The Detroit Lions are entering a pivotal season for the future of the franchise. Here are three players who need to field a good performance in 2020.
The outcome of the 2020 regular season could have a lasting impact on the Detroit Lions. With owner Martha Firestone Ford challenging this 3-12-1 team to become a playoff contender this upcoming season, general manager Bob Quinn, head coach Matt Patricia, as well as the staff appear to have their livelihoods on the line.
But it’s not just the Lions’ current regime that appears to be desperately needing a good 2020, but several players as well. Here are three names we believe would benefit greatly from a stellar performance this upcoming season.
Jarrad Davis, LB
Entering the final year of his rookie contract in Detroit, it’s unclear whether the Lions will choose to use the fifth-year option on former first-rounder Jarrad Davis. Drafted in 2017, Davis arrived in the Motor City a year before head coach Matt Patricia.
And there were questions whether the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Davis was a good fit for Patricia’s scheme as the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator seems to prefer much larger linebackers. Combined that with an expiring contract, coming off an injury-plagued season, and considering his past struggles in pass coverage, and Davis likely needs a big performance in 2020 to secure himself a new deal in Detroit.
Kerryon Johnson, RB
After his first two injury-plagued seasons, the Lions starting running back Kerryon Johnson really only has one thing to prove in 2020. And that’s the fact that he can stay healthy. The injury-prone Johnson missed eight games last season after being absent for six contests the year prior. There’s little doubt the 22-year old is a talented runner. But you simply can’t help the club in the tub.
Matthew Stafford, QB
Coming off his first significant injury in several seasons and entering his 12th year in the NFL, Matthew Stafford has much to prove in 2020. And a big performance from the former first overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft could solidify him as one of the league’s premier passers.
With speculation that the Lions could use the third overall selection in this year’s draft on a quarterback (which seems highly unlikely), questions about Stafford’s future can’t be avoided. And if the 32-year old quarterback is unable to make Detroit a playoff contender this upcoming season, that likely means the end of the current regime in Motown.
But, in turn, what would another losing season mean for the future of Matthew Stafford? And what if the longtime veteran continues to struggle with injuries? When will the Detroit Lions begin to prepare for life without Stafford? A big performance in 2020 would certainly help keep those kinds of questions at bay.