Lions pre-game mailbag: Getting ready for the Ravens and the trade deadline
Our Detroit Lions are 5-1 and are entering one of their toughest matchups on the year with the Baltimore Ravens on tap. Going on the road to Baltimore won’t be easy but the vibes are high in the Motor City right now. The Lions feel look like a team that can beat anyone so we’ll see what happens against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. With that, I wanted to open my Twitter to Lions fans to ask me anything for a pre-game mailbag prior to the Lions/Ravens tilt in week seven. Let’s dive into your questions!
Q: Who do you think the Lions keyed in today at Ohio State/Penn State? — @GodComplexion
A: Love this question because there was so much talent in this game. Certainly, the Lions had their eyes on wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. It’s unlikely he ends up being selected by the Lions in the 2024 NFL Draft but crazier things have happened. Aside from him, they definitely were watching Kalen King from Penn State.
The talented cornerback is a Detroit native. He played high school football for Cass Tech and has been fantastic this year. Prior to this game, he had only given up 9 receptions for 93 yards this season. He seems like a potential first round corner that could fit the Lions.
Another top name is Penn State offensive tackle Olu Fashanu. There’s a chance he’s the first offensive tackle selected next spring but if he’s not and there’s a run on other players, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions targeted this long and powerful offensive tackle.
Lastly, the Lions should have definitely circled the name Adisa Isaac. The Penn State defensive end is listed at 6’4″ and 254 pounds. He’s got a blend of power and explosiveness to his game. If the Lions are looking for another edge rusher to pair with Hutchinson, this could be an underrated fit for them.
Q: All I hear is trade talk. There any realistic deals to be had for Holmes? — @legendjc13
A: I love the speculation around the trade deadline. Most years, not much happens around the deadline. Recently, there’s been some deals that occur. The Lions have shown that with the Hockenson trade last season.
That said, I don’t see them making a trade for big names such as Brian Burns, Danielle Hunter or Davante Adams. We can just stop with that. I’d be surprised if the Broncos parted ways with Patrick Surtain II and I don’t think the Lions are interested in Jerry Jeudy.
That leaves a pool of players that could be damaged goods. However, if there’s any team that can get the most out of a player, it would be Detroit. Even if it’s for the second half of the season. If I had to guess on a player that could use a change of scenery, I’d say New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes.
During his tenure with the Giants, he’s been used sparingly and has only started 11 games over his four-year career. Currently, he’s on the final year of his four-year rookie contract. Going into this season, he took a pay cut to stay with the Giants. However, he’s only played 28 defensive snaps this season but he’s only given up two receptions so far. With Emmanuel Moseley being done for the year with a torn ACL, I wonder if the Lions would be interested in trying to add some depth to their secondary for the second half of the season.
Q: In your estimation, should the Lions get wins against the Ravens & Raiders to stretch the winning streak to 6 before the bye week? — @MrEd315
A: I do think the Lions win against the Ravens and the Raiders. They won’t be easy games by any means but I think the Lions can pull off wins in both games and enter their bye week with a 7-1 record.
Against the Ravens, the Lions obviously have to enter the mobility that Lamar Jackson has but if they can force him to make a few bad throws, it could be enough to force a turnover or two. Meanwhile, the Lions offense is clicking. It doesn’t matter who is on the field. They just get after it. I think Gibbs, LaPorta and Williams have strong performances against the Ravens.
Q: How will Glenn scheme for Jackson? — @JosephPanteluk
A: This is the million dollar question this week. It’s well known that the Lions struggle with more mobile quarterbacks. But the Lions showed what can happen if they can contain quarterbacks that can move around and extend beyond the pocket with their 21-20 victory over the Chiefs this season. Patrick Mahomes was held to 45 yards rushing and he only had 226 yards passing.
For Lamar Jackson, he’s only hit that passing yardage (over 226 passing yards) total twice this season. The Lions defense gives up 221 yards passing per game so if they can keep him in the pocket and limit his ability to run, the Lions should be able to find success on defense.
The key will be having defensive ends playing with patience and at the heels of the offensive line to help contain the quarterback. Meanwhile, the Lions will need a second level defender to be able to patrol the middle with the ability to come down and meet Jackson in space. Could it be Brian Branch? I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. It’ll be tough but it’s manageable.
Q: Hey Russ, what do you think is the Lions biggest weakness? — @bdrfab
A: Really good question here and I’m going to go back to what I said during the summer. It was concerning when the Lions only carried two running backs on their roster. Regardless of how good the Bucs run defense was a week ago, we saw the drop off in talent with their backfield without Montgomery and Gibbs.
While I love what Craig Reynolds provides from short yardage to special teams, I think the Lions should have looked at adding another back to their roster in the off-season. They’ll run with what they have but with how run focused the Lions are, it’s somewhat concerning that Montgomery and Gibbs have both been banged up through six weeks. For that playoff push, the Lions will need that rushing attack. Let’s hope they can get healthy.