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 10 questions with Twentyman 
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Post 10 questions with Twentyman
There's a lot to think about here...


Detroit Lions.com wrote:
10 questions with Twentyman
Posted May 5, 2012
Tim Twentyman


Every week I try and do a live chat on Detroitlions.com but I can never get to all the questions because of the time constraints and the fact that I'm not the world's fasted typist. The nature of online chats don't lend themselves to expansive answers, either.

So, each week, I'll pick 10 good questions that I either didn't get to or would like to expand upon.

Q. The Lions have Best, Leshoure, and Smith at the RB position. Why go after Ryan Grant? What happens if one of those guys gets upset about lack of carries? From Alek

A. I don’t think running backs coach Sam Gash or head coach Jim Schwartz lose any sleep worrying about getting all their running backs the proper amount of carries. I’d actually like to be in the room to hear Schwartz’s response if one of them ever did raise a concern.

The Lions extended an offer to Grant because Best and Leshoure are coming off major injuries and Smith hasn’t played 16 games in a season since he was a rookie in 2008. Grant, 29, is a veteran running back who showed last season that he could still be effective (4.2 yards per carry).

I distinctly remember Grant catching a screen pass against the Lions in Week 17 last year and outrunning all of the Lions defense 80 yards to the end zone. I wouldn’t mind that going the other way for the right price.

Q. What do you expect from the Lions defense this year? Are they going to be better in the secondary? From Barry

A. I think the defense will be better with the benefit of a nine-week offseason program. The Lions return 10-of-11 starters on defense and it just makes sense that those guys will be better one more year into the scheme and one more year playing together.

I think Ndamukong Suh will have a bigger impact this year and a healthy Nick Fairley will add a lot to the defense.

It was key to get linebacker Stephen Tulloch back.

As for the secondary, I’m still not convinced they’ll be better. Can Aaron Berry stay healthy and become more consistent? Does Jacob Lacey compete for a starting spot? Is Bill Bentley or the other rookie cornerbacks the real deal? Does Amari Spievey take a leap forward in his development in year three? Those are all questions we’ll start to get answers to during organized team activities. We’ll have a better picture in training camp.

I think that’s really yet to be determined.

Q. What would you think about the Lions going with four wide receivers with Broyles as the fourth and either Best or Leshoure in the backfield? From Guest

A. I could see that happening more this season than in other years, now that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has the personnel to run those kinds of sets. Don’t forget that takes Brandon Pettigrew off the field, though, not sure I’m a huge fan of that.

In certain situations, though, I think the Lions would be extremely difficult to defend with Calvin Johnson, Titus Young, Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles out wide with Jahvid Best as a receiver out of the backfield.

It’s similar to what the Packers do with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and

James Jones. It’s tough to defend without a deep secondary.

Q. What's your take on Riley Reiff's impact on the offense this year? Will he be a starter on the line, either at tackle or guard, or will he simply be utilized as solid depth? From Eric

A. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew recently told Mike O’Hara and Ken Brown in an interview on WJR that it’ll be very difficult to keep Reiff off the field.

“He’s certainly a really good fit for us,” Mayhew said in the interview. “He’s a guy that can eventually play left tackle for us and he can also play right tackle or guard. I think we’ll have a really tough time keeping him off the field next year.”

I’m not a big fan of converting tackles to guard, and then asking them to convert back to tackle later on. I just don’t see how that’s helping their development any.

I think Reiff is in the mix for the left tackle spot, but I suspect it’ll be difficult for him to supplant Jeff Backus unless he’s really head–and-shoulders above where the Lions think he is.

I could certainly see him challenging Gosder Cherilus on the right side. Given Cherilus’ knees and contract, I think that makes sense if they’re close in skill level.

Q. Who are the starting corners to this point? Chris Houston and Aaron Berry with Alphonso Smith as the nickel and Jacob Lacey as No. 4? Where does Bill Bentley fit in? From Dan

A. Behind Houston, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. I recently talked to Aaron Berry and he’s put on seven pounds and is looking pretty good and expects the job to be his. http://www.detroitlions.com/news/lions- ... 7714300512

Lions defensive backs and third-down package coach Tim Walton says its an open competition between all of the above mentioned names.

