Titans corner back Cortland Finnegan intercepts a pass. Photo Credit: Gary Ashton/Tennessee Titans
After finishing 22nd in the league in total pass defense last season the Detroit Lions will have different coaches in the secondary in 2012.
The Lions announced on Monday that they have hired Marcus Robertson as an assistant secondary coach and have promoted Tim Walton to Secondary/Third Down Package coach.
Robertson, an all-pro safety in 1993 and 97, replaces defensive assistant Brandon Fisher, who will join his father, Jeff, with the Rams next season.
Walton will oversee the team’s third down package on defense, an area the Lions ranked third in the NFL last year. They allowed teams to convert on third down only 32.7 (67-of-205) percent of the time.
Detroit Lions fans will have to wait a little longer than usual to see who they draft in the 2012 draft.
Detroit has the No. 23 pick in the draft, the lowest pick since the 1992 draft when the Lions selected defensive end Robert Porcher out of South Carolina State with the No. 26 overall pick.
Most have identified the Lions biggest needs at offensive line and defensive back but Detroit has been known to surprise in the draft. (i.e. Calvin Johnson (2007) and Nick Fairley (2011).
Below are what various experts project the Lions to do:
Lions reciever Calvin Johnson makes a touchdown catch against Green Bay on Jan 1. Photo Credit: Ray Tannock
Ninety-six catches, 1,681 yards, and 16 touchdowns.
Those were the numbers put up by Detroit Li0ns wide reciever Calvin Johnson during the 2011 season.
Today, in honor of his amazing season, he received the Bobby Layne award which is given to the Lions Offensive MVP.
In 2011 Johnson became only the third player in NFL history to have at least 95 catches,1,600 yards, and 15 touchdowns in a single season. He joins former NFL receiver Randy Moss as the only player to have 1,600 plus yards and 16 touchdowns in a season.
Johnson finished with three 200-yard receiving games in the Lions’ last four games, including a 211-yard, two-touchdown performance in the playoff loss to the Saints. He also had nine catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns against Oakland on Dec. 18 and 11 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay on Jan 1.
Johnson made his second straight Pro-Bowl in 2011 but will not play due to an injury.
The offensive MVP award is given in memory of quarterback Bobby Layne, who sparked the Lions to three NFL Championships and four Western Division titles during the 1950s, including back-to-back championships in 1952 and 1953. He established virtually every career passing record, including attempts (2,193), completions (1,074), yardage (15,710) and touchdown passes (118). Layne was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees drops back for a pass. Photo Credit: Michael C. Herbert/ New Orleans Saints
The 2011 season was a great one for the Detroit Lions.
They won 10 games for the first time since the 1995 season. They went to the playoffs for the first time since the 1999 season, and had two players, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, set team records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, and recieving touchdowns.
But that season came to an end Saturday night when the Lions lost an NFC wildcard playoff game 45-28 to the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
In front of a raucous crowd, the Lions (10-6) jumped out to a fast start,taking their opening possession 85 yards on eight plays and scoring on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to tight end Will Heller.
New Orleans Saints receiver Robert Meachem (17) and running back Pierre Thomas (26) celebrate a touchdown during the Lions and Saints first meeting on Dec. 4. Photo Credit/Michael C. Herbert/ New Orleans Saints
When the Lions and Saints played earlier this season,Detroit hurt themselves by committing 11 penalties for 107 yards en route to a 31-17 loss that dropped the teams record to 7-5.
The Lions (10-6) need to play mistake free football if they are going to change that result when they play the Saints for the second time in an NFC wildcard playoff game Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The game will be the first playoff game for Detroit since the 1999 season.
Detroit is coming off of a thrilling 45-41 loss at Green Bay in the regular season finale. A game in which they gave up 550 yards of total offense and allowed back-up Packers quarterback Matt Flynn to throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns , both Packer records.
Joique Bell runs the ball his senior year at Wayne State University. Photo by Tom Gorman/Wayne State Athletics
The Detroit Lions made another change to their constantly changing backfield when they signed running back Joique Bell off of the New Orleans Saints practice squad.
The move was made official today after the Lions made room on their roster by releasing running back Aaron Brown.
Bell, a Benton Harbor, Mich. native , grew up a Lions fan and is excited to play for his hometown team.
He played college football at Wayne State University where he won the 2009 Harlon Hill award for the most outstanding player in Division II. He rushed for 2,084 yards and 29 touchdowns that season.
He played in eight games between the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts last season but did not record a carry.
Reciever Calvin Johnson makes a catch in front of Chargers safety Eric Weddle. Photo Courtesy of Gavin Smith/ Detroit Lions
For the first time since the 1999 season, the Detroit Lions will be in the NFL playoffs.
Detroit (10-5) clinched the birth in dominating fashion Saturday afternoon defeating the San Diego Chargers (7-8) 38-10.
“There will be a time that we wont celebrate getting into the playoffs,” head coach Jim Schwartz said. “But its not going to be tonight, its been a long time coming and its something that we haven’t done for a long time. It was really nice to do it at home.”
The Lions dominated the game from start to finish and led 24-0 at halftime. The offense was rolling from the first play of the game when quarterback Matthew Stafford completed a 46-yard pass to Calvin Johnson.
“Our plan was to come out and be aggressive,” Stafford said. “This was a great team win, for us as a team, the city of Detroit and the fans its an awesome thing.”
Receiver Calvin Johnson breaks away from Raiders corners DeMarcus Van Dyke (23) and Matt Giordano (27) at the Oakland Co. Coliseum on Dec. 18. Photo Courtesy of Leon Halip/Getty Images
There will be plenty at stake when the Lions and Chargers face off Saturday at Ford Field.
Detroit (9-5) can clinch it’s first playoff birth since the 1999 season when they lost in the first round to the Washington Redskins.
San Diego (7-7) needs to win to stay in the AFC playoff conversation. The Chargers may be the hottest team in the NFL having won their last three games. They are coming off of a 34-13 drubbing of the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 18.