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 Make or Break Offseason 2019 
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Post Make or Break Offseason 2019
Quick peak at Lions roster:

QB: Stafford/Cassel/Rudock

The Lions would have to essentially sacrifice the 2019 season to move on from Stafford. They could tank in 2019 with a journeyman starter and a huge cap hit clearing out Stafford s salary and plan to rebound in 2020 when a strong QB draft class is expected. More likely they dont do that and perhaps look for a backup who has more value than Cassel. If Cassel was helping in the QB room or behind the scenes, it sure was hard to notice. If the team had more confidence in Jake Rudock he probably would have been on the roster this year. I see him being in camp again but the Lions should probably upgrade at backup QB if not take a stab at one with upside mid to late in the draft.

RB: Johnson/Blount/Zenner/Riddick

Johnson is clearly the starter as a very good do it all back. Zenner could be versatile enough that he can be your fill in No 2 but doesnt stand out in any one area. Ideally the Lions backup though has more upside and durability than Zenner. Maybe a more explosive complement to Johnson would make sense. Riddick is better in a complementary role but his play and use has declined for a couple years now, wouldnt be shocked to see the Lions move on.

FB: Bellore, Bawden

Nick Bawden was supposed to be the premier blocking back in the 2018 draft but missed the season with an ACL injury. Bellore had some nice blocking and an amazing 4th down reception on a deflection. He overachieved in 2018 but the Lions never seemed to really figure out a way to propery integrate the fullback into the offense perhaps because Bellore isnt ever an option to catch a ball. Short passes to the fullback can be a big part of a conservative short passing offense made to keep defenses honest in there assignments but the Lions have not utilized that in recent years. Maybe Bawden changes that part of the story.

WR: Golladay, M Jones, TJ Jones, Brandon Powell, Andy Jones, Chris Lacy, Bruce Ellington

Golladay and Jones are fixtures but perhaps too similar. Maybe Quinn should explore the cap implications of trading M Jones and fill that No 2 role with someone who s skill complements Golladay better. That might stretch the Lions a little bit too thin but WR appears to be a big need again for this team. I think the team needs to find there Golden Tate replacement in the draft and find a veteran slot type WR to take that 4th spot. Andy Jones is a good special teamer and decent blocker and could play his back onto the team but doesnt really have potential as a WR. Not sure the Lions plans on Brandon Powell, if he couldnt really get opportunities in a year like this one not sure he ll ever get a better chance. Probably a camp cut or PS next year. Ellington was little more than a very poor man s Tate and probably isnt what the Lions are looking for but perhaps could ve made some more plays if there were other options on the field attracting some attention.

TE: Toilolo, Roberts, Willson, Cunningham

The entire position was a major disappointment. Bob Quinn's frugality in not wanting to pay Ebron slightly over market really hurts the Lions. 2018 was a lost year anyway, if Ebron played out his deal and walked the Lions would at least get a compensatory draft pick but Quinn cuts him for cap space that he wastes on a collection of subpar veterans instead. Roberts had a bad year, he s a receiving TE without speed who s a suspect blocker despite good size and his hands are unreliable. I suppose the Lions will give him another reset button this year given the investment they made in him. Toilolo is a solid blocker who seems to have reliable hands but isnt much of a receiving threat. He could be back in a supporting, depth role. Jerome Cunningham is little more than a late season roster filler without upside. The Lions are in need of a bonafide starter at this position except they take a long time to develop when you draft them and good ones dont often become free agents. Going after a washed up Gronkowski again isnt the answer either but at least shows Quinn values the position.

OT - Decker/Wagner/Crosby/Donnal

Decker hasnt become the star LT as expected but he s a starter still on his rookie deal. Lions will have to decide soon if he s a longterm staple or if they should try and do better. He s definitely back next year but probably have to look at replacing Decker after his 5th year rather than giving him a big payday unless his play improves. Wagner has been a decent RT but not the dominant player the Lions thought they were getting when paying him more than any RT in history. His lack of versatility compared to Riley Reiff hurt them in 2017 when Decker missed time and they didnt have anybody of value to play LT. Crosby has a good chance to be the future at RT but probably not until 2020. Surprised he didnt get looks at guard, perhaps a good sign the Lions are happy with his play at T. After a lot of rotating depth pieces at the T spot in Quinn s first 3 years, Crosby is finally the first one that looks worth developing. Quinn is also intrigued by Donnal and he could be in camp fighting for a depth spot.