I think Bentley will have as much a chance to win the spot as Berry or Lacey, but I really think Berry has the edge at this point. Berry’s been in the system the last two years and being a physical corner who can run. Putting on the weight helps, too.

Q. Do you think that Fairley and Suh will be on the field at the same time much this year? I know lots of fans are eager to see that pairing. From Josh

A. Some people have suggested that they can’t be on the field together because they play the same position. That’s just not true.

I think because there wasn’t an offseason last year, and Fairley got hurt the second day of training camp, the Lions didn’t get to experiment with different defensive line combinations. I think they’ll mix those guys up a lot this offseason to see which combinations work. I could certainly see Suh and Fairley on the field together on third downs or in passing situations. To me, they’re the two most explosive tackles we have.

Q. Why do you suppose the Lions drafted Broyles when Rueben Randle was on the board and seemed to have a higher ranking? From Dean

A. First, the Lions had Broyles rated higher on their board. Always keep in mind that team grades are sometimes very different than those of Todd McShay, Mel Kiper Jr. and Mike Mayock.

Second, the Lions had a very specific role in mind for Broyles, which was to play the slot. Randle is an outside receiver. The Lions already have Calvin Johnson, Titus Young and Nate Burleson, who can all play outside.

Broyles can also contribute on special teams returning kicks. It’s all about team needs and having a specific role for players within the scheme.

Q. Do you feel like maybe we should have shopped Vanden Bosch around to try and get value out of him maybe some picks in the draft? From Chad

A. I’ve heard others talk about that scenario and I’ve never been a big fan of it. Vanden Bosch did have eight sacks and four forced fumbles last year. That’s great production. He’s also been a team player, who’s restructured his deal in the past.

Vanden Bosch is owed $10 million dollars over the next two years, and that’s not a lot considering his production in 2011.

Besides the sacks and the forced fumbles and the tackles, Vanden Bosch is just one of those guys you want on your football team.

One week after Vanden Bosch got here in 2010, I saw four defensive lineman running 20 yards downfield to make a tackle. Before he got here, I never saw that.

That’s why guys like Vanden Bosch are invaluable, regardless of cap situation or anything else. I’d rather see a number of other players have to go before KVB.

Q. Where do you see the Avril situation going? From Gabe.

A. Hope I’m wrong, but I see this ending with Avril signing his franchise tag and being an unrestricted free agent again next offseason.

Lions president Tom Lewand told season ticketholders last month that the team had offered Avril a number of multi-year offers that he’s turned down. In fairness to Avril, I don’t know what those offers were and they could have been low.

Avril mentioned after the season that he’s looking to get something similar to the $60 million Tamba Hali got from the Chiefs or the $72 million Charles Johnson received from the Panthers.

I don’t see the Lions going that high at all. I’m guessing that where the impasse is.

Avril isn’t going to hold out then entire season and leave $10.6 million on the table. I think Avril plays for the Lions this season and we do this all again next offseason.

I’m guessing the Lions wish they would have signed him to a long-term deal last offseason.

Q. How does Matthew Stafford improve on the success of last season? From Robert

A. This one is easy. Win more than 10 games.

Stafford doesn’t give a hoot about 5,000 yards passing and 41 touchdowns. The Lions are probably a better team in 2012 if Stafford throws for 4,000 yards with 35-40 touchdowns and has a 1,000-yard rusher behind him.

Quarterbacks are judged by wins and Super Bowl titles. That’s it. Stafford is more successful this year if he takes the Lions past the first round of the playoffs. If he doesn’t, even if he throws for 5,500 yards and 50 touchdowns, he didn’t have as good a season as 2011.



Whether you like / agree with his answers or not, Twentyman is the Lions insider.

The comments that disturb me the most is the conversation surrounding Avril. That is some outlandish coin he's asking for! Worse thing is we may go thru this again in a year!! I can't handle that!!!

Also, are there other teams blaming some of the woes on the strike shortened off season of last year? It just seems to me the Lions keep bringing this up as an excuse. Last I checked all 32 teams had to deal with it.

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May 7th, 2012, 10:49 am
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Quick - who was the highest paid player in the NFL last year?

Manning - nope
Brady - nope
So #1 overall draft pick - nope

Charles Johnson - and therein lies the problem.

