Although we do not cover baseball here on Lions Gab, we feel it is important to mention Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander and Kate Upton are back on the scene. Meanwhile, there is always an excuse to talk about Sports Illustrated, especially, if Kate Upton happens to be making a presence. Here is a look behind the scenes of her zero gravity photo shoot.
CBS Football Insider Pete Prisco is out with his first mock draft, and he has the Lions taking Lions Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard with the 10th pick.
10. Detroit Lions Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard: They go for the in-state product to help upgrade a secondary that needs it in the worst way.
To see the entire mock draft – click HERE
Along with wide receiver Nate Burleson, starting safety Louis Delmas was told by the organization that he will be released. The team has spoke out and said that they would like to re-sign Delmas soon but at a reduced salary. Delmas was given a two-year extension in 2012, but was owed $6 million the Lions obviously thought he was just not worth.
Delmas is expected to test the market before coming to terms on a new contract with the Lions. It does not seem likely that Delmas will get the money he was expected to get in 2014 by the Lions but he may want to go to a new city.
Delmas has suffered from injuries since coming into the league. 2013 was just the first season in which Delmas played in every game of the season. Since 2009, Delmas has missed 15 games due to injuries.
The fifth-year veteran has registered a combined 331 tackles, 24 pass deflections, and six interceptions. Will the Lions be able to get Delmas back?
The Lions have informed wide receiver Nate Burleson that he’s being released today, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. The move saves about $5.5 million in salary cap room but leaves the locker room short a leader.
“It’s a hard decision for them to make, but I can’t blame them for making it,” Burleson said.
He still intends to play in 2014.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who recently fired his agents, will be represented by Jay Z and Roc Nation for both contract negotiations and marketing, Adam Schefter and Darren Rovell of ESPN citing sources.
Jay Z recently signed New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia to a growing clientele that also includes Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz and Geno Smith.
But Suh represents Jay Z’s biggest football client.
Suh, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Lions, left Relativity Sports last month to seek new representation.
The move came days after Lions president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew said the club and Suh have expressed a desire for him to stay in Detroit long term.
The Lions are hoping the new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, will be a huge impact on the way Darius Slay perfroms. They’re looking forward to a massive improvement in his development as a cornerback.
Darius Slay didn’t have the most impressive rookie season with a fair amount of ups and downs on the field.
Darius Slay was a second-round pick, sitting at number 36 overall. He began the season as a starter opposite Chris Houston. Veteran Rashean Mathis stepped in to replace Slay in his first two starts. Slay eventually lost the starting cornerback position in week 3.
On Thanksgiving, Slay got another chance to start against the Packers. Houston was out due to an injury and Slay played his best game yet in the NFL. He defended three passes and recorded two tackles.
That’s the perfect performance a rookie needs to gain his confidence. Perhaps it may have been wasted due to missing a few weeks from an injury. Slay suffered a knee injury in practice a few days after his well performance and he was unable to return until Week 17 in Minnesota.
Slay is expected to devolop a lot during the offseason. The Lions see a lot of ability in his performance and when he enters his second season, they expect nothing less than performances much like the Thanksgiving game.
“I think we have some good young pieces,” Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “You know, as we watched the tape, one of the young guys, (Darius) Slay, I looked at him and you go, ‘Boy, he had his ups and downs.’
“You know, he had some things, he had some growing pains. There were some times he didn’t look very good and there were some times he looked outstanding.
“Our goal is to try to get him to be consistent, to be a consistent player. That way, that talent will start to take over, but I think he’s a guy that has the ability out there and we probably want to try to improve. But we want to improve in all areas.”
Austin spent the last three season in Baltimore as the defensive backs coach. He compared Darius Slay to Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith. Smith was a first round pick, overall number 27, of the 2011 Draft, selected by the Ravens. Smith has great size and speed, much like Slay but coming out of college, Smith definitley had room to improve. That’s how Slay has been viewed and that’s something they are striving to fix.
It took Smith two season to be a part of the starting lineup in Baltimore. In 2013, his first full season as a starter, he recorded 59 tackles, 2 interceptions, defended 16 passes and forced 3 fumbles.
“He was a lot like Darius,” Austin said of Smith. “He kind of flashed and has some tremendous talent. He would flash, but he didn’t quite play as consistently as you’d like. But then he finally, like a lot of them, sometimes it just clicks.”
“It takes reps, it takes time, and when it does, he starts improving in certain areas and everything else picks up. That’s the thing. We’ll work on Darius. He’s got a lot of talent, he’s got a lot of room to improve and so we’ll try to just kind of improve on this area and this area and keep working the areas. Hopefully the improvement will show and he’ll be able to play an important part for us this year.”
By the looks of it, the Lions want Slay to be a starter and will give him every chance possible to earn that position next season.
If Slay makes this big improvement to tarnish his inconsistencies, much like Smith did, the Lions will become a lot stronger in the pass defense.
Many pundits and fans in Detroit searched for scapegoats to blame for the Lions’ epic collapse in 2013 and starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was the main recipient after throwing 13 interceptions in the second half of the season.
Ex-coach Jim Schwartz could have been one of Stafford’s detractors, as he lost his head coaching gig after the debacle, but surprisingly Schwartz is defending the quarterback according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.
“We were 2-6 over the last half of last season, and when you’re 2-6 nobody is feeling good about their performance, whether you’re the head coach, the quarterback or a defensive lineman,” Schwartz said Tuesday on WGFX-FM, via ESPN.com. “But it’s a team game and I wouldn’t pin it on one Matt Stafford. Matt’s an outstanding quarterback.”
Stafford’s flaws are evident on tape and it has been clear since the hiring of new head coach Jim Caldwell that one of the staff’s main missions in 2014 is to fix their quarterback.
But for all those flaws, Stafford is the only QB in NFL history along with Drew Brees to throw for at least 4,500 yards in three consecutive season.
He was often victimized by dropped passes in 2013, as Stafford’s receivers were credited with 46 drops last season-12 more than the next worst team. The team needs to add more talent behind Calvin Johnson but that may be difficult, as the Lions are projected to be $6 million over the cap.
“He’s going to lead that team to many great things in the future,” Schwartz continued. “Everybody has some rough spots here and there, and it’s up to the rest of the team to pick you up.”
Well after the Detroit Lions allowed their 6-3 start turn into a 7-9, non-playoff season, the Lions did way with the coaching staff and fired Jim Schwartz. The Lions then made Jim Caldwell as the team’s head coach. On Monday, the Lions added to the offensive coaching staff by hiring Jim Bob Cooter as the quarterback’s coach.
Mattew Stafford told media that he feels he does not need any help with his development and mechanics. However, after throwing 36 interceptions in the last two seasons, the Lions have brought in three men who have quarterback coaching background.
Caldwell did an amazing job in helping Peyton Manning becoming the passer he is today. Caldwell was also the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens when they won a Super Bowl in 2012. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was the quarterback’s coach in New Orleans where Drew Brees resides. Now, Cooter spent last season in Denver as their coach of the quarterbacks.
It appears that if Stafford fails under this new staff, he may never be an elite passer. The Lions have appeared in just one playoff game in the last decade, in which they lost to the Saints.