Tuesday, May 27, 2014
More questions from Tuesday's Lions chat
By Michael Rothstein
We chatted all about the Detroit Lions on Tuesday over at ESPN.com and you can relive that experience here. But, as always, there were a bunch of questions we couldn't get to.
So we'll answer some more here.
Joe (Royal Oak): The Saints offense never seemed to really need Reggie Bush and often just used him as a decoy, which also has its merits, but is it worth paying an aging RB $5 million a year? He was pretty dang good last year so more of a question of whether it is time to push for cheaper players at the position?
This is a good question and one that is timely considering there appears to be a de-emphasis on the importance of a featured running back. Look at the way running backs were drafted in May. That said, Bush, when healthy, gives the Lions a game-breaking option in the backfield they don't have from anyone else on the roster.
Here’s something else to consider. While Bush has indicated he wants to be in Detroit for the long-term, his dead money in 2015 is $2 million and $1 million in 2016. Both of those numbers are manageable if the team didn’t see him as a viable option any longer. So keep that in mind when thinking of Bush. I would anticipate either the Lions use Bush a lot this season or the discussion at this point next season is whether or not he sticks around for a while.
Jay (Kalamazoo): Is Larry Webster destined for the practice squad due to how raw he is, or will his athleticism and the lack of depth at defensive end allow him to stick on the 53?
On my pre-OTAs roster breakdown, I had Webster on the practice squad and was criticized for doing so because there is the thought he would get signed by someone else pretty quickly. That is probably true and might be why he would stick on the 53-man roster, at least to start. The question would be how fast his development would have to be for him to contribute in a meaningful way in 2014. If there isn’t swift development, then he could eat up a roster spot until he is ready. But there is not a lot of depth there now, so he has a definitive shot.
Ashley (via mobile): Darius Slay is going to be an All-Pro shutdown cornerback this year. Mark it down.
Noted. While I believe Slay will improve and become a good starting cornerback by the middle of the season, All-Pro might be stretching it. He’s not at the Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman level of cornerback yet. Not sure if he has the skills to get there, either, but he has a good shot to be a really good corner if he develops right.
Terrence (Richmond, VA): Do you think Golden Tate will make a big difference in the offense?
Terrence, I do. He’s going to take pressure off of Calvin Johnson because he is a playmaker and can be used in the slot or outside. He also has two of the best hands in the NFL, so that will make him much more of a threat. It’ll be interesting to see where he lines up compared to Eric Ebron, but the addition of Tate will help both Johnson and Ebron this fall. If nothing else, he becomes a strong third down option that has a history of reliability in that area.
Otto (happy hour): Do you see the Lions bringing pressure from different spots along with press coverage resulting in more turnovers? Of course the downside is if the opposing quarterback spots the open receiver big plays could result.
Glad it is 5 o’clock where ever it is in this awesome, vast world that you are. I think you’ll see the exact scenario you described. The Lions are going to bring a lot more pressure this season than last and part of it will be using a guy like rookie Kyle Van Noy in different spots and sending him to harass quarterbacks. As far as press coverage, Detroit is going to use that a lot. Or, as Darius Slay said, the Lions could use it every play. It’s dangerous, but if it allows Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah and Nick Fairley more open lanes to get to the quarterback, then the Lions should do it. Probably should have last season as well.
Pat (Troy, MI): The fact that I’m very excited about the early stories on Cassius Vaughn…too much time on my hands? Or very underrated grab for us?
Time will be the barometer here, but he has a shot to make the roster. Don’t think he’ll turn into a game-changing cornerback but if he can provide depth and become a potential reliable option then it ends up being a good signing. To add to this with a question I won’t get to, if Vaughn makes the roster, you’re probably looking at Bill Bentley, Jonte Green or Chris Greenwood not making it. If the Lions feel good about Don Carey and Rashean Mathis on the inside (assuming Chris Houston ends up back) then Bentley’s role is in question. Otherwise, it is either Green or Greenwood who would be in trouble.