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May 7th, 2012, 11:45 am
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Pablo wrote:
Quick - who was the highest paid player in the NFL last year?

Manning - nope
Brady - nope
So #1 overall draft pick - nope

Charles Johnson - and therein lies the problem.



Additionally, I think the agents often times oversell the player and set their expectations way to high. It's then hard to back down to a more realistic number.

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May 7th, 2012, 12:06 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Avril doesn't deserve that much money, period. Like I said all of last offseason, we need to find him a new home.


May 7th, 2012, 1:11 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
No way is Avril worthy of that much $$. Should of traded him for some draft picks.. maybe then we would of had the ammunition to move up and grab that much coveted CB we needed.

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May 7th, 2012, 1:31 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
If Avril is seeking that kind of money and won't negotiate in good faith, the Lions need to cut him loose. I hope next year they tag his butt again and trade him to a team like Jacksonville, where he'll never sniff getting to the Super Bowl or playoffs in the near future. Avril is simply not worth $10M per season or more. Not. Even. Close.

And while I agree that QBs are judged on wins and getting into the playoffs, to say that if Stafford throws for 5500 yards and 50 TDs in 2012 but doesn't get a playoff win means he didn't have a successful season is absolute hogwash. What that means is that Stafford did all he could, but the team or coaches failed to do their jobs. Aaron Rodgers won 14 games last season as a starter. He had one of the best seasons an NFL quarterback has ever had in terms of wins. That doesn't mean he wasn't successful.

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May 7th, 2012, 2:23 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Avril sounds as if he believes the front office isn't "taking care of their own". He made the comment that other players that have contracts up next year are going to look at his deal and think the same.

Hope someone talks sense to the guy. There are really only 3 player's I think the Lions are going to pay anything to keep. Calvin Johnson got paid, Stafford and Suh are next. Avril could get hurt, or not get as many snaps and have less leverage next year to get the money he is now being offered. He should take the payday now.

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May 7th, 2012, 2:28 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Pablo wrote:
Quick - who was the highest paid player in the NFL last year?

Manning - nope
Brady - nope
So #1 overall draft pick - nope

Charles Johnson - and therein lies the problem.



I think this says it all.

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May 7th, 2012, 3:21 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Ferris wrote:
Avril sounds as if he believes the front office isn't "taking care of their own". He made the comment that other players that have contracts up next year are going to look at his deal and think the same.

Hope someone talks sense to the guy. There are really only 3 player's I think the Lions are going to pay anything to keep. Calvin Johnson got paid, Stafford and Suh are next. Avril could get hurt, or not get as many snaps and have less leverage next year to get the money he is now being offered. He should take the payday now.


Not so sure about Suh. He's going to want another insane payday befitting his 'superstar' status.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:37 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
thelomasbrowns wrote:
Ferris wrote:
Avril sounds as if he believes the front office isn't "taking care of their own". He made the comment that other players that have contracts up next year are going to look at his deal and think the same.

Hope someone talks sense to the guy. There are really only 3 player's I think the Lions are going to pay anything to keep. Calvin Johnson got paid, Stafford and Suh are next. Avril could get hurt, or not get as many snaps and have less leverage next year to get the money he is now being offered. He should take the payday now.


Not so sure about Suh. He's going to want another insane payday befitting his 'superstar' status.


Where did he say Suh wasn't worth it? Ferris said the Lions would be willing to pay Suh to keep him, moreso than they are willing to overpay Avril. And to a certain extent, I agree.

However, I will add the footnote that Suh is going to have to perform better than he did last season to earn that type of new contract. If his rookie season isn't at least revisited, he will be viewed as and negotiated with as a rookie flash in the pan. I think he's better than that, but that's what the Lions leverage will be.

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May 7th, 2012, 8:53 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
m2karateman wrote:
thelomasbrowns wrote:
Ferris wrote:
Avril sounds as if he believes the front office isn't "taking care of their own". He made the comment that other players that have contracts up next year are going to look at his deal and think the same.

Hope someone talks sense to the guy. There are really only 3 player's I think the Lions are going to pay anything to keep. Calvin Johnson got paid, Stafford and Suh are next. Avril could get hurt, or not get as many snaps and have less leverage next year to get the money he is now being offered. He should take the payday now.


Not so sure about Suh. He's going to want another insane payday befitting his 'superstar' status.


