To better prepare us and you for tonight’s Cleveland Browns – Detroit Lions Pre-Season game we went Behind Enemy Lines with our Fansided Detroit Lions site, Side Lion Report. Their Editor Zac Snyder presented me with 5 questions which I answered regarding our Browns, and my answers can be found here on their site. Below are the 5 questions I asked Zac and his responses. Lets learn a little about the Lions as we go Behind Enemy Lines:
1) How has new coach Jim Caldwell impacted the culture for the Lions?
I think too much is often made about team’s changing their culture but Caldwell has a totally different demeanor than Jim Schwartz. Practices have been quick and crisp despite Caldwell’s calm personality and the players seem to really want to play for him because he treats them like men.
2) How do most Lion fans see Matthew Stafford? Are most sold on him as the Franchise Talent?
Few doubt his talent but outside of 2011 that hasn’t translated into a successful season. That’s the frustrating thing about Stafford. He’s entering his sixth year and we’re still talking about talent and potential while debating whether or not his statistical production is hollow. The Lions don’t have a capable backup that any fan should be clamoring to see over Stafford so there aren’t any calls from fans for anyone else to start, but Stafford still has something to prove. His downfall was a big reason for the team’s downfall as they choked away a division title last season.
3) What is the Lions biggest weakness going into the pre-season?
I’ll go outside the box a bit and say kicker. In the first year of the post-Jason Hanson era, David Akers wasn’t up to snuff. The Lions signed young free agent Giorgio Tavecchio in the offseason and drafted Nate Freese in the seventh round. Neither has pulled away from the other and it hasn’t necessarily been because both have been great. According to reports, they’ve both been better of late but the Lions at least need one to show something in preseason games. It’s possible the Lions’ kicker to start the season isn’t even on the team yet.
4) Who is the nationally unknown player you are looking forward to seeing Saturday night?
After last season, DeAndre Levy should be a name that registers nationally, especially in Cleveland so I’ll go with Darius Slay. The 2013 second round pick struggled last year as he was yanked on and off the field. The Lions received a lot of criticism for not making any big additions at corner during the offseason so there is a lot riding on Slay’s development. The good news is, his name has often come up as one of the most improved in camp.
5) What do you expect to see Saturday night?
I expect a team that looks a little different from last year due to having new coordinators on board and a team that plays smarter football overall. There isn’t a lot of time or patience for learning curves in the NFL so we had better not see a “throwaway game” out of the gate. The Lions won’t be running everything on offense and defense we’ll see in week one, but there should be obvious progress.
What are you looking forward to tonight?