Lions Mailbag: What's up with Nick Fairley?

August, 17, 2014
8/17/14
10:00
AM ET
The Detroit Lions are now halfway through their preseason and not too far away from having to make some big decisions about the structure and makeup of their 2014 roster.

Some of those choices will be quite hard and some are taking shape. Let's address some of that in this week's Lions Mailbag.

Remember, to ask questions for the Mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter or email me at michael.rothstein@espn.com. Now, on to your questions.

@mikerothstein: It is my belief that, yes, Kevin Ogletree is making this roster and could have a fairly big role. He's been running with the first team all of camp and has been a standout in practice. The only pass I remember him really dropping in camp was the one against Cleveland. He had a reception on Friday night against Oakland as well. Receiver is going to be a really interesting question for the Lions because Ogletree, Kris Durham, Ryan Broyles and Corey Fuller are all making strong cases to join Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Jeremy Ross on the roster. Likely, one or two of these players won't make the team and right now I'd put that person as Fuller, who would be a practice squad candidate again if he cleared waivers.

@mikerothstein: Yep, that's correct, although the preseason is still going strong. Detroit had its last open to the public practice Wednesday and will now revert to more of a regular-season mode the rest of the preseason, as many other teams around the league are doing. It probably feels shorter for you because Detroit was the last team to start practicing this summer.

@mikerothstein: Tough to say because we don't know how Ken Whisenhunt would have shaped this roster and handled this team. I would say that I don't know if the Lions draft Eric Ebron if Whisenhunt is the coach, just because of the style of offense. Caldwell has done a good job with this team thus far as the players have clearly bought into his approach. This will be addressed more below, but how he is handling the Nick Fairley situation won't go unnoticed by players, who see everyone gets a fair shake.

@mikerothstein: At this point, the team appears fairly serious about the entire Nick Fairley ordeal. C.J. Mosley started Friday night and played well in Fairley's place. Meanwhile, Fairley did not play quite well. He really seemed like he was pushed off the ball a lot, which shouldn't happen with his size and skill level. He's going to be part of the defensive line rotation because even when he is on the downside of his inconsistent play, his talent is undeniable. But if he doesn't pick up his practice or game play soon, he could definitely start the season on the bench behind Mosley and Ndamukong Suh.

@mikerothstein: It really does. The Lions used that as a motivational tactic to try and get him to be at his best and for a few months, it appeared to work. But that has clearly gone away again, once again leaving the Lions with an inconsistent but very talented defensive tackle. I was quite critical of Martin Mayhew when he declined the option on Fairley and I'm starting to come around to say that I was wrong in my assessment of that. Mayhew's sense might have been right on there. Of course, that also leads to the Aaron Donald question and, yeah, the Lions might regret not drafting him, especially if Ndamukong Suh isn't here in 2015. The work ethic of Donald and Suh combined would have been a positive for Detroit's defense. 

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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