1. Is Matthew Stafford an elite QB?
I hate that word so much. Waves of pain and anguish. But no, I don't think he is, although I'm sure some of my colleagues will disagree with me on this particular point. I think Stafford is good, but he is not a quarterback that changes the dynamic of an offense by his lonesome; that to me is the mark of whatever the hell we've termed "elite" and there's only like three guys in the NFL right now that can meet that criteria. That's it.
Stafford, right now, has a system around him that plays well to his strengths, which is what you should be doing with any good quarterback that's not Aaron Rodgers or whatever. Stafford is given myriad weapons for distributing the ball in short to mid-yardage passes with quick releases. He is given discretion to find those targets at will and let them pick up yards after completion. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has tailored this all around Matt's abilities ever since he took over the job from Joe Lombardi during the middle of the 2015 season. And yes, losing Calvin Johnson hurts in the sense that there's no consistent deep threat anymore, but if Stafford can get in and make some receptions and get first downs rolling, it makes for efficient football.2. Give us a defensive player we have never heard of to watch on Sunday.
2. Give us a defensive player we have never heard of to watch on Sunday.
Defensive tackle Kerry Hyder turned heads in training camp and later in the preseason, and he showed up to make two sacks in game 1 against the Colts. This was a guy who was practice squad bait for two years before he suddenly came onto the scene for the Lions. Now, he is down a bit on the depth chart (what with the team carrying eleven defensive lineman on their roster) but the Lions rotate defensive tackles quite often, so there's a good chance you'll see him come in and try to make his mark.
3. Talk about the running backs. What are the strengths and weaknesses of both guys? How are the snaps divided?
The Lions running back committee is a curious entity, especially in the historical context that there hasn't been a ground game in well over a decade. While they did run a bit on the Colts, I'm not convinced that's going to be a consistent trend. That's true even when talking about Ameer Abdullah, who is probably the most skilled back the Lions have in running the ball. The line just isn't good enough to get them the best opportunities on the ground.
Where Abdullah and Theo Riddick both shine is in receiving out of the backfield. Riddick led tailbacks in receptions in 2015 and had five receptions for 63 yards in Indianapolis. Abdullah did as well receiving as he did on the ground as well. Both factor well into the Jim Bob Cooter offense and the quick, short yardage passing that fits Matthew Stafford so well.
4. Are fans happy with Jim Caldwell?
Maybe? Kinda? I really don't know. He was never the fanbase's first choice for Lions head coach and people remain bitter about 2015, in spite of the fact that he holds a rare winning record as a Lions head coach. His players like him and his coaching staff personnel choices have been decent outside of the Joe Lombardi flop. But at this point in the timeline of Lions fandom there's a good portion who are just going to remain impatient no matter what.
The curse of the Colts game is that no one is still certain how to feel about him going into 2016. His time management was bad at the end of the game, although he did manage to walk away with the win. So both the pro-Caldwell and anti-Caldwell camps are in a holding pattern, although I think the anti camp is larger.
5. Write the headline in Monday's Tennessean.
"Everything is ruined thanks to Canadian geese"