by Matt Soltysiak
This team needs little introduction as you had to have lived under a rock last year to not know the Detroit Lions became the first 0-16 team in NFL history. Obviously, pretty much nothing went right. This year the Lions could be the league’s most improved team by winning just six or seven games… Amazing!
As for roster turnover, there’s a ton of changes with this team. Those leaving include quarterbacks Jon Kitna & Dan Orlovsky, running back Rudi Johnson, and wide receivers Mike Furrey & Shaun McDonald (don’t forget that Roy Williams was traded during the season). Detroit brought in receivers Bryant Johnson, Ronald Curry and recently traded for Dennis Northcutt to help pick up the slack.
In the NFL draft the Lions went offense with their first two picks even though the team’s defense has ranked at the bottom that last couple years. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was the number one pick in the draft. With their second first round pick, Detroit grabbed tight end Brandon Pettigrew. In the second the Lions grabbed safety Louis Delmas.
What to watch for in training camp
The quarterback position is unsettled. Daunte Culpepper is the starter for now, but he’s expected to make way for Stafford. It’s not a question of “if,” but “when.” Should Culpepper play well he could be worth a spot as your back-up, but if Stafford gets the reigns that’s another story. While a couple of rookies did well last year, that isn’t the norm and Stafford finds himself on a team that’s rebuilding.
The running game is pretty much set, Kevin Smith is the guy. He looked good in his rookie season once he was given the starting job. Look for him to carry the load again this year.
When it comes to catching the ball Calvin Johnson is the most important name to know. He’s their undisputed number one and one of the best in the NFL. That means keep your eyes on Bryant Johnson, rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew and Dennis Northcutt. I expect the first two on this list to have some fantasy value if they can live up to their potential.
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots
New York Giants
New York Jets
San Diego Chargers
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