Allen Park -- Tuesdays are typically off-days for the Detroit Lions during the regular season. It's a good time to reflect on the game from last weekend, as well as the next opponent. With that in mind, we'll look to do a mailbag each week, to answer all your pressing questions.
The Stafford interception with ex-lion Josh Bynes holding Golden Tate looked like pass interference. Explain rules on why no flag— Woodsy (@radatzd1) September 11, 2017
It's a great question. Here's what you need to know about the play. A defender can make continuous physical contact with a receiver who is in front of him up to five yards from the line of scrimmage, as long as the ball hasn't left the quarterback's hands. Although it was a delayed jam, Bynes struck Tate hard, with two hands to the chest, well inside of five yards and before Matthew Stafford released the pass.
Tate spun around, giving the illusion that Bynes might have grabbed him and held on, but it was simply the force and angle of the blow that led to the loss of balance. It was an outstanding defensive play by the former Lions linebacker and something Stafford needs to be aware of when his receivers are running shallow crossing routes in the future.
I don't understand the Lions' run game. After years of trying to fix it, what else can they do to actually run the ball effectively?— Dan Welling (@spacecataz1663) September 11, 2017
Part of the overall problem is Caldwell's coaching philosophy. He doesn't have a history of valuing a grind-it-out run game as much as a complementary one for his passing offense. Another is the play calling, which leans too heavily on outside runs. Those require more precision to execute against NFL defenders. Finally, its personnel. The Lions have versatile, dual-threat backs to fit their scheme, not a 230-pound bruiser who does nothing but run between the tackles.
I don't know what else to tell you at this point, other than I don't want to bury the current collective after a single game. Hypothetically, the Lions' line is as talented as its been in more than a decade. They're still coming together, from a chemistry standpoint, so let's show a little patience there.
At running back, I only believe in Ameer Abdullah as a ball carrier. He's the only one in the group who has shown the ability to consistently make someone miss in the backfield and the necessary vision to hit the right lane. But then he goes out and averages 2.0 yards per carry against the Cardinals. Again, I have to preach a little patience. He had been averaging 4.3 yards on 161 attempts before Sunday.
It remains to be seen whether the Lions have cobbled together an adequate group this season. If not, be prepared for a handful of dud outings from the entire offense.
Seems like Davis was victimized in coverage, any remedy for that or does he just have to take his lumps for awhile— Erik Kaseta (@ekaseta) September 11, 2017
I think you've nailed it on the head. Jarrad Davis did struggle frequently with his coverage assignments against the Cardinals, and it's the biggest hole in his game right now. His work ethic, combined with his athleticism, gives me confidence he'll figure out how to improve the techniques he plays in space as his inaugural season wears on, but anticipate a fair share of lapses in the early going.
Is Golladay for real? Haven't seen him play yet.— FastEddy (@FastEddy2014) September 11, 2017
Kenny Golladay received an overwhelming amount of hype during training camp and the preseason, and after a sluggish start against the Cardinals, made us look like geniuses with a pair of touchdowns. He was more involved in the offense than I would have anticipated in his debut, but it makes sense in hindsight, given the Cardinals weren't covering him with Patrick Peterson or Tyrann Mathieu most of the day.
All that said, I'd still temper your expectations for the rest of the season. It doesn't mean Golladay isn't fully capable of repeating his performance against the Cardinals, it's just that the Lions have so many offensive weapons to spread the ball to, so there will probably be days when the rookie finishes with one or two catches.
What's your favorite food item at Ford Field?— Greg Durkee (@Durkee971) September 11, 2017
We get a free pre-game meal in the press box, so it's tough to beat what's free. But if I were to tour the concourse and purchase some items, the top things on my list would be Hopcat's crack fries, Slows' macaroni and cheese and the caramel chicken wings from Flowers of Vietnam, which I believe is exclusive to the stadium's club level. Get the crack fries loaded. You have to splurge on yourself every once in a while.
Why are the lions covering the brick along the edge of the field with a banner? Bring back the brick!— Mike (@BergeyMbergey) September 11, 2017
I'm told it's likely to stay this entire season, as a promotion of the team's re-branded logo. No decision has been made on anything permanent, but I agree with you, the brick is a classic look and should be featured, not hidden.
