US Marshals join Oakland Co. fugitive team in search for parents of alleged Oxford shooter

Lions mailbag: Hard Knocks, Patriots coaches, a gorilla and the logo

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is crushed by the Bears' Cornelius Washington late in the fourth quarter on Sunday in Chicago.

The Detroit Lions are 1-3, coach Jim Caldwell's seat is getting warm, and you have some questions. So without further ado...

@Justin_Rogers does Taylor Decker show promise? And ... is it scheme or is the team missing Abdullah that much

— DissapoinTed (@TedR14) October 3, 2016

Absolutely. Decker is understandably a work in progress as a pass protector, still developing consistency with his technique. He's a little bit better as a run blocker, but rookie inconsistencies have cropped up there as well. Overall, you see mostly good stuff from the Ohio State product and he's looking like he'll provide good value for his draft slot.

As for the overall run game, the blocking hasn't been as good in recent weeks, and the Lions don't have anyone quite as dynamic as Ameer Abdullah, when it comes to making tacklers miss. I've been clamoring to see more of Dwayne Washington, but that might be put on hold, depending on the severity of his ankle injury.

@Justin_Rogers whats the trade value for Ebron and Tate?

— Tim Cox (@HotTakeTimmy) October 3, 2016

We've reached this point already, have we? Honestly, it's not much for either player. NFL teams don't pay much on the trade market, although a quarterback can sometimes net a quality return package. If GM Bob Quinn made both available, right now, I'd imagine a fourth- or fifth-round selection is the best offer he would receive.

Again, that's more indicative of how the NFL operates, than those players' individual value.

@Justin_Rogers Who do the Lions bring back from IR? (Linebacker Jon) Bostic or Abdullah?

— Monte' White (@TayyWhite1) October 3, 2016

Abdullah would be ideal, but he might not be able to get cleared in time to matter. And do you really want to push him if you're out of contention for a playoff spot? I wouldn't. Bostic seems more likely, at this point. He's about two months removed from surgery.

@Justin_Rogers Who's got it worse than us?

— daveholzman (@daveholz) October 3, 2016

Cleveland, if we're limiting the discussion to NFL football. But the city might still be basking in the afterglow of the NBA championship and the Indians' division title to even notice.

@Justin_Rogers have there been any more rumblings about potential changes to Detroit's logo and uniforms in the near future?

— Andrew Keck (@andrewkeck) October 3, 2016

You know that one friend who you ask to hang out and they always say, "Yeah, maybe," but never actually come out? That's how I take the talk of overhauling the Lions' color scheme and/or logo. There's no reason to completely close the door on the topic, in case you want to make a slight tweak down the road, but I wouldn't be holding my breath for anything drastic.

@Justin_Rogers Did the Gorilla really gain 60 yards on the Lions defense?

— Steve Evans (@sevans1956) October 3, 2016

That's an insult to the middle-aged security guards who showed more urgency in pursuit of the trespasser than Lions' back seven did against the Bears.

@Justin_Rogers what motivations (besides $) does Stafford have to sign an (extension) this offseason and sign up for his 3rd rebuilding project?

— Ed Wood (@Edwin_IV) October 3, 2016

To me, replacing a quarterback is a true rebuild. Yeah, the Lions need more talent and depth, but there's enough of a foundation in place that it's far from a true rebuild. As for Stafford's motivation, it would primarily be financial to stick with the Lions. He can sign the contract one or two years earlier, with massive guarantees, rather than risking his health until he reaches the open market.

@JeffRisdon @Justin_Rogers What happened to the Donut v. Bagel v. Coffee race?

— Mike Hodges (@Lionsfan1960) October 3, 2016

Important question. The last race was in 2014, which coincidentally was the last time the team made the playoffs. Those things are probably not related. Probably.

The real story, as if you posed this question seriously, is the team changed official coffee sponsors. Tim Horton's now runs the show and they've replaced that goofy event with another, two people racing in giant hamster balls. This is where we are as a civilization.

@Justin_Rogers this one has been kicked around the twitterverse:

If Caldwell is fired in-season which coach is elevated to the HC position?

— Deacon Blues (@mork1215) October 3, 2016

If that were to happen, and I still think it's a long shot, I lean (defensive coordinator) Teryl Austin. Not because his unit is performing better, but because he has more coaching experience and is more prepared to lead a team.

@Justin_Rogers Will Josh McDaniels be the Lions head coach for the 2017 season?

— Aaron (@Ombs93) October 3, 2016

He would be in play. His experience in Denver was humbling, but that was six years ago. He's had plenty of time to reflect on his mistakes and develop back in New England. Obviously Matt Patricia, New England's defensive coordinator, would also be a speculative option.

