All Lions Mailbag: How Many Wins for Matt Patricia to Keep His Job?
In this week’s mailbag, there are plenty of predictions regarding the roster and this upcoming season for the Detroit Lions.
Given that there is no real football or practice to talk about at this time, speculation and conjecture are a common theme.
- Potential roster cuts at both the linebacker and running back positions.
- How will the Lions address the departure of punter Sam Martin?
- How many wins does Matt Patricia need to keep his job?
- Is Jamal Adams a possible trade target?
- Is the offensive line the key to the Lions' offensive success?
1.) Who makes the cut in the crowded linebacker room? - @Dalskics
Answer: For a good portion of last season, the Lions only kept four off-ball linebackers on their 53-man roster along with Miles Killebrew.
All the top linebackers return from a season ago while adding Jamie Collins, Reggie Ragland, and Elijah Lee in free agency.
I believe the Lions will go with Jarrad Davis, Jahlani Tavai, Christian Jones, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Ragland, and Collins on the final roster.
My complete Lions linebacker depth chart breakdown is located here.
2.) If everyone is healthy, am I right in believing the offensive production will mostly be determined by the revamped offensive line? - @vincewlaw
Answer: The Lions offensive line wasn’t spectacular a season ago, but they were decent enough for the Lions to be one of the better offenses when Stafford was healthy.
Now, with a new right side of the line, I doubt that unproven players like right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai and a rookie guard will be an instant cumulative upgrade over Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner.
As always, the offensive line is very important. Maybe the Lions will have enough offensive weapons to overcome a subpar line, or maybe the offensive line will even exceed expectations.
If I had to guess, it will be the former.
3.) What’s a realistic record for Patricia to keep his job? - @jack_babbitt
Answer: I think it’s a winning season -- nine victories. That was supposed to be the baseline for him. Yes, it can take time to bring in players who fit the scheme and culture, but he needs to find success this season.
Things need to turn around quickly. Not that nine wins are all that great with seven teams from the NFC now making the playoffs.
It could even be enough for the last wild card spot. It would probably give Patricia at least one more season with a requirement in 2021 to produce even more than simply nine victories.
4.) Will Jason Huntley, Ty Johnson, and Bo Scarborough all make the team? - @mjc7006
Answer: I’m starting to think they will. Ultimately, it will come down to how all three look in preseason and training camp.
I didn’t understand the Huntley pick at the time of his selection. Obviously, general manager Bob Quinn has a role in mind for him.
Even though the Lions have usually only kept four tailbacks on the roster, they could add a fifth by allowing Isaac Nauta to be more of a versatile tight end / H-back.
Fullback Nick Bawden would be the odd man out, or Huntley could replace Jamal Agnew on the roster to take over as the return man.
5.) I know it's not an exciting topic, but to me, an important aspect/position has yet to be filled. What are the Lions going to do about the glaring hold at punter? - @MISlammer
Answer: Jack Fox should be the top option at this point. The Lions added him to their practice squad in December of last season.
Considering the Lions chose not to draft a punter, they must have somewhat liked what they saw from Fox. The second-year player does have a pretty good leg and hang time.
Like Sam Martin, Fox is also versatile enough to handle the kickoffs as well. The other option is Arryn Siposs, who is a former Australian rules football player that played at Auburn last year.
If I had to guess, Fox is currently the man to beat for the job.
6.) What do you think the lions would give up to get Jamal Adams? @MrMarounn
Answer: This was a popular question this week. I don’t believe the Lions would be willing to be the highest bidder in the SS Jamal Adams sweepstakes.
The New York Jets will likely be looking for a first-round pick as well as another early-round draft pick. Considering the Lions have invested quite a bit in the safety position already, Adams will not likely be a top priority for the Lions like some other NFL teams.
Make no mistake, adding a young, elite player of Adams caliber would be a huge boost to the Lions defense. Safety just isn’t a huge need at this point and the valuable draft capital that would have to be given up isn’t the most efficient way of using the team’s limited resources.
If it would only take one first-round pick, I think the Lions should really consider it. I just doubt that is all the trade would cost.