OG - Ragnow, Lang, Wiggins, Dahl

Ragnow has been up and down. Some of his downs have been so bad that it makes you wonder if he ll really be a star at guard but I think he probably still becomes there best OL before his rookie deal is up. Lang is almost certainly done after a continuous string of worse and worse injuries. Wiggins was pretty inconsistent on that OL and showed he cant be relied upon for an entire season as a starter. The fact that Dahl cant get into the lineup ahead of Wiggins isnt a good sign for his future. It wont cost the Lions much to bring him back into camp again but he could be out of chances. A new starter and much better depth is badly needed. OL coach Davidson also needs to do a much better job developing players like Decker, Ragnow and Glasgow given how Ron Prince was sold as such a poor, inexperiened OL coach. I dont see any improvement this year really except that Taylor Decker was more healthy and Wiggins was better than the RG depth last year.

C - Glasgow/Leo K

He s been a solid starter and perhaps a bigger lock than Decker to get extended. Not sure if the Lions would ever entertain flipping Glasgow and Ragnow. The Lions have invested 2 years developing Leo Koloamatangi mostly on the PS, he ll get another shot to make the team next year.

Offense - Needs are backup QB, No 2 runner with starting potential, Starting and depth TEs, Slot WR and 4th WR, Starting RG, depth interior OL

P - Martin - really has had a down year. Disappointing when the kicks or games are of any consequence and paid well for his position. He could be a cut.
K - Prater - he s been good at a time when Kicking seems to be a huge issue around the league.
LS - Muhlbach - he had a bad snap and Quinn seemed to identify LS as a need a couple years ago. Could be in question.
KR/PR - Agnew - getting more playing time with the defense but probably not a started on defense so should continue his return role.

DE - Okwara/Hyder/Lee/Loewen/Hand/Ansah

Okwara has been a great addition and the Lions biggest benefit of practicing with the New York Giants. He isnt a blow your socks off passrusher or run defender but he is very fundamentally sound especially given his youth. His size and athleticism are good and there may be some untapped potential to come. I still dont think Zettel was the right person to cut though as Kerry Hyder has barely seen the field. Hand has been a good versatile defender for the Lions and he has upside but there is a big need for a passrushing edge defender where as Hand is a starting quality DE/DT that can go anywhere depending on the situation. Ansah like Lang is almost certainly gone given cost and availability.

DT - Harrison/Robinson/Francois/Atkins

Harrison has been a slam dunk addition by Bob Quinn, perhaps another benefit of practicing with the New York Giants. Francois has been a team leader but probably a case of Patricia playing favorites bc Ashawn Robinson is the better player. Robinson s usage vs his quality of play suggests that there s something the coaching staff doesnt like about him. He may be a trade candidate if it cant be figured out. Hand is a good interior player too so the Lions may have the makings of a good interior if they keep the guys they have. Overall though the Lions need to be able to generate a passrush with there DL at times and they dont have the passrushers. Signing a good one and drafting one high is probably a need.

OLB - Kennard/Harold/Maybin/Longa

Kennard is a solid player but he started the year strong and has kind of backpedaled a bit. The issue is he plays the position that should be generating the pressure in Patricia s defense but he s not really a great passrusher. He s in a featured role and he s simply average or above average. Quinn and Patricia probably will be continously looking to find a true star for this spot. Maybin s getting chances because of draft slot but I dont really see him fitting in down the line in this system. Harold has had some good moments in a backup role and might be worth hanging onto a little longer because he has upside. Longa was a really good special teamer and young who they ve actually missed this year and hopefully he makes it back healthy.

OLB - Jones/Sheperd/Bates/Grigsby

Jones has played better the more time he s had in Patricia s defense. I thought he was going to be a definite cut early this season but with the amount of needs and holes on the roster it will probably make more sense to let him play the 2nd year of his deal. Sheperd and Bates are limited upside depth that the Lions will be looking to upgrade.

MLB - Davis

I really dont think highly of Davis play. He should be a lot better and more productive than he is. He misses a lot of plays where he s in position because of bad tackling and pursuit fundamentals. He still prefers fighting with the OL rather than learning moves to shed or avoid there blocks. He has gotten better in coverage and looked dominant against teams with really bad OLs and limited skill players like Arizona. The right move might be moving him outside but he s probably the man in the middle again. His play could go from below average which is what he is now to potential star so a lot of the Lions fate rests on his shoulders.