I wonder, assuming the Lions move on from Caldwell, if Bob Quinn really goes after one of the Patriots' coaches. It just feels too predictable and puts the Lions GM in position to be criticized for not being able to evaluate leaders outside of the Patriots paradigm.

@Justin_Rogers Has Robinson been the most impressive rookie?

— Erik Kaseta (@ekaseta) October 3, 2016

A'Shawn Robinson has flashed, but is far from consistent. I like the way he gets his hands in the passing lane, but he needs to get better at disrupting the quarterback in the backfield. Decker has made a much bigger contribution, and although he's made more mistakes, that's not unexpected given the difficulty of his position and the fact he's playing three times as many snaps per game as Robinson.

@Justin_Rogers They have looked bad but a lot of the NFC has too, isn't it still early to say the season is over, especially with all the injuries?

— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) October 3, 2016

Of course it's too early to say it's over, but the sun is starting to set. The Lions are already two games back of the final playoff spot, and with an 0-2 record in the conference (and division), they're already down on some of the tiebreakers as well.

@Justin_Rogers Our schedule looks daunting. What game do you think we have the best chance of winning prior to the bye week? I'm not sure.

— Monte' White (@TayyWhite1) October 3, 2016

We go from the optimist to the pessimist. I'll say this, I would be shocked if the Lions are 1-8 at the bye. Shocked. Los Angeles and Washington are probably the most winnable games on the slate. Houston is beatable too, especially without J.J. Watt. Although who is going to cover Will Fuller? Nevin Lawson? Yikes.

@Justin_Rogers what is the appropriate quarter to begin drinking? I wait until they start losing but that is starting to ruin Sunday.

— Orion Morris (@OrionMorris) October 3, 2016

If you're at home, or have a designated driver, about 35 seconds into the first quarter.

@Justin_Rogers why did we keep 11 Defensive Linemen if they can't stop the run or pressure the quarterback?

— Frank Van Dusen (@fvdintennessee) October 3, 2016

It's a fair question. Brandon Copeland is more of a special teams guy and Anthony Zettel is a project. The only questionable player the Lions kept up front was defensive tackle Stefan Charles, who has continued to have a minimal impact during the regular season. It might have been related to the financial implications, given the $750,000 the Lions guaranteed to him this past offseason.

@Justin_Rogers Could Zach Zenner finally get a chance at extended snaps in a regular season game? He never looks bad, and always looks good.

— Peter Whyte (@whytesugar) October 3, 2016

He doesn't always look good. In fact, he looked quite pedestrian during the regular season last year, averaging 3.5 yards with his 17 carries. But that sample size is small, and after flashing a bit against the Bears, Zenner merits at least a handful of touches each week, and more if Dwayne Washington misses any time.

@Justin_Rogers is quitting on the team a strategy or just a new wrinkle to the playbook?

— Joe Sailus (@JoeSailus) October 3, 2016

That's just mean.

@Justin_Rogers do you ever see the franchise replacing the current roof with a retractable one?

— joek (@jcmkot) October 3, 2016

Not with Ford Field, I don't. It would be a wildly expensive project and would probably only matter a handful of times per year. It would have been nice if they had included it in the original blueprint, but it was cut then for the same reason, money.

@Justin_Rogers @chengelis what is your perfect taco?

— Dr Stallion Maverick (@MgoStallion) October 3, 2016

Thinly grilled strips of steak (asada) with just cilantro and finely diced onions. I'm fine with double corn tortillas, but I'm a sucker for a homemade flour tortilla.

Wait, what were we talking about?

@Justin_Rogers have all the reporters thought / discussed boycotting the next (Jim Caldwell) presser?

— DNB (@DanNorris_Beard) October 3, 2016

We're not fans. We're there to do a job. Boycotting a press conference wouldn't accomplish anything. In fact, he might appreciate not having to answer any questions for a day.

@Justin_Rogers if hardknocks covered the lions, who would be the most entertaining player to watch behind scenes?

— Harry (@503LionsFan) October 3, 2016

There are a few players fans would enjoy on "Hard Knocks."

Darius Slay goes without saying. Similarly, Theo Riddick could shine in that environment. The running back might be one of the worst players to interview, but when he's just interacting with his teammates, he's the class clown.

Also, I think people would find Stafford more likable. He's got a pretty good sense of humor, but generally mutes it when dealing with the media.

@Justin_Rogers Which player has the best Netflix queue? The worst?

— Aaron (@AaronLeif) October 3, 2016

Speculating here, but DeAndre Levy probably has a pretty diverse and interesting watch list. Worst? I can't imagine Riley Reiff watching anything but hunting and fishing shows. Some of you might dig that, but it's not my cup of tea.