Easiest slam dunk question for you (heck both of you) - Biggest surprise of the game?— Nick Papageorgio (@TheStamosReturn) September 11, 2017
There were quite a few, and while I'd love to take the easy way out and say the defense, I'll specifically highlight Anthony Zettel and Jeremiah Ledbetter along the defensive line.
Zettel had a nice preseason, but I had some reservations about his improvements porting over to the regular season. Against the Cardinals, he looked fantastic, recording a sack, another tackle for a loss, breaking up a throw in coverage and generating a decent amount of pressure. If Zettel can be this year's Kerry Hyder, it will be huge for the team's pass rush.
As for Ledbetter, little is typically expected of a sixth-round pick, but he played a healthy amount of snaps in the defensive tackle rotation and made his presence felt, generating a quarterback hit and a pressure on a little more than 20 snaps rushing the passer.
How soon until the coaching staff realizes that Ebron is totally useless and Fells and Roberts get extended roles?— Mike Russi (@mrussi) September 11, 2017
Man, people love to hate Eric Ebron. I imagine these sentiments are some combination of who was drafted around him (not his fault) and the fact that he talks a lot, which really bothers some people. Oh, and the drops, which are on the high end, but certainly not disastrous.
The fact of the matter is he's steadily improved his production he's only 24 years old. He caught two of the three passes thrown his way against the Cardinals, including a key third-down grab on a scoring drive. He just wasn't a huge factor in the game plan in this one, but neither was Fells, who wasn't targeted at all. And Roberts had continuous ball security issues throughout the offseason. Until the team feels better about where he's at there, the role will remain limited.
How do you think the team will remedy the issues on special teams for next week?— Max (@TheHonoluluBlue) September 11, 2017
Well, first they'll sign a punter. That will go a long way toward solving their biggest issues, at least until Sam Martin gets back. The other problem is kick returner. After looking good bringing back punts, I'd strongly consider giving Jamal Agnew a longer look, ahead of Dwayne Washington. Other than that, the special teams are fine.
You guys are great, love the banter. But what's up with Caldwell walking away when asked about the injury to Martin? Just comes off as rude.— John Popovits (@The_Johnny_Pop) September 11, 2017
I didn't make much of it. It was nearing the end of the press conference and Caldwell clearly didn't like the question. Often, when we're not satisfied with an answer, we'll try to ask an effective follow-up. By walking away after finishing his answer to the initial query about Martin, the coach eliminated the possibility of us asking another.
I'd certainly like to know more about Martin's situation, and will keep asking around because it's my job. Caldwell understands that dynamic.
Did Hayden get more snaps because Lawson was that bad in your opinion?— flintmarko1210 (@flintmarko1210) September 11, 2017
No, I don't believe that's the case. It was a near-even split, and they were essentially rotating series. The reason Hayden probably played more is because the defense was on the field longer during the series he played. I'll be watching the film Tuesday afternoon and will keep an eye on the trend, as well as both performances.
If Greg Robinson plays well and signs 'big deal' in off season with another team, does Detroit get a comp draft pick? How is it calculated?— Robert Palma (@PalmaRobpalma) September 11, 2017
If Robinson gets a big deal, yes, the Lions could be awarded a compensatory pick. While the NFL has never made the formula public, it's about assets added compared against assets lost. If Robinson signs a mulit-year deal somewhere else, but the Lions sign a different player to a similar deal, it would offset the loss of Robinson and negate the potential compensation.
Could Greg Robinson legitimately slide over to LG when Decker comes back if Glasgow continues to struggle? Or is he not a fit there?— Kevin Gallagher (@liberty_kevin) September 11, 2017
I've answered this question before, but I'm not sure it was in the mailbag format. Do I believe Robinson can play guard? Absolutely. His size and athleticism would work on the inside. Then you have to make the decision whether you want to put your best five on the field for a short-term boost or not mess with the group's long-term chemistry or Graham Glasgow's development. It wouldn't be an easy choice, and you'd have to believe the change would net significant improvement to pull the trigger on a midseason switch.