Lions Fantasy News
Tony Romo 'ecstatic' about Scott Linehan hire
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 11:40am
One year after getting Peyton Manning-like input into the offense and personnel decisions, Romo is expected to be even more involved and have more power in the offense under Linehan.
“Yes. He’ll have more (power),” owner Jerry Jones said. “I am just answering his question. How and where and what it has to do with depends on how comfortable he is. Romo was a tremendous supporter of Bill Callahan (last season’s play caller). He was absolutely ecstatic over us getting Scott Linehan. He had serious discussions with Detroit’s quarterback (Matt Stafford) and got a great feel for Linehan’s imagination and what Linehan does to maximize skills in the individual players and his flexibility of coming up with schemes within schemes within the base or rules of an offense. Having said all of that, the most excited guy in the organization was Tony Romo to have the prospect of getting Linehan. And so they will be locked at the hip.”
Under Linehan, the Lions threw the ball 62.2% of the time in the last two seasons. Over the same span, the Cowboys threw it 64.3% of the time, so the Cowboys may not be that much more "pass happy" under Linehan, though the number of plays they run could increase, helping the offense as a whole. The Lions have averaged 1,105 plays in the last two seasons, while the Cowboys averaged just 968 plays, so Detroit ran 14% more plays than Dallas over that span.
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Lions could replicate Saints' RBBC
Saturday, February 22, 2014, 12:30pm
With new coach Jim Caldwell, and especially offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, there may be a more pronounced emphasis on the Lions' run game and perhaps roles for more than two backs. Caldwell has had successful run offenses in Indianapolis and Baltimore, as did Lombardi in New Orleans.
“If you go back and look at what the Saints did, they used multiple backs in a lot of different ways,” Mayhew said. “I’m encouraged about that for [Mikel Leshoure]. It could bode well for him in terms of getting more playing time and having a more specific, defined role in our offense.
Joseph Fauria to play 'important role' in new offense
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 2:01pm
Lombardi knows a thing or two about good tight end play. He worked with All Pro tight end Jimmy Graham in New Orleans during Graham's first four years in the league.
Lombardi says he's brought the Saints playbook with him to Detroit and that's something that immediately got the attention of Fauria last week.
"I have a similar background to (Graham) with basketball and similar height and the way we play. I'm not calling myself Jimmy Graham, but I strive to have the kind of production he has. I think I can contribute very similarly to how he has with the Saints."
Fauria would need to make a leap to become a starting-caliber fantasy TE1. He was merely a redzone threat in his first season, though if Brandon Pettigrew leaves in free agency, the opportunity would be there for Fauria.
Lions release Nate Burleson
Thursday, February 13, 2014, 1:57pm
Beat: Josh Gordon will continue to 'tear it up' in new offense
Monday, February 10, 2014, 12:13pm
Beat writer Mary Kay Cabot was asked how WR Josh Gordon will fare in new OC Kyle Shanahan's offense.
"If Gordon fares as well as seven-time Pro Bowler Andre Johnson in Shanahan's West Coast-oriented scheme, the reigning receiving yardage leader (1,646) will continue to tear it up. With Shanahan as Texans' coordinator in 2008-09, Johnson led the NFL in receiving yards in both years (1,575 in 2008) and (1,569 in 2009). He also led the league in receptions in 2008 (115). During those two seasons combined, Johnson led the NFL in receiving yards (3,144) and ranked second in receptions (216).
So more trips to Honolulu should be in store for Gordon, who flourished in the vertical passing game last season."
Gordon actually outscored Calvin Johnson in PPG (16.2 vs. 15.8) and finished as the top fantasy receiver in 2013 despite missing the first two games due to suspension. He’d be a no-brainer top 5 wideout heading into 2014 if not for his history of off-field issues, a change at offensive coordinator and continuing issues at quarterback. If he can finally get some consistency at QB (and stay out of trouble), the sky is the limit for this kid. It’s pretty amazing what he did with Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden throwing him the ball.
Cowboys hire Scott Linehan as OC
Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 10:36am
Linehan's offenses in Detroit were pass-happy, so this is a strange hire from the standpoint that the biggest criticism of the Dallas offense in 2013 is that they didn't run DeMarco Murray enough. The hire is good news for Tony Romo owners as it looks like he'll be passing early and often in 2014. Linehan took the Lions from 26th in yards gained in his first season as OC (2009) to three consecutive top 6 seasons from 2011 to 2013.
Lions hope to get Matthew Stafford back on track
Sunday, January 26, 2014, 11:40am
"I think there certainly has to be some work done," general manager Martin Mayhew said last week. "I couldn't really quantify that."
Mayhew said Stafford can still be salvaged. That belief was a guiding principle during the Lions' two-week coaching search, and the subsequent week-long search for a staff.
