The Associated Press
DETROIT LIONS (7-9)
OPEN CAMP: July 28, Allen Park, Michigan
LAST YEAR: Lost first five games and seven of eight, leading to team president Tom Lewand, general manager Martin Mayhew and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi getting fired. Won seven of last nine games, helping coach Jim Caldwell retain job for third season, under first-year general manager Bob Quinn.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: WRs Marvin Jones and Jeremy Kerley, rookie OT Taylor Decker, rookie DT A’Shawn Robinson, OG Geoff Schwartz.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: WR Calvin Johnson, RB Joique Bell, DE Jason Jones, LB Stephen Tulloch, CB Rashean Mathis, SS James Ihedigbo.
CAMP NEEDS: QB Matthew Stafford has to work on chemistry with receiving corps without Johnson, especially veteran newcomers Jones and Kerley. Detroit must figure out how to protect Stafford better and to open more holes for running game with reshaped line that includes Decker as highly touted, first-round pick. Defensively, coaches are hoping any DE — perhaps Devin Taylor — emerges to start opposite rising star Ezekiel Ansah. Lions also need DT — ideally, Robinson — can be paired with veteran Haloti Ngata.
EXPECTATIONS: Lions had losing record in seven of Johnson’s nine years. They will be projected to have another sub-.500 season without retired superstar drawing double-coverage on almost every snap. Quinn, first-time GM, will not be under pressure to win right away. Caldwell, though, will have to show new boss he can help franchise move in right direction.
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