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Lions sign WR Chaz Schilens

Posted by ttwentyman on July 24, 2013 – 2:11 pm

Chaz SchilensThe Lions and receiver Chaz Schilens agreed to terms on a new one-year contract Tuesday after the five-year veteran worked out for the team at their Allen Park headquarters.

Schilens, 27, played for the New York Jets last season. In 15 games, he caught 28 passes for 289 yards and two scores.

He spent his first four seasons with the Raiders and has 100 career catches for 1,191 yards and nine touchdowns.

Schilens is a big body (6-4, 225) on the outside opposite Calvin Johnson. The Lions have been on the lookout for an outside receiver all offseason. They drafted Corey Fuller in the sixth round of April’s NFL Draft and dabbled in the free agent market.

Schilens will join Johnson, Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson in the rotation of pass catchers heading into the start of training camp on Friday.

He’ll have competition for that spot, though, with Fuller, Patrick Edwards, Mike Thomas and others.

The team was also considering signing Laurent Robinson and Steve Breaston.

The Lions are now at a complete, 90-man roster.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 19 Comments »

An early peek at the Lions’ 2014 schedule

Posted by ttwentyman on July 23, 2013 – 9:54 am

Fan excitementWith training camp just days away, Detroit Lions fans are just starting to get excited about the 2013 schedule.

But the NFL just released it’s annual Record & Fact Book for the 2013 season, which includes a partial 2014 schedule for the Lions.

The Lions will play teams from the NFC South and AFC East next year. They will host New Orleans and Tampa Bay from the South and will play at Atlanta and Carolina.

In the East, the Lions will host Buffalo and Miami and will travel to New England and the N.Y. Jets.

The Lions will host a to-be-determined NFC East team that finishes in the same place in their division in 2013, and will travel to an NFC West team for the second straight year.

The team will also play home and away games with Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota, like always.

Exact dates won’t be announced until the spring.

Lions’ 2014 schedule

Home:

  • Green Bay
  • Chicago
  • Minnesota
  • New Orleans
  • Tampa Bay
  • Buffalo
  • Miami
  • NFC East team

Away:

  • Green Bay
  • Chicago
  • Minnesota
  • Atlanta
  • Carolina
  • New England
  • New York Jets
  • NFC West team

Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 8 Comments »

Dominic Raiola: It’s Matthew Stafford or bust

Posted by ttwentyman on July 10, 2013 – 4:03 pm

Dominic Raiola has snapped the football to a lot of Lions quarterbacks over the past 12 years, but none of them have been a franchise-caliber quarterback like Matthew Stafford.

“This guy came in and was a Day 1 starter for us,” Raiola told Sirius NFL Radio Wednesday, after Stafford signed a three-year, $53 million extension.

“He took that and ran with it and took us to the playoffs (in 2011). He’s progressed well and really taken leadership of this team. That’s what franchise quarterbacks do.”

Stafford is now signed through 2017 with total compensation worth $76.5 million after the extension. It’s uncertain how many more years Raiola will be snapping the ball to him, considering he’s 34 years old and entering his 13th season. But Raiola knows his best chance at seeing a second winning season in his career is with No. 9 leading the way.

“I have a little closer bond with him and it’s well deserving,” Raiola said. “I’ve always said from the beginning that this guy was going to be the guy. It’s Stafford or bust for everyone (in Allen Park).

“He’s been the guy and what I saw this offseason is good stuff from him, so I’m happy for him.

“I texted him last night to congratulate him and his text back to me was, ‘Thanks, man, now lets go win.’ I think that says it all.”


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 36 Comments »

Lions agree to terms with free agent DE Israel Idonije

Posted by ttwentyman on June 25, 2013 – 1:29 pm

Israel IdonijeThe Lions significantly boosted the talent level along their defensive line Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with free agent defensive end Israel Idonije, 32.

The 10-year veteran spent the last nine seasons in Chicago, where he racked up 272 tackles and 28.5 sacks. He’s started 42 of the 48 games he played for the Bears the last three seasons.

He had eight sacks in 2010, five in 2011 and 7.5 last season.

The Lions needed to get more production out of their defensive ends in 2013 after only 15.5 sacks from the position a season ago.

The Lions signed free agent Jason Jones within the first 24 hours of free agency and drafted Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah No. 5 overall in April.

Like Jones, Idonije does have the ability to move inside and play defensive tackle. Per Pro Football Focus, he played 514 snaps at defensive end and 212 snaps at tackle in 2012.

Idonije (6-6, 275) will join those two and Willie Young as the likely top-four rotation for the Lions. Fourth-round pick Devin Taylor would make up the top 5.

It will be interesting to see where Ronnell Lewis, last year’s fourth-round pick, now fits into the rotation come training camp.

The Lions kept only five defensive ends on the Week 1 roster last season.

The team released defensive end Freddie Bishop to make room for Idonije on the 90-man roster.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 38 Comments »

Lions add experience to their secondary with signing of veteran safety Chris Hope

Posted by ttwentyman on June 24, 2013 – 5:00 pm

Chris HopePhoto: AP Images

The Lions have added more depth and experience to their secondary with the signing of veteran safety Chris Hope.

Hope, an 11-year veteran, has had previous stints in Pittsburgh (2002-05), Tennessee (2006-11) and, most recently, Atlanta last season, where he played in all 16 games with four starts.

A 2008 Pro Bowl selection, Hope has started 113 of the 163 career games he’s played in, including every game for the Steelers in 2005 when the team won Super Bowl XL.