Where did he say Suh wasn't worth it? Ferris said the Lions would be willing to pay Suh to keep him, moreso than they are willing to overpay Avril. And to a certain extent, I agree.

However, I will add the footnote that Suh is going to have to perform better than he did last season to earn that type of new contract. If his rookie season isn't at least revisited, he will be viewed as and negotiated with as a rookie flash in the pan. I think he's better than that, but that's what the Lions leverage will be.



Dosn't Suh have another 4 years left on his contract? I'm not too worried about what he is going to want down the road. However, I agree Suh is worth more than Avril. I tend to think that Avril's success is largly due to Suh's play...


May 7th, 2012, 9:47 pm
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
Suh signed a 5 year deal in 2010. Stafford signed a 6 year deal in 2009. So yeh, thinking about it, there is no other big contract lingering for the next 3 seasons. The Lions are primed to make some noise through 2014.

With that in mind, the franchise tag is there for this reason and looking at that fact alone, Avril should simply recognize that the Megatron deal trumped his by all means.

Play for 10 mill, and next year maybe get the payday he wants?

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May 8th, 2012, 12:54 am
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
ESPN.com wrote:
Cliff Avril market continues to take shape

May, 7, 2012 / 10:25 AM ET
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com



You might have heard over the weekend that Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $49 million, including $20 million guaranteed. Some of you have asked what that means for Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, who is seeking a multiyear extension.

Avril and Wake are in slightly different situations. The Lions have made Avril their franchise player, meaning he would earn a $10.6 million base salary in 2012 if the sides don't agree on a longer deal. Wake, on the other hand, was in the final year of his rookie deal and was scheduled to make $650,000 in 2012.

Also, it's important to note that Wake, who played in the CFL before signing with the Dolphins, is 30. Avril is 26. Football longevity factors into all long-term deals.

Not all of the numbers in Wake's deal are in, but it's worth noting the average is worth about $1.5 million more annually than the franchise figure.

In return for locking himself in for four years, Wake got $20 million in guarantees. Last summer, Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson received $30 million in guarantees in exchange for signing a six-year deal at about the same average Wake got.

We've been through this issue several times during the offseason. Not all of you are willing to put Avril in the financial category reserved for the NFL's top pass-rushers. But Avril's career numbers tend to sneak up on people. He has 30 sacks in four seasons; Wake has 28 in three while Johnson had 21.5 sacks in his first three seasons before signing his deal.

In the end, you can see why the Lions might not be highly motivated to strike a deal now that they have entered the new league year with Avril's high salary-cap number accounted for. But if the sides do agree on a deal, you can expect it to be in Wake's range if it's on the shorter end. If Avril wants more guaranteed money, he'll have to sign a deal approaching the length of Johnson's.

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May 8th, 2012, 6:10 am
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Post Re: 10 questions with Twentyman
m2karateman wrote:
thelomasbrowns wrote:
Ferris wrote:
Avril sounds as if he believes the front office isn't "taking care of their own". He made the comment that other players that have contracts up next year are going to look at his deal and think the same.

Hope someone talks sense to the guy. There are really only 3 player's I think the Lions are going to pay anything to keep. Calvin Johnson got paid, Stafford and Suh are next. Avril could get hurt, or not get as many snaps and have less leverage next year to get the money he is now being offered. He should take the payday now.


Not so sure about Suh. He's going to want another insane payday befitting his 'superstar' status.


Where did he say Suh wasn't worth it? Ferris said the Lions would be willing to pay Suh to keep him, moreso than they are willing to overpay Avril. And to a certain extent, I agree.

However, I will add the footnote that Suh is going to have to perform better than he did last season to earn that type of new contract. If his rookie season isn't at least revisited, he will be viewed as and negotiated with as a rookie flash in the pan. I think he's better than that, but that's what the Lions leverage will be.


I wasn't implying Ferris thought he wasn't worth it. I was alluding to the fact that Suh plays DT and had an up and down year last year. At the same time, he came out in the last year of the big rookie deals and has expertly crafted an image (accurate or not) as the most important defensive player in the league. So, when free agency rolls around, he's going to want a huge payout, and I'm not convinced the front office is going to be willing to pay what he'll demand.

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May 8th, 2012, 6:58 am
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