This week WhoDatDish will sit down with the other side to find out the inside scoop on the Detroit Lions. Both teams need this win as the regular season is coming into the last quarter. This is the behind the scenes look with an editor that lives right there in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Q1: How confident are the fans feeling after the big win against the Minnesota Vikings last week?
I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of confidence, but more of a cautious optimism. Matt Stafford has been so good late in games that it’s not hard to expect him to come through. So in that sense, there’s some confidence. The Lions are in good shape right now, but one loss and you’d see a lot of skeptical fans ready to jump off the ship. If Detroit can beat the Saints, however, I think fans will really start to buy into this team.
Q2: It seems like WR Marvin Jones was a huge pickup in the offseason. How has his presence helped?
Marvin Jones has been worth every penny since signing in Detroit. He’s slowed for the historic pace he was on through five games, but he still leads the team with 730 receiving yards. The best thing about Jones is that Stafford doesn’t feel the need to get him the ball, but the defense still has to account for him. He opens things up for everyone else and when teams take him away, Anquan Boldin, Golden Tate, and Eric Ebron have stepped up.
Q3: Matthew Stafford has only five interceptions this year. Is there anything that you’ve seen since the offseason till now that has brought those interceptions down?
Stafford has cut down on the interceptions since 2014 when Jim Caldwell took over as head coach. For some reason, Caldwell just hasn’t gotten the credit for helping Stafford. Jim Bob Cooter has been phenomenal as offensive coordinator along with Stafford maturing as a quarterback in now his eighth year. It’s a combination of all three factors in my opinion.
Q4: How would you say the players from the draft class has worked out so far? Any surprises or disappointments there?
I would say Bob Quinn is probably happy with the early return on this 2016 draft class. Taylor Decker has been solid at left tackle, outside of the occasional rookie moment. A’ Shawn Robinson started slow, but flashed the elite talent he showed at Alabama. Safety Miles Killebrew was quiet until two weeeks ago when he played an outstanding game. The biggest surprise is probably third-round pick, Graham Glasgow, the center/guard out of Michigan. He stepped in for a struggling Laken Tomlinson and has played really well at left guard. Nobody has been great, but most look like solid picks so far.
Q5: There have been quite a few wins by tight margins this year. Has this been a focus this year to close out games in the 4th quarter? Is there more confidence going down the stretch when the game is on the line?
The players talk all the time about how Jim Caldwell has them practice impossible late-game situations. So in a sense, you could say they are more prepared for these situations when they arise in the actual games. I think the confidence simply comes from having seven comeback wins under their belt. Stafford has always thrived in the two-minute drill where he is allowed to freestyle and just make plays. The Lions tend to play more conservative to keep the game close and try to go win it at the end. It’s a lot like the way the 2011 Broncos won with Tim Tebow, except Stafford is a much better quarterback obviously.
Q6: Score Prediction?
This is a game I thought was a loss before the season began but Detroit seems to be on a roll. Drew Brees has been playing out of his mind lately and the Lions haven’t been great on the road this season. But still, I think the Lions win another close game. Lions 31, Saints 30.
You can follow Matthew Urben at @Matturben88 and @SideLionReport