As the Lions and Jets prepare to battle this Sunday, a huge factor in the matchup could come to a decision made much earlier this offseason. Both teams entered the offseason with a very similar needs, namely cornerback and wide receiver. While each team elected to more or less ignore their cornerback problem, both made big splashes at receiver. Eric Decker was thought to be the top pass catcher on the market, but it was the Lions who struck a deal first, electing to sign Golden Tate away from the Seahawks. Head coach Jim Caldwell notes that Tate was their first choice from the beginning, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
“I can tell you that Golden was our prime target and we’re glad he’s here,” said Caldwell. “Decker obviously is a fine football player and does a lot of things extremely well.”
Decker is questionable for Sunday, but expects to play. reports Brian Costello of the New York Post.
Here are some other notes as we draw closer to Lions vs. Jets at MetLife Stadium Sunday:
- While both teams addressed receivers in the offseason, they both failed to improve their situations at cornerback. Each team boasts a top end run defense, with a shaky secondary susceptible to big plays downfield. While answering fan questions on Twitter, Michael Rothstein of ESPN was asked about cornerback Champ Bailey‘s status as a free agent. Both the Jets and Lions could use help at the position, but neither has had any concrete connection to Bailey in 2014. Rothstein believes this could be an indication that Bailey may not have anything left in the tank (via Twitter).
- Lions’ tight end Joseph Fauria injured his ankle on Wednesday, leaving the team with only two players at the position on the active roster. While Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron should be able to cover for Fauria’s minimal production, it could change the way the team attacks the Jets’ defense. The team will be forced to use more three wide receiver sets unless they decide to promote tight end Jordan Thompson or fullback Emil Igwenagu, who has played tight end, writes Rothstein. They could also consider increased roles for fullbacks Jed Collins and Montell Owens.
- The Lions run defense has been great through three games, with defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley getting most of the credit. However, Jason Jones has been a huge part of the team’s success, writes Mike O’Hara in his game preview for DetroitLions.com.