surprising to Lions' management or the fans.

The Lions veterans report for training camp on Sunday and hold their first practice on Monday.

(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 Golden Tate, Ziggy Ansah place on PUP

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate and defensive end Ziggy Ansah have been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list prior to training camp, according to Ian Rapoport, insider for the NFL Network.

This is basically a precautionary move. 
It does not mean the two will sit out the first six games of the season. To be eligible for the PUP list once the season starts, which would make players unavailable through the first six weeks, players must have been on PUP list prior to training camp.

Ansah underwent shoulder surgery in February and should be close to a return.

Tate has been dealingwith shoulder issues but thought he would be ready for the start of camp.

The Lions veterans report on Sunday and open camp on Monday.

Nine sessions of camp will be open to the public starting on Wednesday, July 30, at Wayne State Stadium.

(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 open up 2 more training camp practices

The Lions have opened up two more training camp practices  — July 30 and July 31 — to the general public in addition to the eight previously announced.

Both practices are free, but wristbands or tickets will be required for entry.

On July 30 the Lions will practice at Tom Adams Field at Wayne State Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at Ford Field and Wayne State box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday with a limit of four per person while supplies last.

For the July 31 practice at 2 p.m. at the Lions practice facility in Allen Park, fans must visit a southeast Michigan Ford dealer to pick up a wristband for entry.

Training camp opens on July 28 with the first two days open to season ticket holders.

Other practices open to the general public are Aug. 1 at 3:30 p.m., Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 4 at 8:30 a.m., Aug. 5 at 3:30 p.m., Aug. 6 at 7:30 p.m. (Ford Field), Aug. 7 at 2 p.m., Aug. 11 at 3:30 p.m. and Aug. 13 at 2 p.m. Unless noted, all practices are at Lions headquarters and practice facility, 222 Republic Drive, Allen Park. No wristbands required for those 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.)


Check out transcript of pre-training camp chat on Detroit Lions

If you missed Thursday's chat discussing the Detroit Lions, check out the transcript here. Good, insightful questions and hopefully satisfying answers. Training camp starts Monday. Next chat set for 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 31. The Lions will have three days of training camp under their belts at that time. Join us, it's always a good time.


Detroit Lions to honor William Clay Ford with uniform patch

William Clay Ford will be honored by the Detroit Lions this season with a uniform patch that features his initials.

Ford died on March 9 at age 88

He purchased the Lions in November 1963 and became the sole owner on Jan. 10, 1964. 

Ownership of the team has been passed on to his family with his wife Martha as the team’s majority owner. Bill Ford Jr., has remained as vice chairman.

The patch will be worn starting with the season open on Sept. 8 against the N.Y. Giants at Ford Field.

The Lions, under new coach Jim Caldwell, open training camp on July 28.

(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 — Five key players who have moved on

When training camp opens on July 28, five key players from last season will be missing.

Here are the five players who have moved on:

1. Cornerback Chris Houston was released by the Lions. It was all a little suspicious in the offseason when he couldn’t participate due to a toe injury and then surgery. He has not signed with another team. It’s uncertain which two cornerbacks will start. Darius Slay and Rasheen Mathis are the early favorites.

2. Safety Louis Delmas, who couldn’t find a way to stay on the field due to his bad knee, was released. He signed with the Miami Dolphins. Free agent James Ihedigbo was signed and is expected to start in place of Delmas.

3. Wide receiver Nate Burleson, who is 31, was also cut. Burleson broke his forearm last season in a strange pizza-related incident just after he was coming off a broken leg in 2012. He signed with the Cleveland Browns and will visit Ford Field in the preseason opener for both teams. Golden Tate was signed as a free agent to fill the void.

4. Defensive end Willie Young, who started 15 games in 2013, was an unrestricted free agent who signed with the Chicago Bears. Young stepped in last year after Jason Jones was lost for the season after tearing his patellar tendon in the third game.

5. Quarterback Shaun Hill was a free agent and signed with the St. Louis Rams. Hill was considered one of the top NFL backups. He’s been replaced by Dan Orlovski who is in his second stint with the Lions. He also played for Jim Caldwell at Indianapolis.

