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News » Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-10


Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-10


Detroit Lions Strategy and Personnel 2009-04-10
The Lions are starting from scratch after suffering through the NFL's first 0-16 season. They have a new coaching staff, and coach Jim Schwartz said the Lions evaluated their players as they would any other team in the league -- no background, no biases. He said every player on the roster will have a clean slate and a chance to start.


There are more holes on defense than there are on offense. The Lions allowed 517 points last season, second-most in NFL history. Their secondary intercepted only one pass, and they cut the player who had the interception: cornerback Leigh Bodden. But the offense isn't exactly all set, either.

TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY

The Lions have focused on mid-level players in free agency. They aren't in a position to go after big-ticket players, though they added a five-time Pro Bowler, linebacker Julian Peterson, via trade. They have too many holes to commit too much money to too few.

On defense, the Lions have added at defensive tackle (Grady Jackson), cornerback (Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry and Eric King) and linebacker (Peterson, Cody Spencer). Jackson, Buchanon and Peterson are expected to start. Henry is expected to compete for a starting job.

On offense, the Lions have patched holes at No. 2 receiver (Bryant Johnson) and backup running back (Maurice Morris). They have signed two versatile offensive linemen who can compete at left guard and provide depth (Daniel Loper and Damion Cook).

TEAM NEEDS

1. Quarterback: This is the Lions' biggest-long term need. Daunte Culpepper is on a one-year deal and needs to prove he can recapture his old form. Drew Stanton and Drew Henson have a ton to prove, period. The Lions could take Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall.

2. Middle linebacker: This is the Lions' biggest immediate need. The Lions now have Julian Peterson to go with Ernie Sims on the outside, but they have no one in the middle. They could draft Aaron Curry No. 1 to play him there or grab a middle backer later. A top one might be available at No. 20.

3. Guard: After failing to acquire Derrick Dockery, the Lions signed Daniel Loper and brought back Damion Cook. But they still might want an upgrade. If they draft a left tackle No. 1, they could start him out at left guard or move Jeff Backus.

MEDICAL WATCH: Safety Gerald Alexander missed much of last season because of a fractured vertebra. Coach Jim Schwartz said Alexander is not ready to practice, and he didn't want to put a timetable on his return. Alexander said he was participating in offseason conditioning but didn't know when he would be able to participate in football drills.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--WR Keary Colbert joined the Lions late and didn't make an impact.

--RB Rudi Johnson did not regain his Pro Bowl form in Detroit. Unlikely to return.

--LB Paris Lenon was a smart, hard-working veteran but didn't make enough plays in the middle. Unlikely to return.

--C Andy McCollum filled in at center while Dominic Raiola was injured in 2008 and Lions ran the ball well. Still unlikely to return.

--WR Shaun McDonald didn't produce the same way after Mike Martz left.

--DT Langston Moore was a solid role player, but the Lions cut him once and have young defensive tackles.

--LB Ryan Nece was signed because of his experience in the Tampa Two, and the Lions are ditching the Tampa Two. Unlikely to return.

--CB Stanley Wilson never developed and spent 2008 on injured reserve. Unlikely to return.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)

--DT Shemiah LeGrande (not tendered as ERFA).

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--RB Aveion Cason: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--T/G Damion Cook: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--T George Foster: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--PK Jason Hanson: Potential UFA; 4 yrs, terms unknown.

--OG Stephen Peterman: Potential UFA; $15M/5 yrs, $5.5M guaranteed.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--DE Sean Conover (waivers Jets).

--CB Phillip Buchanon: UFA Buccaneers; $8.5M/2 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--OG Dylan Gandy: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--TE Will Heller: UFA Seahawks; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--CB Anthony Henry (trade Cowboys).

--DT Grady Jackson: UFA Falcons; $8M/3 yrs, guarantees unknown.

--WR Bryant Johnson: UFA 49ers; $9M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

--CB Eric King: UFA Titans; $4.25M/2 yrs, SB unknown.

--OT Daniel Loper: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.

--RB Maurice Morris: UFA Seahawks; $7M/3 yrs, SB unknown.

--LB Julian Peterson Trade Seahawks).

--LB Cody Spencer: UFA Jets; 1 yr, terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--CB Leigh Bodden (released).

--DT Shaun Cody: UFA Texans; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

--WR Mike Furrey (released).

--TE Dan Campbell (released).

--LB Anthony Cannon (released/failed physical).

--OL Jon Dunn (released/failed physical).

--QB Jon Kitna (traded Cowboys).

--OG Edwin Mulitalo (released).

--FB Moran Norris: UFA 49ers; $5M/3 yrs, $1.5M SB.

--QB Dan Orlovsky: UFA Texans; $9.15M/3 yrs, $2.4M SB.

--TE John Owens: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.

--DT Cory Redding (traded Seahawks).

--DE Corey Smith: UFA (presumed deceased in boating accident).

--S Dwight Smith (released/failed physical).



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

Corey Smith Name: Corey Smith
#93
Position: DE
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: North Carolina State
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