2009 NFL Preview: #32 Detroit Lions

Check out all of our 2009 NFL team previews.

Offseason Additions: Julian Peterson (LB); Larry Foote (LB); Phillip Buchanon (CB); Grady Jackson (DT); Bryant Johnson (WR).

Offseason Losses: Leigh Bodden (CB); Shaun McDonald (WR); Mike Fuerry (WR); Shaun Cody (DT); Paris Lenon (LB); George Foster (OT); Dan Orlovsky (QB).

Player to Watch: Louis Delmas, S.
Delmas, the Lions’ second round pick this year, immediately started turning heads in OTAs and continued to impress coaches with his aggressiveness and tenacity throughout training camp (although he did miss time due to a swollen knee). The former Western Michigan product is already drawing comparisons to the Colts’ Bob Sanders, which is quite a compliment considering how accomplished Sanders is. Delmas isn’t afraid of contact and flies to the football. While he needs to develop his pass coverage skills, he might lead the Lions in tackles this season.

Team Strength: There isn’t one positional unit on this team that can be deemed a strength, although wide receiver Calvin Johnson is so good that he can probably carry the moniker on his own. Johnson is a phenomenal athlete and gives the Lions’ offense a dynamic playmaker at receiver. Opposing teams try to blanket him in coverage and he still finds ways to get open and come away with the ball. As long as he stays healthy (he missed two weeks of training camp with a sprained thumb), CJ is in store for another monster season, no matter whom the Lions wind up starting at quarterback.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Lions sign linebacker Larry Foote

According to Mlive.com, the Lions have reached an agreement with former Steelers’ linebacker Larry Foote, who will play middle linebacker for them next season.

Foote, who turns 29 next month, is hoping to eventually sign a more lucrative contract after this season turned down the two-year offer.

Foote, a seven-year veteran, was a full-time starter for the Steelers for the last five seasons and didn’t miss a game during that span. Foote’s tackling numbers have declined in each of the last four years, from a high of 102 in 2005 to 63 last season.

Now we know why Lions’ GM Martin Mayhew passed on a middle linebacker with the No. 20 and No. 33 picks in last month’s draft when USC’s Rey Maualuga and Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis were still on the board. Mayhew knew that the Steelers would eventually release Foote and that he wanted to come to Detroit, which is where he grew up and attended high school.

Mayhew has done a nice job in his first offseason with the Lions. He added talent via the draft in quarterback Matthew Stafford, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and safety Louis Delmas and he has signed quality role players in free agents Grady Jackson, Philip Buchanon and now Foote. Whether or not all of his moves will pan out is still up in the air, but Lion fans have to at least be pleased that Mayhew has a plan and is executing it.

Did the Lions pass on a linebacker because of Larry Foote?

Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com speculates that the reason why the Lions passed on a middle linebacker in last weekend’s draft was because they knew the Steelers would release Larry Foote shortly thereafter.

Let’s put a couple of factors together and see what we come up with — the Detroit Lions passed on a taking a middle linebacker in the first two rounds, Pittsburgh inside linebacker Larry Foote was just released in a widely anticipated move and Foote has not hidden his desire to return to Detroit and play for his hometown Lions.

Many Lions fans were surprised when the team passed on Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis and USC’s Rey Maualuga with the team’s No. 20 and No. 33 selections. It’s possible the Lions knew that Foote would be released soon and they might be in the running to sign him. Another factor why the Lions would pass on a rookie and try to get Foote — or another veteran — is the fact that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has a well-documented disdain for starting a lot of rookies at the same time.

Foote, who will be 29 in June, has played seven years in the league and has started the last five seasons and hasn’t missed a game due to injury in the last six years. He’s also helped the Steelers win a couple of those Lombardi Trophy things.

Foote graduated from Pershing High School in Detroit and already expressed interest in playing in his home state earlier this offseason. If Mayhew did pass on a linebacker in the draft knowing that Foote would be available soon thereafter, it was a clever move on his part and it would certainly help answer some questions regarding the Lions draft.

If the Lions do sign Foote, then the selections of Bradon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas in the first two rounds look pretty solid – especially considering both players were the top-rated prospects at their respective positions.

Of course, if Foote signs with someone else, then this move will backfire horribly because Detroit would be left with Jordon Dizon as their starting middle linebacker. And given that Matt Millen drafted Dizon, chances are the young man doesn’t have much upside.

Related Posts