Allen Park -- Three weeks of OTA practices are in the books, mandatory minicamp is next week, then some down time until training camp. There, you're all caught up, so let's get going with this Detroit Lions mailbag.
Wasn't Dahl a pretty fair pass blocking tackling college?— Les White (@iconsilk713) June 8, 2017
Absolutely. It was the primary assignment required in Washington's State's pass-happy offense. That's not to say the techniques and pass-blocking sets he utilized in college are the same he's working with in Detroit, but the basic principals of leverage and hand usage are there.
The adjustment for Dahl, beyond the technical tweaks, is the level of competition. Sure, there are a handful of NFL-caliber edge rushers who come out of the Pac-12, but it's a big week-in and week-out jump in speed and strength adjustment in the NFL.
Is there anymore details on the exact nature of Taylor Decker shoulder injury? How long is expected to miss to recover ?— John Tobin (@5df46606207b42d) June 8, 2017
No, I have not been able to obtain additional clarification, and there are so many possibilities -- labrum, rotator cuff, collar bone -- that it's impossible to accurately speculate on a timetable. What I can say is almost all shoulder surgeries have a minimum recovery time of three months, so it's unlikely Decker will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Who would you rather the #Lions go after....Maclin, Decker or Neither?— Jay Gala (@jaygala0317) June 8, 2017
As with all of these questions, I'd rather the Lions go after the guy who is the best talker. I like guys who make my job easier. But that's not what you're asking. You want to know the better fit -- Jeremy Maclin or Eric Decker.
I don't think you could go wrong with either. Both can play in the slot. Decker offers more size and slightly more versatility within the scheme, but he's also coming off a rotator cuff tear that limited him to three games in 2016. Cost would be the deciding factor and you have to imagine both will command a decent chunk of change.
The Lions have some funds to work with, somewhere around $8-9 million in cap space. You have to ask if that's the best use of those limited resources, especially with the potential need to add a veteran left tackle to replace Taylor Decker. My guess is no, especially with rookie Kenny Golladay looking ahead of the curve in these early practices.
Is it a small blessing Deckers injury occurred now while there's time to adjust? Obviously an injury like that in fall camp would b disaster— Allan Fullerton (@ABFully) June 8, 2017
If you're looking for the silver lining on the darkest of clouds, then sure, why not?
More likely to make 53: Abrewhatever or Billingsley?— Jay C (@Mranthr0pe) June 8, 2017
Yeah, I feel your pain. I still have to check the spelling every time I write Jared Abbrederis. That said, before these recent OTA practices I would have given a edge to Billingsley because he was the known commodity within the scheme. But a strong showing the past few weeks puts Abbrederis in the mix.
In reality, there are no front-runners at this stage. The pecking order will be determined in August, in the more competitive environments of training camp and preseason games. It's a competition, along with TJ Jones and some of the undrafted rookies, that I look forward to watching develop.
Any word on how the coach's feel Jarrad Davis is adjusting to the playbook, and to life in the NFL so far?— michael lynch (@michaelalynch79) June 8, 2017
Summarizing Teryl Austin's assessment the other day: The team is happy with Davis. He's going through the normal struggles of learning a more complex defense with a different verbiage. The complexity of the passing game assignments have been especially challenging. Also, the rookie's leadership traits are already showing.
likelihood that Tabor earns the starting job this year— Gary Clark (@gadclark) June 8, 2017
I think Tabor is less likely to earn the starting job than he is to make some starts due to injury. I believe Nevin Lawson is better than people give him credit for and he's still young and developing. It will be difficult for the rookie to unseat him.
What we could see is Tabor being rotated in for a series here or there, like the Lions did with Quandre Diggs as a rookie and Johnson Bademosi last year. That way, when Tabor's number needs to be called, whether it's this year or next, he'll be more prepared.
Who do you see ahead on the depth chart heading into training camp between Washington and Zenner?— Derek Maki (@dwmaki) June 8, 2017
Zenner. It's pretty simple. He's more accomplished and is coming off a strong close to the 2016 season. Washington will get his opportunities, but Zenner is the No. 3 back right now.
