Detroit Lions 2008 Preview PT 1: Backs, Tight Ends and Receivers

John ShullCorrespondent IJune 23, 2008

The Detroit Lions fresh off of another losing and disappointing season look to enter the 2008 campaign on the right foot.

To do that, they will need a capable QB, solve their issue at RB and find a way to get their well drafted WR duo of Williams and Johnson the football.

The Lion's offense ranked 19th overall in the NFL last year for yards posted. Only in three games did the Lions post scores over 30 points.

And who could forget that six-game losing streak where the offense averaged 20 points per game and the defense gave up an average of 34 points.

But we are not talking about the defense this article, that will be a writing event of its own!

What are the three most important steps the Lions offense needs to take to finally get over the hump and get to the play-offs?(and this is up for argument!)

Number 1: Jon Kitna needs to be a leader.
Too many turnovers last year and he is supposed to be a leader? We will see how many wins he gives the Lions this year after another 10-win prediction. Do not talk the talk, if you can not walk the walk!

Number 2: Run 30%, pass 70%
If I am Jim Colletto, I am thinking that I have Tatum Bell and Kevin Smith at the RB position. Or if I am Jim Colletto, I am thinking that I have Roy Williams, Mike Furrey and Calvin Johnson at the WR position.

Number 3: Utilize Kevin Smith and Calvin Johnson
You did not draft them both with high picks for nothing. Kevin Smith could be a thousand-yard rusher and Calvin Johnson will be the No. 1 WR for Detroit.

Those are my personal three things and like I stated before, those are up for argument! Now to the 2008 Detroit Lions Preview, lets start with the Quarterbacks first! Names are in depth chart order.



No. 8 Jon Kitna: Will start for the Lions once again, but will have Stanton and Orlovsky on his back if he does not come through.

If I was a betting man, I would say that Kitna will be in the top five in Passing Yards and Passing TD's, but top three in turnovers and interceptions.

No. 5 Drew Stanton: Just drafted out of Michigan State. If he was at a successful college program, who knows how many titles and how many accolades he could have won.

Look for Stanton to get some playing time this year as he should be the QB of the future for the Lions.

No. 6 Dan Orlovsky: Will continue to be the best headset wearing sideline QB in the NFL!

If you are an Orlovsky fan, buy season tickets to the pre-season, because that is as much action as he will receive this year.



No. 28 Tatum Bell: Will provide an experienced and shifty sense of ability to a backfield that has not been a real backfield since the days of Barry Sanders.

No. 36 Aveion Cason and No. 44 Artose Pinner: Two running backs who have seen their days but who still could provide a couple of game-changing long runs. Cason will get more carries than Pinner based on Cason's ability and agility to make one guy miss and take it to the house.

No. 34 Kevin Smith: I personally am very excited to see this young man's debut. Though I do not think Smith will have very many carries this year, if he waits a year or two he will get his chance.

No. 29 Brian Calhoun: Calhoun is a tough, big back who can provide some explosive power. Unfortunately in my opinion the Lions are looking more for a finesse back this year than the likes of T.J. Duckett once again.



No. 40 Jon Bradley: A good durable fullback who can catch out of the backfield and is a truck at 6-0, 301 pounds. If he is not an NFC Pro Bowler, he should be disappointed.

No. 45 Jerome Felton: A rookie out of Furman who will only see action if Bradley and a number of running back's get hurt.


No. 11 Roy Williams: 64 catches for 838 yards and five TD's last year. If healthy, expect to see 100 catches, 1200 yards and 15 TDs.

No. 81 Calvin Johnson: If Calvin Johnson can have the same numbers as last year and stay healthy, then expect the duo of Williams and Johnson to be heard alot on Sports Center.

No. 87 Mike Furrey: Explosive and fast, it will be interesting to see how Furrey reacts without Mike Martz around at the three slot.

No. 84 Shaun McDonald: Surprisingly enough this six-year vet out of ASU lead the Lions in catches and yards last season. Do not expect to see those same numbers if Johnson and Williams are healthy.

No. 17 Kenneth Moore: An unproven rookie out of Purdue. It should be interesting to see if Moore can squeeze some valuable playing time as the three or four WR.

Other WR's: No. 12 Reggie Ball; No. 19 Ron Bellamy; No. 15 Greg Lee; No. 10 Brandon Middleton; No. 16 John Standeford.



No. 89 Dan Campbell: Fresh off of an injury, I personally expect to see Campbell have 40-50 catches and prove to be a costly threat over the middle this year.

No. 45 Sean McHugh: Got thrown into a position last year at the tight end position that was unfamiliar, McHugh a former FB will battle with Casey Fitzsimmons as the number two tight end.

No. 82 Casey Fitzsimmons: Played in all 16 games last year but only started five. Could be a very disappointing year for Fitzsimmons if he does not open some eyes early.

Other TE's: No. 86 Michael Gaines; No. 83 John Owens; No. 85 Buck Reed.


That wraps up the Backs and Tight End's preview for the 2008 Detroit Lions. The next preview slated for a future release will focus on the Offensive Line and Defensive Lines!



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