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Posts tagged with "Detroit Lions"

Falcons owner Arthur Blank discussing his plans before the Lions’ game on Sunday. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com) 

Falcons owner Arthur Blank stood next to head coach Dan Quinn on the field during the National Anthem before Sunday’s game with the Detroit Lions.

Defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe elected to kneel while holding hands with defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel (standing to the right of Jarrett) and Adrian Clayborn (standing to left of Poe).

Eight members of the Detroit Lions elected to kneel also.

“It’s just a physical and symbolic representation of what I said yesterday,” Blank said before the game about standing with his team.

Blank was fine with whatever the players elected to do.

”What they do is their choice,” Blank said before the game. “I’m supportive of our players. I’m certainly supportive of their rights to express their freedom of speech. I don’t think…the people that fought for this country going back several hundred years primarily weren’t fighting for geography. They were fighting for way of life, and part of that is reflected in the freedom of speech and the ability to speak up and speak out on issues.

Blank was not pleased with the comments of President Donald Trump about players who have elected to kneel during the National Anthem.

“It’s unfortunate that the president chose to go in that direction and speak out the way he has,” Blank said. “Love conquers and that kind of divisiveness and calling out accomplishes nothing, satisfies nothing.”

Blank was not one of the seven NFL owners who dontated $1 million to Trump’s campaign. Blank was a strong supporter of  President Barack Obama.

Players around the league have been protesting social and racial injustice in the country.

“The issues that they point to are legitimate issues,” Blank said. “They need to be talked about it. We need to make progress as a country moving forward with them. We don’t do it by creating walls. We don’t build walls. That doesn’t create better listening or better responses or connections.”

Blank noted that the Falcons are one of the busiest teams when it comes to doing community service.

“I think our players love this country,” Blank said. “They not only play this game, but they work their fannies off physically and financially giving back in a variety of ways to our communities throughout the national football league. We are the first to step up and do very significant things. They do it day in and day out. I see it every day with our players.”

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Arizona Cardinals data is beautiful against Matthew Stafford.

Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals will open the 2017 season on the road to face the Detroit Lions. There are a lot of storylines surrounding the game, but the most recent being the Lions’ face of the franchise, Matthew Stafford, receiving a five year extension making him the highest paid player in NFL history.

The Arizona Cardinals have faced Stafford four times throughout his career since he was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Detroit Lions.

Throughout the four meetings between the Stafford led Lions and the Cardinals the Lions have a 0-4 record.

While Stafford has been able to accrue high stats throughout his career and continues to set record paces to surpass passing yardage records, three of his four meetings with Arizona were subpar and his performance has trended down in the last three meetings.

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The ESPN Patriots beat writer has some interesting ideas about the team.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss has an interesting idea on how the New England Patriots will replace the loss of WR Julian Edelman and the release of EDGE Kony Ealy: go outside the organization.

Reiss acknowledges that both Austin Carr and Devin Lucien are “coming up most often in discussion” by Patriots fans, but notes that “both of those players are more likely to be practice-squad considerations.” If the team adds depth at wide receiver, “it is more likely to come from outside the organization.”

He goes on to note that rookie Harvey Langi and Adam Butler are his favorites to make the team as edge defenders behind Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise, but adds “I still think the Patriots add an edge player from outside the organization.”

So Reiss thinks that the Patriots could add both a wide receiver and a pass rusher from another organization after roster cut downs. Why not look at the Detroit Lions?

We spoke with PrideofDetroit.com’s Christopher Lemieux prior to the third week of the preseason and he actually listed pass rushers and wide receivers that could interest the Patriots.

At wide receiver, Jace Billingsley, T.J. Jones, or old friend Keshawn Martin could become available and they could add important depth to the roster. On the edge, Alex BarrettPat O’Connor, and Jeremiah Valoaga could all interest the Patriots as developmental options.

There will be plenty of players available in the next week or two as teams have to cut rosters down to 53 players by 4:00 PM eastern on September 2nd. Look for veterans that could step in and contribute, too.


Reiss also has details of LB David Harris’ contract playing time incentives.

“The two-year, $5 million deal signed by Patriots linebacker David Harris this offseason includes $750,000 in playing-time incentives,” Reiss writes. “He can earn $250,000 if he plays 60 percent of the defensive snaps, and an additional $500,000 if he plays 80 percent of the defensive snaps.”

Those incentives will be tough for Harris to reach. LB Dont’a Hightower (67.9%) was the only linebacker to exceed 60% of the snaps last season, and only LB Jamie Collins (70.1%) accomplished the feat in 2015. Both Collins (84.9%) and Hightower (76.6%) broke the barrier in 2014.