How can we expect the Defense to change this year with the additions in the Draft? Austin has had to adjust every yr he's been here— LeapinLions (@leapinlions) June 8, 2017
Every coordinator has to adjust to losses and additions every year. Roster turnover in the NFL is crazy. Go ahead and look at any roster today compared to three years ago. That's just the nature of the business.
I would have liked to have seen the Lions get Austin another pass-rusher this offseason, but if you don't get one in the first round of the draft or pony up huge money in free agency, it's difficult to expect impact. And let's not kid ourselves, upgrading the linebacking group was a significant need, particularly with the team's coverage issues in the middle of the field. Jarrad Davis should help there.
Austin also got some much-needed depth at nickel back, an area of weakness for the Lions last season. If Diggs doesn't show improvement, D.J. Hayden and Jamal Agnew will be waiting in the wings. Tabor also provides better depth on the outside.
Are rookies typically the right solution for quick fixes? Not ideally, but the Lions' prioritized their offensive line in free agency and there's nothing wrong with that.
How often will they wear the throwbacks (I know; I'm a uniform geek!)— George Hunter (@GeorgeHunter_DN) June 8, 2017
We don't know yet, George. If I were to make an educated guess, I'd say we'd see them just once, on Thanksgiving. That said, Rod Wood didn't rule out using the throwbacks during one of the team's three primetime games.
Is Jim Caldwell on the hot seat if this team doesn't return to the postseason?— Michigan vs Nation (@AndrewBuris) June 8, 2017
This is the reality of every year for an NFL coach, and the longer you're in a position without playoff success, the hotter the seat becomes. In my opinion, Caldwell has done above-average work with the roster talent he's had to work with, but above-average work isn't necessarily enough after three years.
If the Lions miss the playoffs, or qualify and are decidedly defeated in the opening round once again, Bob Quinn will have to ask himself whether the organization is treading water under the current leadership.
What positional battle will be the toughest call for Quinn when the preseason ends?— Kieran Steckley (@Kieran_Steckley) June 8, 2017
This might be an unconventional response, but it might be whether to keep three quarterbacks or not. Both Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya are intriguing long-term backup options who would have a hard time getting through waivers. The problem with keeping three quarterbacks is you have to cut a potential contributor at another spot. That could be someone like Alex Carter, who is navigating a position switch this offseason, or a young defensive end like Pat O'Connor/Anthony Zettel.
Are injuries, like the one Decker has, the one thing that can really derail this team's success? Otherwise, they seem to be improved.— Bill Rowe (@TheWillum) June 8, 2017
The line between 6-10 and 10-6 is so thin, and yes, health is a big separator. Few teams are capable of overcoming injuries to top starters. The Lions did, in many ways, last year. It was no small feat to make the playoffs missing Ameer Abullah all year, Theo Riddick down the stretch, and dealing with DeAndre Levy's and Ziggy Ansah's ineffective play caused by injuries.
Decker is a massive loss, for however long he's out of the lineup. Matthew Stafford will probably have less time in the pocket, on average, take a few more hits, and the running backs aren't likely to have as much daylight on the left side of the line.
And we can't discount the chain reaction impact this could have on Graham Glasgow. The young guard, still working through some of his own inconsistencies, benefited greatly from having the steady Decker on his shoulder.
how many times have you been to that Allen Park Chipotle since it opened last year?— MotorCitySportsTalk (@MCSTdotcom) June 8, 2017
What a fine addition to the limited lunch options near the facility. If they delivered, it might be twice a week. You hear me, Chipotle? Start delivering.
of the players already on the lions roster, who do you view as having the inside track to the job at left tackle?— Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) June 8, 2017
It's only fair to suggest Cornelius Lucas has the inside track. If Corey Robinson were healthy, maybe my answer would be different, but durability matters.
Lucas has the NFL experience, which is why I lean him over Dahl. But pole position is only as good as your practice performance. If Dahl outperforms Lucas during their shared reps with the first team, the Lions won't hesitate to go with last year's fifth-round pick.