All Lions Mailbag: Can Amani Oruwariye Shut Down Julio Jones?
The Detroit Lions were able to grab a nice win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 of the NFL season.
Although the Jaguars are hardly considered a team even close to being one of the better NFL teams, the Lions still looked impressive, and did what they were expected to do -- win convincingly.
At this point of the season, there is another off-field element that draws plenty of attention.
As the NFL trade deadline approaches, that is usually the main point of discussion involving the Lions.
Naturally, I’ll answer plenty of trade questions and a few others, as well.
*Questions edited for clarity
1.) What is one thing about the Lions that has surprised you in a good way? And what is one thing that has surprised you in a negative way? -- @Zachpayyne
Answer: Outside of the obvious Jack Fox answer, the one positive surprise to me has been the offensive line play.
The Lions lost two starters from last season, and I wasn’t sure how the replacements would hold up. Rookie Jonah Jackson looks like a veteran out there, and both left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow have continued their stellar play from the end of last season. Even Tyrell Crosby has been solid overall, filling in as a starter. For now, it looks like he might keep that starting spot due to his performance so far.
There are plenty of negatives, and I can’t say too many are all that surprising.
The biggest shocker may be Matthew Stafford’s very average play through the first five games. He has looked more inaccurate, and has had very questionable pocket presence -- quite the contrast from the eight games he put together in 2019.
One statistic that jumps out to me is his completion percentage, compared to expected completion from Next Gen Stats. It’s basically a metric that illustrates how often the quarterback is completing passes that should be completed. Last season, Stafford completed 3.4 percent above his expected completed percentage -- the fifth-best mark in the NFL. In short, he was completing passes that most don’t make. In 2020, he is 2.9 percent under his expected completion percentage, meaning that he is missing more passes than he should.
I expect Stafford to turn things around, but it is a bit concerning at this point. The Lions need Stafford to be next-to-elite, if they want to compete with some of the league’s best teams. We all know their defense isn’t going to provide much help.
2.) If we win at Atlanta, do you think the Lions will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline? -- @smbiernat
A: Important to remember, there are still two weeks left before the trade deadline. Just one win against Atlanta might not decide whether the Lions will be buyers or sellers.
I do imagine that if they pull out a victory against the Falcons, it will give the regime a little more confidence that they can make a run in the lighter part of their schedule coming up. Given that the regime is on the hot seat, I would say it's far more likely that they would try to make a move to improve now over a long-term investment.
Overall, I think the most likely scenario is the Lions making a couple smaller moves.
3.) What’s the possibility of the Lions trading for Quinnen Williams, if they win this week? -- @KM94467421
A: I would say it’s pretty low.
There are reports out there that the New York Jets would be looking for at least a second-round pick for last year’s No. 3 overall selection in Williams.
I’m not sure why the Jets would be willing to give up so soon on a top prospect. But, that’s not necessarily a great vote of confidence on Williams' future outlook from the Jets’ brass.
Even during a rebuild when everything is for sale, the goal is to add or keep young talent. It is fair to say Williams has underwhelmed so far in his career. That’s not to say he has been bad, either.
From a Lions perspective, any help on the defensive line would be a plus. I’m just not convinced that you need to ship off a second-round pick to improve.
Actually, there is another Jets defensive lineman I like even better and whom should carry a much cheaper price tag -- Folorunso Fatukasi. Fatukasi is one of the better run-stuffers in the league, and the Lions probably wouldn’t have to leverage much future draft capital to acquire him. I actually break down the possibility even more in this article here.
4.) Should we trade Marvin Jones Jr.? If so, what do you feel is his value? -- @Lionsfbl
A: Yes, the Lions should trade Jones if they can get a low fifth-round pick or better, in my opinion. It’s unlikely he will net anything more than a Day 3 draft pick at this stage in his career. Plus, he likely won’t be back next year. It’s time to get whatever you can for him.
However, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn might not share that same philosophy, because he is trying to win now.
I, on the other hand, have accepted the fact the Lions are not going to be doing anything special this year.
With the way Jones has been playing recently, I’m not even convinced losing him would be that big of a deal. Jones has never been good at getting separation, and doesn’t need to be with his hand-eye coordination and body control. But, he has looked extra slow, with no explosion so far this season.
Make no mistake, Jones has been one of Quinn's better free-agent acquisitions.
But, Jones is getting up there in age, and it’s time to see what some of the younger players have to offer, while getting another late-round draft pick in the process.
5.) What excites you more: Matthew Stafford vs. Matt Ryan or Amani Oruwariye vs. Julio Jones? Personally, I’d say AO vs. Julio. -- @Hokagaye
A: I will agree with you. I’m really looking forward to the matchups on the outside with Oruwariye.
Oruwariye has really been playing well, and I want to see him against top competition. It’s still early in the season, and the Lions' pass defense hasn’t been great. But, Oruwariye’s 42.3 percent completion rating against is the fourth-best in the NFL for all corners who have played 20 percent of their team's defensive snaps. His coverage snap per reception rate is also the 11th-highest in the NFL.
We pretty much know what Stafford and Ryan bring to the table. Not that they aren't great to watch, but I’m just looking forward more to seeing Oruwariye’s year No. 2 progression.
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