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The Patriots tried to add a veteran to their pass rush. It didn’t work out. Here’s why.

The New England Patriots released EDGE Kony Ealy on Saturday. Here are my thoughts.

1. The Patriots acquired Ealy in exchange for dropping eight places in the draft, or for what was the equivalent of the 147th overall pick– an early fifth rounder. While the Patriots have a history of retaining a lot of their (very rare) fifth round picks over the years, the cost to acquire Ealy did not make him a roster lock.

Ealy joined an inexperienced, unlikely, and crowded competition at the position as the Patriots transitioned to their odd-man defensive front. Not only was he competing with incumbent defensive ends Trey FlowersRob Ninkovich (who ultimately retired), and Geneo Grissom, but he also faced rookies Derek Rivers (now injured), Deatrich Wise, Harvey Langi, and Keionta Davis; strongside linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Shea McClellin; and defensive linemen Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler.

With Flowers, Wise, Hightower, Van Noy, McClellin, and Guy near-roster locks, Ealy was trying to earn a roster spot over Grissom, Langi, Davis, and Butler. He simply didn’t outplay Langi or Butler and that was enough for the coaches to go in a different direction.

2. The writing was on the wall for Ealy when he didn’t play until late against the Detroit Lions, and as he trailed Flowers, Van Noy, and Langi in the depth chart. With Wise, Hightower, and McClellin all expected to make the roster, Ealy was apparently far down on the depth chart.

So when the Patriots played Ealy and Butler late in the game, it might have been the deciding factor between the two. Both faced the Lions back-ups and for as solid as Ealy looked, Butler looked much better and is much more versatile as a player. Butler also offers more upside as a young player.

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The Tennessee Titans can make a deal with the Detroit Lions.

This weekend it was announced that Detroit’s left tackle Taylor Decker will be out for 4-6 months as he recovers from a shoulder injury. This could be a big deal for the Tennessee Titans.

So, why would this be a big deal for the Tennessee Titans? Well, if you have read some of my earlier posts you know that I believe the player on the roster with the best chance of getting traded is Dennis Kelly.

Kelly is a starting caliber tackle, but the Titans already have two great tackles in Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan. With the lack of talented offensive tackles, this makes him very valuable in the NFL.

While Jon Robinson would love to have Kelly as a third tackle, I also think that he understands that value. That could be a big reason why they drafted Brad Seaton in the 7th round.

Seaton has a very similar profile to Kelly being a huge offensive tackle that projects to coming in as a 3rd OT. While Seaton probably isn’t ready to play OT full time yet, he has all the tools you look for and a great coach.

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The 2017 NFL Draft may be over, but that didn’t stop Alabama State University tight end Brandon Barnes from reaching his goal of being a professional athlete.

Barnes was one of 12 free agent signees for the Detroit Lions.

Brandon Barnes exemplifies perseverance after all he has been through,” Alabama State head coach Brian Jenkins said. “He is truly a phenomenal athlete and we wish him the best of luck in his professional career.”

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound native of Phoenix City, Ala., donned the black and gold jersey all four years at tight end. He amassed 436 yards on 29 receptions in 39 games. During that span he found the endzone four times. His biggest season came during his junior campaign when he played 11 games and caught 13 balls for 199 yards and three scores.

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Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin’s injury concerns didn’t matter to the Detroit Lions, who took him in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.

There were questions about Jalen Reeves-Maybin‘s NFL draft status after he missed most of his senior season with a shoulder injury.

The former Tennessee star linebacker’s talent answered them, though.

The Detroit Lions selected Reeves-Maybin, an All-SEC performer and team captain for the Vols, in the middle of the fourth round with the 124th overall pick on Saturday afternoon.

Reeves-Maybin starred on special teams as a freshman for the Vols in 2013 before becoming a defensive stalwart as a sophomore. He recorded two straight seasons with at least 100 tackles to lead Tennessee in the category in both seasons. In 2015 Reeves-Maybin recorded 105 tackles, six sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four pass break-ups.

After electing to return to Tennessee instead of entering the draft last season, Reeves-Maybin endured a final season to forget.

He underwent shoulder surgery last spring and was ejected in the first half of the season opener against Appalachian State. He made 13 tackles in Tennessee’s win against Virginia Tech before hurting his shoulder against Ohio while covering a punt. He tried to play the following week against Florida, but couldn’t go and wound up undergoing another surgery.

At the NFL scouting combine in March, Reeves-Maybin only did position-specific drills, but he showed more of what he can do with a strong showing at Tennessee’s pro day.