Detroit eventually tabbed a head coach (Jim Caldwell) that worked for a decade with Peyton Manning, and an offensive coordinator (Joe Lombardi) who spent the past five years as Drew Brees' personal quarterback coach with the New Orleans Saints.
That's no accident.
Stafford will have at least two quarterback coaches on staff, and could have a third if the Lions hire an actual quarterback coach. Their exact plan remains unknown, but the moves are being hailed around the league as a perfect match for the talented yet middling quarterback.
"I have no doubt (Lombardi will fix Stafford)," Saints tailbacks coach Dan Roushar said. "I have complete confidence. Joe is a phenomenal football coach, and it's a great hire for Matthew."
Stafford's play has slipped since his 5,038-yard, 41-TD season in 2011. The Lions are hoping that they can get Stafford back on track, and the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
Bills hire Jim Schwartz as DC
Friday, January 24, 2014, 9:22pm
Jim Schwartz has agreed to terms to become the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator.
Schwartz, 47, will enter his 21st year in the NFL coaching ranks and ninth as a defensive coordinator. He served in the same capacity with the Tennessee Titans from 2001-08 overseeing a defense that finished in the top 10 in both rushing yards allowed per game (5th-103.5) and third down conversion rate (6th-36.1%) during his tenure.
While the Lions never had an elite defense under Schwartz, he did break a streak of three consecutive last place finishes by the franchise in most points allowed during his second season, and the team improved to 15th in points allowed in his fifth season as head coach. Schwartz replaces Mike Pettine, who left to become the head coach of the Browns.
Lions hire Joe Lombardi as OC
Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 4:52pm
Lombardi, grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, emerged as the favorite among numerous candidates for the job since Jim Caldwell was hired last week as coach, sources told ESPN.
Lombardi spent the past seven seasons as an offensive assistant with the Saints, who promoted him to quarterbacks coach in 2009.
Lions to clean up Matthew Stafford's footwork
Monday, January 20, 2014, 1:01pm
QB Matthew Stafford reached his zenith in 2011, with a 41-touchdown, 5,038-yard season, but he’s been only a 59-percent passer in the two seasons since—with some great days, but also some inconsistent ones.
Said new HC Jim Caldwell: “I’ve watched every throw Matthew made last season, because when I came here and met with him, I wanted to have some familiarity with him. We didn’t go through film together, but we talked about I saw, and I listened to him, and it was very beneficial. We have used a set of drills in coaching over the years that I think has added some consistency to all the quarterbacks we’ve coached. The great majority of poor throws—people look at the arm, and that’s important obviously, but I think footwork is the key. I can pull up any gamefilm and show you how our footwork drills help you. In a nutshell, the feet and eyes work together. If I’m throwing in a particular direction, my footwork is pointing in the same direction—directly at the target. We’ll work on it with Matthew, and he will do them flawlessly.”
Stafford's various release points have been a point of comedy in football circles, but it sounds like Caldwell is intent on cleaning up his QB's footwork at the very least. It's safe to say that Stafford has regressed from his 5,038-yard, 40-TD season in 2011.
Lions tab Teryl Austin as DC
Thursday, January 16, 2014, 2:38pm
Teryl Austin’s agreement to be Lions DC is done, per source.
Austin was previously the secondary coach for the Ravens, so he has worked with new HC Jim Caldwell before.
Calvin Johnson has 'minor' surgery on knee, finger
Thursday, January 16, 2014, 2:32pm
Mayhew called the knee procedure "a minor scope," while adding some unpleasant detail about Johnson's hand issue.
"He played the entire season with a finger really that was pointing perpendicular from his body the whole season," Mayhew said, according to the Lions' official website. "He's trying to catch the ball like that. He would never complain about that, but certainly that was a factor, I think, in the way he played."
Johnson's health was definitely a factor this season, but he still racked up 1,492 yards and 12 TDs even though he faded down the stretch. He'll likely enter the 2014 season as our top-ranked receiver.
Lions tag Ravens OC Jim Caldwell as new head coach
Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 2:19pm
Detroit Lions are hiring Jim Caldwell as their head coach, per a league source.
Lions fire Jim Schwartz
Monday, December 30, 2013, 1:05pm
Jim Schwartz has been fired as the coach of the Detroit Lions after five years with the organization.
Despite winning six of their first nine games this season, the Lions crumbled down the stretch, finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs.
The 47-year-old Schwartz went 29-51 and reached the postseason once in 2011, when Detroit posted a winning record for the first time since 2000. This should be a popular job with a lot of pieces in place.
Adrian Peterson out Week 17
Saturday, December 28, 2013, 7:38pm
Peterson has been plagued by a groin injury suffered last week against Cincinnati and a foot injury sustained earlier this month.