PFW: Lions building depth from the bottom up

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There’s a great Lions article, written by Eric Edholm, now up at Pro Football Weekly.  He examines, position-by-position, the roster moves that have been made by the new Lions brass.  He points out that while the starting 22 aren’t all dramatically better, the twos and threes on the “nonexistent” depth chart are all light-years ahead of where they were a year ago.

This all fits in with head coach Jim Schwartz’s attitude and GM Martin Mayhew’s M.O. so far: upgrading every spot on the roster at every opportunity.  Back during the OTAs, Schwartz was asked about if improving the defense was a focal point: “Well, [defense] was a focal point, but it was one of three focal points. I mean, quite honestly, we needed to improve special teams and the offense also,” said Schwartz.  “People mention the Julian Petersons and the marquee-type names, but we've made a lot of improvements on the back of the roster also. When you replace the bottom five guys on the roster, you start moving up that way and you incrementally get bigger--and that's places you can improve from the waiver wire, picking up free agents that are late in the game. You can improve the bottom five of your roster a lot easier than improving the top five.”

As solid as many of the offseason acquisitions have been, the veteran starters acquired (e.g., Larry Foote, Grady Jackson, Anthony Henry, and Philip Buchanon) are older veterans, and not without question marks.  In fact, it’s almost inconceivable that all of them will start 16 games, play a full load of snaps, and be effective wire-to-wire.  It’s how well the rotational players handle being pushed into starting roles, and what the rookies and developmental players do with the rotational snaps they’ll get, that will really determine the Lions’ win total this season.

Discuss it here, in The Den!