(Training camp opens July 28 with eight of the sessions open to the general public starting on Aug. 1.)

(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 — Top 5 position battles expected at training camp

While all the Detroit Lions' offseason work is important — especially this year with new defensive and offensive systems being installed — training camp is the most crucial time.

Here are five top position battles we’ll be watching:

1. Cornerback: Both starting spots are up for grabs with Chris Houston gone. The most likely candidates are Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis, Cassius Vaughn  and Bill Bentley. Mathis and Vaughn have the most experience, but that doesn’t mean everything. Slay had a good minicamp and Bentley saw plenty of action at nickel in 2013.

2. Right tackle: This is the same battle as in 2013. It was close all the way through a year ago when Corey Hilliard emerged as the starter over the undrafted LaAdrian Waddle. Then Hilliard was injured in the first game so the job was handed to Waddle. Martin Mayhew has said he’s comfortable with either one. Bring it on.

3. Kicker: While the Lions drafted Nate Freese in the seventh round, they also have Giorgio Tavecchio on the roster. Freese consistency at Boston College was amazing. Tavecchio was in camp with the Green Bay Packers last summer and almost won the job over Mason Crosby. The preseason games should determine the winner here.

4. Wide receiver after Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. The Lions usually keep five wide receivers, we’ll see if Caldwell does it that way. In the mix for the final three spots are Ryan Broyles, Jeremy Ross (who will be the returner), Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree. Much of this decision could be based on their special teams’ ability too.

5. Defensive end: Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones should start, but it’s not a given. Jones only played three games last season before he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He’s a versatile veteran who can move inside too.  Ansah improved each game — he’s the best the Lions have at defensive end. Still can’t forget about Devin Taylor who improved as the 2013 season wore on and veteran Darryl Tapp who was signed as a free agent.  Rookie Kyle Van Noy is expected to line up mostly at linebacker, but will be on the defensive end in some packages.

(Training camp opens July 28 with eight of the sessions open to the general public starting on Aug. 1.)

(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 — Three reasons team holds training camp at home

It’s been 13 years since the Lions have held training camp away from the Detroit area. 
For a few years, they camped out at Saginaw Valley State University which seemed to be a hit with the fans. Since then they have stuck close to home at Lions headquarters and practice facility in Allen Park.

Three reasons they will be in Allen Park for training camp starting on July 28:

1. That’s where coach Jim Caldwell wants to hold camp. When he was with the Indianapolis Colts, they held camp at nearby Anderson, Ind. (Not a hit with the local media.) But he said in June after Lions’ minicamp that he wants to keep it at the practice facility in Allen Park.

2. When teams hold camp away from home, they say it forces the guys to be together and think football 24 hours a day. Caldwell said there’s enough veterans on the team to help him keep everyone focused. During camp the players all stay at a nearby hotel.

3. It’s just easier and cheaper to keep it at the facility in Allen Park which has an outdoor field big enough to hold two football fields and an indoor field too.

(Training camp opens July 28 with eight of the sessions open to the general public starting on Aug. 1.)

(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 — Three reasons Ndamukong Suh is key to the defense

Ndamukong Suh seems to be a polarizing player — fans love him or not so much. He hasn’t embraced the city of Detroit like many of the Lions have, but  he excels on the field.

Here are three reasons the Detroit Lions defensive tackle is so important to the defense.

1. He’s one of the most powerful defense tackles in the game and requires attention from all on the other side of the ball. He demands respect on the field. With Suh double- or triple-teamed it opens up options for the rest of the defense. 

2. Suh is an Ironman of sorts. He stays healthy enough to play. In four seasons he’s missed only two games and that was due to a suspension from the NFL for stomping on Green Bay’s Evan Dietrich-Smith. That’s why when he skipped the voluntary OTAs and offseason workouts, everyone knew he would report in top shape. And he did.

3. He is the core of the defensive line and the defense as a whole. Don’t look at his sack numbers, look at his effectiveness. This is one reason the Lions have said they want to sign him to an extension. The two sides have been talking since spring, but when Suh appeared on NFL Total Access this week they did not ask him about the progress in the negotiations. 

