Detroit Lions: Five make-or-break candidates in 2018

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 27: Ameer Abdullah
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 27: Ameer Abdullah /

Players and coaches fight every year to keep their jobs. The Detroit Lions have a few guys who have to earn their keep in 2018 or else.

The term hot seat is often used in football terms. Every year and every team have such candidates.

Here’s just a few for the Detroit Lions.

Ameer Abdullah

Entering his final year on his rookie contract, Abdullah is on thin ice. A 2016 Lisfranc injury limited his explosiveness last season. Word from OTAs, he’s back to his normal self. There are lots of mouths to feed in the backfield. He needs to stand out quickly or he gets the boot next year.

Ziggy Ansah

Easily the biggest star and costliest player of the group. Staying healthy is the biggest challenge for the former first round pick. Ansah could break the bank with a huge season. Whether he’s in Detroit’s plans long-term or not is still murky. Talent has never been an issue for the stud edge rusher.

Jim Bob Cooter

As offensive coordinator, Cooter has to improve. Now that he’s the undisputed play caller, he has little excuse to get the running game going and improve in the red zone. His creativity is well-known and is well liked throughout the Lions brass and players. The new coaching regime is sticking with him, but most likely only a year if he can’t perform up to snuff.

Joe Dahl

The leash is shortening on Dahl. Injuries have set him back and he’s yet to catch on at guard after moving from tackle. The Lions only invested a fifth round pick on the third year pro, making him expendable. How he plays this year could mean the difference between starting in 2019 or end up on the streets.

Next: Detroit Lions: The best draft picks of the past decade

Quandre Diggs

Ability isn’t in question here. How Diggs responds to the switch from corner to safety or a combination of both will determine his fate. Playing well enough might get him re-signed. Falling short would make moving on much easier. Worse, he balls out and is too expensive to keep around.