As we continue our examination of the Green Bay Packers’ opponents on the 2016 schedule, we shift our attention over from one NFC North foe to another. The Detroit Lions are the third team on the Packers’ regular-season schedule this season, coming to Lambeau Field in the third week of the season before hosting Green Bay at Ford Field on the final week of the season.
The Lions went 7-9 in 2015, winning their first game in Wisconsin in what seemed like forever and losing at home to the Packers on a certain play that will be remembered by fans of the green and gold forever. However, with the retirement of Calvin Johnson, the Detroit offense has some serious question marks to answer if they are to improve upon or even maintain last year’s mark.
Here is an examination of the Lions from those who know them best - our SB Nation colleagues over at Pride of Detroit.
Notable free agent additions:
WR Marvin Jones, OT Geoff Schwartz, DB Tavon Wilson, DE Wallace Gilberry, RB Stevan Ridley, SS Rafael Bush
Notable free agent departures:
WR Calvin Johnson (retirement), SS Isa Abdul-Quddus, RB Joique Bell, DE Jason Jones
Received LB Jon Bostic for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick
Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:
1st round - OT - Taylor Decker (expected to start at left tackle)2nd round - DT - A’Shawn Robinson (rotational player)3rd round - C - Graham Glasgow - not currently slated as the starting center, but could take over sometime during the 2016 season.4th round - SS - Miles Killebrew - Also not slated to be the starter, but Lions are weak at the position, so Killebrew could take over, or at least get some snaps during the season.
Biggest offseason addition:
WR - Marvin Jones. With Calvin Johnson’s retirement, the Lions’ No. 1 priority was to find a compliment to Golden Tate. The Lions wasted no time in grabbing Jones, signing him within a day of Johnson’s retirement announcement. Taylor Decker is an honorable mention here, as the Lions’ offensive line was atrocious in 2015.
Biggest storyline heading into training camp:
Will the emphasis on improving the offensive line pay off in 2016? The Lions offense hasn’t been good in a while, but the Lions spent three of their first five draft picks on offensive linemen in 2016. It appears the Lions will be moving former left tackle Riley Reiff to the right side, while plugging in first-round draft pick Taylor Decker on the left. The Lions desperately need to get a running game going, and the shuffling of the offensive line could potentially help.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:
Is DeAndre Levy fully healthy, and if so, will his return improve the defense to its 2014 level of play? Levy had a mysterious hip injury in 2015, and while it appears he was fully healthy during OTAs and minicamp, still very little is known about the injury and his current health.
Notable injuries heading into training camp:
RB Ameer Abdullah - Had shoulder surgery in January, is expected to be ready for training camp.
TE Brandon Pettigrew - Tore his ACL in December. Did not participate in OTAs. Probably headed for PUP.
RB Stevan Ridley - Limited participation in OTAs; injury undisclosed, severity unknown
WR Corey Fuller - Underwent foot surgery in early June. Could cause him to miss the cut.