CB - Slay/Tabor/Lawson/Agnew/Shead/Cooper/Chachere/Virgin/Ford

Slay has probably tried to do a little too much at times and his production has slipped a little. The front 7 isnt really helping create potential turnovers or pressue and the Lions secondary is getting picked apart and more of the criticism than it deserves. The depth has been terrible most of the year however and badly exposed. Lawson has had some memorable moments where s he s been beaten or had penalties but he s also had some really good games against good receivers. He s a good depth piece to have and I would bring him back or explore his trade value, I wouldnt consider cutting him given the Lions depth issues. The Lions do badly need a true No 2 CB to pair with Slay. They could be in position to get one in the first round that might even be better than Slay and make the corners a major strength. I like Agnew when healthy earlier in the year in the slot role with Lawson available to step in at slot or No 2 CB when needed. Shead shouldnt be back and was a disappointing signing that played too much out of necessity because Tabor is really subpar. Cooper might help on special teams and certain matchups bc of his size. Ford probably doesnt make the Lions if they are any better next year. Im actually wondering why Tabor hasnt been cut this year given the rolodex of street players the Lions played ahead of him this year. Quinn maybe wants to give him one more offseason to develop and get a final look in camp similar to Michael Roberts at TE.

S - Quin/Diggs/Walker/Wilson/Killebrew/Washington

Quin has declined enough that he isnt worth his contract anymore. Diggs isnt an ideal safety but he s probably a better run defender and tackler than any of the LBs and plays smart enough to not let his coverage limitations hurt him much. Wilson is a good 3rd safety but more of a strong safety type. Miles Killebrew hasnt progressed in his development and he s just around until his rookie deal runs out playing special teams with the GM hoping that more time might yield some development. Washington is good on special teams and can step in a pinch as a reserve DB but probably wont become a starter. Tracy Walker probably should be playing more and looks like he should be penned in as next years starting FS.

Defense - They need to exchange quantity with quality in the depth spots in the secondary. Too many worthless dart throw players back there at the compromise of depth up front. They also have a lot of backup LBers that dont project well into the defense, the future or on special teams. As a group they ve showed some improvement although it might be bc opponents know the Lions offense cant score and will just play conservative against the Lions. To take steps forward they need a starting CB, DE and better passrush options and upgrades to the special teams.

Outlook - it looks like Bob Quinn will have a very busy and difficult offseason ahead. His roster has decayed bc of injuries, age and losses/misfits bc of a coaching change. To be competitive in 2019 the Lions will need an uncharacteristic FA haul from Quinn but because they are picking so high it will also be his most important draft to date and he needs it to be even better than his 2018 draft.

December 30th, 2018, 1:16 pm
3rd Round Selection

Joined: October 24th, 2005, 6:23 am
Posts: 1141
Post Re: Make or Break Offseason 2019
I find it a bit difficult to evaluate the players. I don't know what they were suppose to do or how they were suppose to do it, not to mention how the play of their teammates impacted their performance.

Adding to it was a change in the defense and a change in scheme emphasis on offense. Couple this with a poor season and my opinion of the players suffers greatly.

They need to bring in a young quarterback to groom behind Stafford. The draft is thin this year and they may have to poach a qb from someone else.

Blount is gone and I think Riddick should be right behind him. Zenner was under used the last two seasons and deserves another shot, but it would be nice to bring in a speed demon to take Riddick's place.

Lang is gone, Wagoner is probably right behind him. The left side is reasonably solid, Crosby should step in at RT and that leaves a RG and depth. Looking at a late round guard for sure.

M. Jones, KG, Powell and A. Jones I feel are locks to return. More quick speed is needed, but it will depend on the OC.

Roberts, Toilolo return and more experiments in the draft and FA ensue. Again, OC dependent.

I'd bring back everyone on the DL except Ansah, draft an edge rusher and let them all battle it out.

Kennard faded a bit down the stretch, Davis came on and no-one else seemed to step up. The group with the biggest bullseye regarding offseason moves.

Lawson could return for depth, Slay, Diggs, Walker and Agnew are locks. The group with the 2nd biggest bullseye.

Really, it all depends on the market in free agency and the depth of the draft. We will have a better idea in about two months.

December 31st, 2018, 2:01 pm
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