To get a scouting report of the Seahawks' opponent this week, the Lions, I talked with Pride of Detroit editor Jeremy Reisman, who broke down the state of affairs for Detroit. Here's what he had to say.
1. The Lions have gotten off to a slow start and are surprisingly 0-3. Can you point to one thing, or a few things, that have been the biggest issues for Detroit thus far?
The biggest issue for the Lions has been the offensive line. Detroit lost their best interior lineman, Larry Warford, in the middle of the preseason and is just now getting him back to full health. Additionally, the right tackle position has been an absolute mess. The Lions have ceded the most quarterback pressures in the league and have the worst running game in the NFL. It all starts up front.
2. Golden Tate was a fan favorite here in Seattle while he was a Seahawk -- how have fans embraced Tate and is it viewed as a successful signing?
Tate won the fans over quickly in Detroit. While Calvin Johnson struggled through injuries in 2014, Tate single-handedly kept the offense afloat. Tate enjoyed his best season ever with the Lions last year, and his exuberant attitude easily endeared him to the fanbase. Initially there were questions about how much the Lions shelled out for Tate, but 99 receptions and 1,331 yards later, Tate silenced the doubters.
3. The Lions saw some changes on defense this year with the departure of Suh, Fairley, and Mosely -- how have they been replaced and how have they performed?
On paper, the Lions actually did a formidable job replacing all of the departures along the defensive line. Ndamukong Suh was replaced with Haloti Ngata, the hard-to-motivate Nick Fairley was replaced with the up-and-coming Tyrunn Walker, and the Lions added rookie Gabe Wright to fill in whenever needed. However, it has quickly become apparent that replacing Suh is much easier said than done. The defensive line has taken a big step back, as quarterback pressures are way down, and the run defense -- while still formidable -- is nowhere near as dominant as it was last season.
4. What's your scouting report on Matt Stafford? How has he played, what are his strengths, and what are his weaknesses?
Stafford has played okay given the circumstances of the offensive line. He has been running for his life, but has actually done a pretty decent job avoiding sacks. However, he has come under criticism for not properly reading the defense and adjusting the protection before the snap.
Stafford's strengths are his ability to make throws that only 10% of quarterbacks can make, and when given time, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate are his biggest strengths. Stafford really struggles when protection breaks down, however. He's prone to poor decisions under duress, and he won't make you pay with his feet.
5. What are the biggest keys to the game from Detroit's POV? What do they have to do to go into Seattle and get a win?
The Detroit Lions absolutely need to get the running game going against Seattle. Coming into the game, Detroit is averaging just 45 rushing yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry. If the Lions are able to somehow get something going on the ground, it may give Stafford some time to throw the ball, and get the offense back on track.
Defensively, the Lions really need linebacker DeAndre Levy to return. Levy practiced for the first time this week since the preseason and he really adds a dimension to both the run and pass defense. With Suh gone, Levy is now the biggest playmaker on that side of the ball, and it has been a rough road without him.