(Lions training camp opens July 28. 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 announce open training camp days for fans

It's almost that time. The Detroit Lions have announced the training camp schedule for sessions that will be open to the public.

— Friday, Aug. 1, 3:30 p.m.
— Saturday, Aug. 2, 10:30 a.m.
— Monday, Aug. 4, 8:30 a.m.
— Tuesday, Aug. 5, 3:30 p.m.
— Wednesday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m. at Ford Field
— Thursday, Aug. 7, 2 p.m.
— Monday, Aug. 11, 3:30 p.m.
— Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2 p.m.

 Unless noted, sessions are at the Lions headquarters and practice facility at 222 Republic Drive, Allen Park. Gates open 30 minutes prior to each session.

Season ticket holders, suite holders and club seat members will have access on July 28 (the first day of camp) and July 29.

In case of inclement weather, the practices will be moved inside and fans won’t be allowed to watch. Visit for weather updates.

Admission is free with room available for about 1,500 on first-come, first-serve basis. 

(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 — Three cornerbacks who need good training camps

Martin Mayhew’s words have echoed for months. The Detroit Lions general manager said if a cornerback doesn’t make it in three years in the NFL, he’ll never make it. Mayhew, a former NFL cornerback, knows something about the position.

Here are three cornerbacks, who were all drafted in 2012, whose futures could be on the line in training camp:

1. Bill Bentley made a big step in 2013. He seemed to fit in comfortably at the nickel position. He needs to expand his repertoire and show he can also play at corner if needed. With Chris Houston gone, the cornerback ranks have thinned. It should be a good opportunity for him and ...

2. Jonte Green has played in 24 games the last two season with seven starts.  He’s made some big plays, but has been inconsistent. Green looked better in minicamp than he did in OTAs, so that’s something.

3. Chris Greenwood needs to stay healthy and on the field. He missed his rookie training camp and season after sports hernia surgery following OTAs. He finally got off the practice squad and onto the field for the final three games of 2013. He missed a few days in the offseason with injuries, but was working in minicamp. They drafted him for his athletic ability. Now he needs to take the next step.

(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 — Millions of reasons Nick Fairley needs good season

Nick Fairley, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle, dropped 30 pounds and underwent a procedure to help his sleep apnea prior to the minicamp in June. He also seems to have adopted a new attitude.

Here are several million reasons why Fairley needs a good season:

We’re talking dollars, millions of them. The Lions have not picked up the fifth-year option on Fairley’s contract. They just didn’t see enough from a first-round pick to be worth the money.

So Fairley has something to prove to the Lions and perhaps other NFL teams. The defensive tackle has to show he can play consistently. He always shows flashes of brilliance, but has not been consistent.

Now’s the time for Fairley to step up. If the Lions like what they see, they’ll negotiate a deal for 2015. If not, he’ll be a free agent. His resume will be the film from 2014.

(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 — Three reason Dominic Raiola key to offense

Dominic Raiola may be 35 but the Detroit Lions center plays like he’s much younger. He made have had his best season in 2013 which earned him a two-year contract.

Here are three reasons Raiola is key to the offense.

1. He can snap the ball. Sounds easy? Not really. Early in OTAs, Matthew Stafford had a less experienced guy at center and had several mis-snaps in a row. Raiola and Stafford have a good relationship with mutual respect and it shows on the field.

2. Raiola embraced Travis Swanson, the offensive lineman drafted in May who can play guard or center. He’ll teach him all he can, but don’t expect Swanson to be a serious contender for the starting center spot this year.

3. Raiola is one of the best leaders on offense and possibly on the team. He’s been to the depths, he’s fighting so hard to reap the rewards of winning. While several of the players scattered to vacation spots and hometowns after the last day of minicamp, Raiola hosted an offensive line party at his house that night. The young guys can count on his help and they can learn about being a professional just from watching him go about his business.

(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 — Three questions about Ryan Broyles

Ryan Broyles has never been able to make the contributions the Detroit Lions envisioned when they drafted the wide receiver thanks to two season-ending injuries.