Reeves-Maybin became the fourth Tennessee player taken in the 2017 draft after defensive end Derek Barnett (14th overall), running back Alvin Kamara (67th) and Cameron Sutton (94th).

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With the 21st overall pick, the Detroit Lions select linebacker Jarrad Davis.

The Detroit Lions needed help in a big way along their front seven on defense, and help is now on the way.The Lions selected Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis with the 21st overall pick in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft.

It turns out Lions general manager Bob Quinn and his staff did a lot of homework on Davis, including a trip down to Gainesville for a private meeting and workout.

“I felt like we did a really thorough job and got a player that is really going to help us,” Quinn said. “It’s a player we targeted, it’s a player we wanted and we were fortunate to get him.”

Davis notched 60 tackles, six tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and two sacks for the Gators last season, despite missing four of the team’s last five games, including the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2 with an ankle injury.

As a junior, Davis had 98 tackles (11 for loss), 3.5 sacks and four pass breakups playing the entire season.

After sitting out of the NFL Scouting Combine to give his injured ankle more time to heal, Davis wowed scouts, coaches and personnel people at his pro day with his testing and on-field workout.

Davis (6-1, 238) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, had a 38.5 inch vertical and 10’9’’ broad jump at his pro day.

Quinn said Davis has position versatility, and can play both the WILL and the MIKE in Detroit’s scheme.

“He’s a passionate football player,” Quinn said. “He’s got very good playing speed. Very good tackler. Good blitzer. Good coverage player. This guy is a really well-rounded linebacker. As a freshman, he was the Special Teams Player of the Year for Florida when he was a backup linebacker. So he’s got four-down value. I think he’s a real well-rounded guy with position versatility.”

Davis said he was comfortable playing both the MIKE and WILL, but played more MIKE. It sounded like it was his position of preference.

“I played strictly MIKE all the way through my junior and senior year,” Davis said via conference call. “To play that and lead the defense and have an opportunity to make almost every play, every snap, being in the middle of the defense, it was a position I really enjoyed and really thrived on.”

Davis is a sideline-to-sideline run defender with explosive closing speed, and should be a three-down player in Teryl Austin’s defense.

The Lions signed veteran linebackers Paul Worrilow and Nike Bellore in free agency this offseason, but Quinn knew he had to add young talent to that group at some point early in this draft.

“It’s a position where I really think you need a guy in the middle of your defense that can be looked upon to call the defense, hopefully become a leader in time, and really be that gel between the secondary and defensive line,” Quinn said. “It was a position of need, for sure.”

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Colin Kaepernick has found a home – in the Motor City.
Kaepernick, who has spent his entire NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, has reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $16 million. According to sources, he will compete for the starting quarterback job with Matthew Stafford.
Kaepernick made news last season by boycotting the national anthem, taking one knee during its playing before kickoff. He has been much maligned for his choice.

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One of the biggest criticisms of the Detroit Lions 2017 draft class is that they didn’t select a runningback. The Lions had a chance at landing some of the top backs in the class, but decided the current crop of Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, and Dwayne Washington are more than serviceable. Or maybe not.

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reports the Lions are one of two teams in play for former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. From Robinson:

LEAGUE SOURCES SAID AT LEAST TWO TEAMS ARE SQUARELY IN PLAY FOR BLOUNT NOW THAT THE DRAFT HAS ENDED: THE DETROIT LIONS AND NEW YORK GIANTS, TWO FRANCHISES THAT ARE STILL MULLING THE ADDITION OF A BELL-COW RUNNING BACK TO EAT UP SOME EARLY-DOWN AND SHORT-YARDAGE CARRIES NEXT SEASON.

Blount, 30, has been on a lot of Lions fans radars the entire offseason. The Lions sturggled picking up first downs in short yardage situations last year, and there may be no better 3rd-and-short runningback in the league then Blount. He is also a beast near the goal line, evidenced by his league-leading 18 rushing touchdowns last season. To put it in perspective, the Lions have only had 16 rushing touchdowns combined the past two seasons. His 3.9 yards per carry last season would have rated him second on the Lions behind Abdullah, who carried the ball just 18 times last year.

There should be an err of confidence for Lions fans seeing as how Detroit does offer a better chance to win than the Giants do, and Blount would have a clearly defined role here in Detroit, and a sizable one at that.

 Blount would offer a nice change of pace and a three-headed monster of him, Abdullah, and Riddick in the backfield is something that no opposing defenses want to see. We’ve already spent our offseason upgrading the offensive line, which should help the running game regardless, but being able to convert those 3rd-and-4th-and-ones will extend drives, keep the defense off the field, and add wins.

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