With the Detroit Lions having officially placed Jamal Agnew on injured reserve, will their most productive player from the preseason finally get his chance?
As the Detroit Lions return from their bye week, they face an important stretch of games that will either go a long way towards keeping their playoff hopes alive or burying their season.
The impressive wins over the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are now nothing more than memories as they focus on the games ahead of them. The unimpressive losses to the Jets, 49ers, and Cowboys should be the same as well.
After a week of preparing to move forward, the Lions have a couple of questions that they hope they have solved.
The big focus was on the Lions run defense.
After five games they were the worst team in the NFL against the run. During their week off they have risen to number 30. Which isn’t so much a tribute to them, but an indictment of the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos horrible play last Sunday.
For the Lions, the trick will be to play better run defense and continue to climb towards respectability. Since they still need more talent in their defensive front seven, they will probably have a limited ceiling they will be able to climb to.
But they still need to climb as far as they can if these Lions have any serious intentions of making a run at the playoffs. That will be the biggest key.
One of the secondary keys will be improvement on special teams.
Last season the Lions special teams were among the best in the league. Between kicker Matt Prater and punter Sam Martin, Detroit showcased one of the best one-two kicking punches in the NFL. Meanwhile, long-snapper Don Muhlbach had been around forever it seems, but he was still one of the elite at his position.
They also added a bright young star for their return game last year in the form of Jamal Agnew. The lightning-quick cornerback out of San Diego State has become a weapon for the Lions. His rookie campaign was highlighted by a couple of returns he brought back to the house and being named an All-Pro for his efforts.
Unfortunately, his performance had suffered along with the rest of the special teams this year and now he’s on injured reserve after hurting his knee while attempting to break up a pass against the Packers.
He left behind big shoes to fill.