Each week, I contact the editor of the FanSided team blog the Ravens are playing that Week. This week I wrote five questions to Zac Snyder, editor of the Lions blog SideLionReport. Read what he has to say about the game and more.
1. The Lions built a reputation last year of being undisciplined and were labeled criminals due to numerous on and off the field issues. Do you think they’ll make an effort to fix this this year or continue to embrace an “us against the world” mentality?
It is definitely a point of emphasis with the coaching staff and they have the kind of veteran leadership necessary to make sure the message gets across to the entire roster. They’ve already taken action in releasing Aaron Berry who proved himself incapable of taking the team’s message to heart. They only have one preseason game under their belt but they were able to keep from shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.
2. Calvin Johnson is on the Madden Cover this year. Do you think he’ll be affected by the legendary Madden Curse?
It will have as much of an effect on CJ as the blue football the NFL is using this year. What? There is no blue football? Ah, doesn’t exist, just like the Madden curse. The Madden Curse conspiracy theorists have twisted and stretched what defines the curse that it is laughable that anyone takes it seriously. I broke down all the previous Madden cover guys to show the folly of the whole thing earlier this year: http://sidelionreport.com/2012/04/02/its-time-to-put-the-madden-curse-to-rest/
3. Who are you most looking forward to watching this season and who do you think will be the biggest sleeper?
The Lions were widely chided following the draft for not addressing their need at cornerback until the third round. It turns out the Lions may have played the draft perfectly as Bill Bentley has been impressive in training camp and came up with an interception in the first preseason game. He’s had a few ups and downs during camp, as to be expected from any rookie, but he has the early look of a player that could help the Lions this year and in the future.
4. With recent injuries to Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure, the Lions backfield has a lot of question marks. How do you think it will look come regular season?
I’m having a hard time maintaining any sort of optimism that Jahvid Best will be able to play as soon as the regular season starts. Mikel Leshoure got back to practice this week after taking some time off due to a hamstring issue that came up as a result of compensating for his previously hurt Achilles. His two-game suspension to start the regular season makes it very likely that Kevin Smith will be the starting running back week one against the Rams. Keiland Williams and Joique Bell are the primary guys fighting for a spot at the end of the Lions’ running back depth chart.
5. What are some things to watch for during Friday night’s game?
The Lions’ first team offense didn’t click they way they would have liked when in limited action last week so it will be interesting to see if they can have a better performance against the Ravens. Keiland Williams and Joique Bell both looked good in the action they got so watch to see if one vastly outperforms the other to gain a leg up in their competition. The Lions showed impressive depth at defensive end last week and I think Ravens fans will be surprised to see that in preseason game number two.