The former third round pick of the Steelers in 2002 (94th overall) has 527 career tackles, four sacks, 20 interceptions, 50 passes defended, four forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

He joins a safety group that now includes Glover Quin, Louis Delmas, Don Carey, Tyrell Johnson, Amari Spievey, Ricardo Silva, John Wendling and Martavius Neloms.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was Hope’s defensive coordinator in Tennessee for three seasons from 2005-2008. Hope knows the Lions’ defensive scheme and Schwartz should be well aware of what he brings to the table.

Hope is a veteran presence in the back end of the Lions defense and could offer some security to the injury concerns of Delmas.

The Lions released WR Brian Robiskie to make room for Hope on the roster.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 9 Comments »

Lions sign TE Matt Veldman

Posted by ttwentyman on June 17, 2013 – 1:28 pm

veldman-body-061713Mini-camp might be over, but Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and Co. never take a break when an opportunity arises to improve the roster.

The team added another body to the tight end mix on Monday with the addition of Matt Veldman.

The Lions signed the former Jacksonville Jaguar to a contract following a workout in Allen Park on Monday.

Veldman (6-7, 255) was an undrafted free agent out of North Dakota State in 2012. He signed with the Jaguars following the draft, and was going to be their third tight end had he not torn his ACL in the preseason. He spent all of last season on injured/reserve.

He was released by Jacksonville June 11 to make room for quarterback Mike Kafka.

New Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson was the Jaguars tight ends coach last season, therefore very familiar with what Veldman brings to the table.

Veldman had 26 catches for 331 yards and three touchdowns as a senior at NDSU in 2011.

He joins Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, Michael Williams, and Joseph Fauria at the position on the Lions roster.

The Lions released tight end Dominique Curry to make room for Veldman on the 90-man roster.

 


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 22 Comments »

Calvin Johnson sees big things in Ryan Broyles’ future

Posted by ttwentyman on June 11, 2013 – 4:57 pm

Calvin JohnsonCalvin Johnson would love nothing better than one of his fellow receivers emerge as a true No. 2 option in the Detroit Lions offense to help take some of the pressure off his shoulders.

New running back Reggie Bush is going to help both as a runner and receiver. So would tight end Brandon Pettigrew returning to his 2011 form.

The Lions are hopeful that getting receivers Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson back healthy will make a difference, too.

Burleson is recovering from a broken leg and Broyles a second torn ACL.

Broyles, in particular, has a chance to really fill that void this season. A second-round pick last year, he has an opportunity to be a breakout performer from last year’s draft class. He was just coming into his own with a six-catch, 126-yard performance the prior week to tearing his ACL vs. the Colts.

He seems ahead of schedule in his rehab, already taking part in the team portion of practice in mini-camp.

“I’m not surprised because I see him on a daily basis,” Johnson said Tuesday of Broyles’ recovery. “We see his progression. He’s looking good and moving around good.”

The Lions thought Broyles, who finished his college career with 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns, was a steal in the second round of the 2012 draft. If not for the ACL injury, he might have been a first-round pick.

When 100-percent healthy, the Lions are expecting him to make a first-round type of impact this season. And so is Johnson.

“He has a good feel for the slot,” Johnson said. “He has a good feeling on how things are moving in there and he does good in there. He did a lot of that in college and he learns fast. He’s a smart kid and I expect more of that from him when he’s out there.”

That’s good news for both the Lions and Johnson in 2013.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 14 Comments »

Lions agree to terms with DE Braylon Broughton

Posted by ttwentyman on June 5, 2013 – 2:16 pm

The Detroit Lions continue to stay busy when it comes to tinkering with their 90-man roster.

The team agreed to terms on a new contract with defensive end Braylon Broughton on Wednesday.

The team released defensive end Robert Maci to make room for Broughton on the roster.

The Lions claimed Broughton off waivers last month after the New Orleans Saints released him, but subsequently released him when his physical was unsatisfactory. The Lions brought him back this week and he’s obviously passed the physical this time around.

Broughton, (6-6, 272) has been on the Lions radar for a couple years now. He had a pre-draft visit with the Lions before the 2012 NFL Draft, but entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of TCU.

He appeared in 40 games in college with 45 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two fumble recoveries.

He spent all of last season on New Orleans’ practice squad.

Broughton will join a group of defensive ends that includes: Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, Jason Jones, Willie Young, Ronnell Lewis, Devin Taylor, Freddie Bishop, and Spencer Nealy.

Note: The team announced Wednesday that it has released receiver Lance Long to make room for receiver Matt Willis, whom the Lions signed Tuesday.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 11 Comments »

Lions ink G Jake Scott to one-year deal

Posted by ttwentyman on June 4, 2013 – 9:36 am

Jake ScottScott is the second interior lineman the Lions have signed over the last two days. They signed veteran Leroy Harris to the roster on Monday.

Both Scott and Harris played in Tennessee when Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was the team’s defensive coordinator.

Scott has started at right guard for most of his nine NFL seasons with the Eagles, Titans and Colts. He started all 16 regular-season games for the Colts and Titans from 2005 to 2011.

Scott and Harris now join a suddenly crowded interior line group that also features veteran Rob Sims and third-round draft pick Larry Warford.


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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 18 Comments »

Report: DT Sedrick Ellis to visit Lions and Bears this week

Posted by ttwentyman on June 3, 2013 – 4:03 pm

Sedrick EllisThe Lions still have an opening for a defensive tackle to fit into their four-man rotation alongside Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley.

Veteran Corey Williams, who spent the last three seasons in Detroit, is still a free agent, but the Lions are reportedly exploring all options.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that free agent defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis will visit the Lions and Bears this week after a visit to New England last week.

Ellis, 27, was the No. 7-overall pick by the Saints in 2008. He’s started all 70 games he’s played in over the last five seasons and had 36 tackles in 2012.

His best season came in 2010, when he recorded 44 tackles, six sacks and forced two fumbles.

Note: The Lions released cornerback Lionel Smith Monday.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 7 Comments »