Detroit Lions head coach, Jim Schwartz, has a lot to process before the start of the 2011 NFL season.
Not only does he have to navigate through the distractions and inconveniences that come with the lockout, but somehow through all of that, he needs to prepare his team to play football.
Every year, there are a handful of veteran players on every team that need to be cut. It might not be for any other reason than to create space for new players on the roster, but in some cases, it’s because they have been unproductive or reaching the end of the line.
Here are five players that Jim Schwartz might cut or trade away from the Detroit Lions before the season starts...
Brown spends his time as one of the Lions backup running backs and kick returners, but, if we are going to be honest, a majority of his time has spent on the inactive list.
He’s played in 21 games since being drafted by the Lions in 2009 and has registered 189 yards on 44 tries.
He hasn’t been impressive, and this year would be a good time to make some room on the roster for a more productive backup.
It’s my opinion that the Lions should use one of their later-round draft picks to find a big, bruising running back to put behind Jahvid Best in the lineup.
Best can’t handle the load on his own, and adding a bruiser in the backfield would really open things up for him.
Maurice Morris showed signs of productivity last season, so he will always be a good option to go to when Best needs a breather.
Dizon missed all of the 2010 season with an injury that he acquired in the preseason.
As much as you would want to give him a chance, this is a team that could be very close to changing the tide, and it might suit the Lions better to part ways with Dizon and start filling the depth chart with younger and fresher players.
The Lions have the opportunity to get much better at the linebacker position and have the options of doing it through either the draft of free agency.
There has been talk about the Lions going after Greg Jones of Michigan State. Jones’s stock has been dropping since the end of the season, so they might be able to steal him in the later rounds.
He would be an instant improvement.
Bryant Johnson has the unfortunate reality of being the "other Johnson" on the Lions. Even trying to compare the two would be unfair, so I’m just going to sum it up in one word.
Johnson can be hot at times, but those times have come few and far between. He drops far too many balls and seems to have a knack for making big drops in big moments.
Drive-killing drops plagued the Lions in 2010, and Bryant Johnson was the culprit more times than not.
The Lions should stick to what they are good at with wide receivers and find somebody to fill in from free agency.
The addition of Nate Burleson played a huge role in helping out Calvin Johnson last year. Now, they have to focus on finding a receiver to take some of the pressure off of Burleson.
Nate Vasher played his role well when the Lions brought him aboard last season.
He is a veteran presence and obviously knows what he is doing on the field.
The problem with Vasher is that his body is not keeping up with what he knows, and his veteran presence might not be enough to actually justify him being on the field.
The Lions are looking to get younger in the defensive backfield, and I can all but guarantee you that they are going to make it a priority in the draft.
Vasher’s got to go in order fo them to clear some room.
The Lions have made it clear that they are going to concentrate on finding a No.1 corner in the draft, and this could be the year to make it happen.
The 2011 draft is deep with cornerbacks, and there will undoubtedly be a player worth the first-round pick at No. 13.
Now, I know that Lion fans might not fully agree with letting Hanson go, but I urge you to logically think about it.
Hanson has been a Lion since 1992. He’s a great guy and arguably one of the best Lions of all time. It’s sad because it’s true but definitely not a knock on him.
He should go down as one of the best kickers that the NFL has seen, and in my eyes, he is a Hall of Famer.
Hanson is signed through 2012, but the fact of the matter is that he may be getting too old to effectively kick, and with the injury that he suffered last year, it could be the perfect time to move on.
I don’t know if he would consider retirement, but I think that the Lions can find a respectful way to deal with the situation. He has given his whole career to the Lions, and I think they should reward him well because of that.
Just not with playing time.
Dave Rayner was signed by the Lions when Hanson went down, and he filled in admirably by making 11-of-14 field goal attempts, including both game-tying and winning ones at Tampa Bay.
He is a proven veteran and has shown that he can make clutch kicks.