Here are three questions about Broyles prior to the start of training camp:

1. Is he back to his old self? Broyles tore his Achille’s tendon last November and had it surgically repaired. He was under no physical restrictions at minicamp. He looked fine, but said he’s still working on his speed.

2. Will he fit in the new offense? He should slide right in as a slot receiver if he’s up to speed.

3. Can he stay healthy? This guy has had no luck at all. He was coming off ACL surgery from college, then in first season tore his other ACL, then the Achille’s. Amazingly he still keeps a smile on his face. Teammates say he’s always in the workout room and he looks like he’s in great shape. He deserves a break.

(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 — Three reasons Reggie Bush a great asset

Reggie Bush enters his second season with the Lions after making quite a splash in his first.

Here are three reasons Reggie Bush has been a great asset:

1. He’s a workout fiend. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was with the Saints when Bush played there before his two seasons in Miami. Lombardi was pleasantly surprised to see the Bush still has the explosiveness he had with the Saints.

2. Bush is more familiar with this kind of offense because it’s very similar to what the Saints ran. In fact, Bush said it’s exactly the same. But Jim Caldwell says it has bits and pieces from several offenses.

3. Bush is serious about winning and shares that as a leader of the offense. He’s 29 but seems much wiser. He’s one of those guys who is a born leader and that’s key.

(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 — Four reasons defensive ends will improve

The Detroit Lions’ defensive ends are mostly a young bunch. They played well last season, but here are four reasons they will be better this year:

1. Ziggy Ansah improved throughout last season. His future is bright and his development will continue under the same defensive line coaches as last year — Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn. Ansah had shoulder surgery in February and didn’t participate in minicamp but was on the field. It’s not certain he’ll be ready for training camp, but it should be close.

2. Devin Taylor was the other rookie last year. Coaches loved his development and, like Ansah, he should just get better this season. He worked in the offseason to change his body composition adding strength in his upper body and speed in his legs. He could become a special player.

3. Jason Jones is healthy. He injured his knee in the third game last year and was gone for the season. He’s a young veteran who should start opposite Ansah. He’s also versatile and can line up inside on certain packages.

4. The addition of veteran Darryl Tapp gives this group a little more experience.

(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 — Three reasons Joe Fauria will still play role in offense

If ever a player was extra motivated, it’s tight end Joe Fauria who sat and watched as the Lions drafted tight end Eric Ebron in the first round. Immediately the Lions made a point that there will be room for Fauria in the offense too.

Here are three reasons he will still play a role.

1. At 6-foot-7 and good hands, it’s like he was born to play in the red zone and catch touchdowns. Seven of his 18 receptions last season were scores.

2. Brandon Pettigrew disagrees with people who say Fauria can’t block. On the last day of minicamp Pettigrew said Fauria had developed all around. “We work this stuff together all day,’’ Pettigrew said. “I see him. He can block, he can split out , he can catch the ball, he can high-point the ball.’’

3. There’s room for three tight ends in this offense. Eric Ebron has a ways to go to learn the offense. He’s presumably the No. 2 tight end. But this offense will play plenty of two tight-end packages and, in fact, could have three tight ends on the field at the same time occasionally. Fauria proved his worth last season. This new coaching staff is only going to work to make him better.

(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 — Three reasons Calvin Johnson will be better this season

Remember when Calvin Johnson uncharacteristically dropped too many balls last season? It was in part because one of his fingers was bent at a 90-degree angle. Well offseason surgery has taken care of that and his wonky knee too.

Here are three reasons Megatron will be better this season:

1. His health. Johnson was unable to practice during most of last season. Sure he knew his routes, but the connection with Matthew Stafford must be made during the week for it to be at its best on Sundays. He was full go in the mandatory minicamp and looked like Megatron.

2. The addition of Golden Tate and first-round pick tight end Eric Ebron could create mismatches that will only benefit Johnson. 

3. It’s not like the offense wasn’t built around him for the last several years, but it will have a new look under offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi who is so thrilled to work with Johnson that sometimes he has to remind himself not to be just a fan.

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