Grading the 2014 Detroit Lions: Taking A Closer Look At the Offense

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Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Ford Field. Detroit won 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

Calvin Johnson: B. Johnson, like Bush, was hurt for significant stretches this season, diminishing the overall impact he could make. There was only a few games where Johnson showed the ability that has long made him the NFL”s best wide receiver. At times, fans have to wonder why Johnson isn’t able to dominate more, or worse, if he’s beginning to experience the downside of his excellent career. 2015 will allow him another healthy start and a chance to make amends for his trouble and struggle this past season.

Golden Tate: A. Without question, Tate was Detroit’s most consistent and electric pass catcher when he was given the chance to be, excelling in a slot role across the field. Perhaps the only complaint about Tate’s season was that he wasn’t featured more by either Stafford or Joe Lombardi at times, as his speed looked to be a game breaker when combined with Johnson and Detroit’s physical running game. Tate may have only scratched the surface for the Lions in terms of the impact he can make for the offense, however. That’s scary given the elite play he showed much of 2014.

Corey Fuller: C. Fuller showed some definite flashes of brilliance, such as when he caught the winning touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in heavy traffic in the back of the end zone. Unfortunately, the stats (212 total yards, one score) didn’t show better, and Fuller made his share of mistake plays as well. He’s speedy, but needs to be more physical and improve his hands and route running. Still, Fuller made a very significant leap from being buried on the practice squad to an NFL contributor.

Jeremy Ross: D-. After coming on strong late in 2013, it was easy to assume the Lions would get creative with the speedy Ross and involve him more consistently in the offense. That never happened, and Ross struggled to find a role within Detroit’s new scheme. Worse yet, Ross also struggled in his primary return role, leading to questions about roster inclusion for next year. It wasn’t the type of season that Ross needed by any stretch.