That's our old 'friend' C.C. Brown in chase mode on an Adrian Peterson touchdown run against Detroit earlier this season. We saw way too much of that last season, and maybe we can get a similar view this Sunday. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Sean took a few minutes away from studying for exams to answer my questions. Let's hope Sean has done better on his exams than the Lions do on Sunday. Anyway, here is the Q&A.
Big Blue View: Despite the 1-4 record, the needle seems to be pointing up for the Lions. What is the difference in this team from Detroit teams of the past few seasons?
Pride of Detroit: The main difference is that they actually have talent. On offense, the Lions are stacked with weapons like Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Even without Matthew Stafford, the Lions have played well enough to lead the NFC in scoring. (Yes, they got a TD on special teams and a TD on defense last week, but the offense is playing very well either way.) Defensively, the Lions have put together an excellent defensive line. Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril are all very talented and have formed a great unit together. The linebacker corps and secondary are still a bit shaky, but the Lions are getting good enough play out of those two units right now to keep games competitive rather than just be blown out of the stadium like in past seasons.
POD: C.C. Brown has had an up and down stay in Detroit. Early on in the preseason, he looked pretty good, but then he got banged up and has been dealing with a variety of injuries ever since. Even so, he has been serviceable as the complement to Louis Delmas at the safety position. He isn't great by any means and is prone to bonehead mistakes (two of which basically gave the Vikings touchdowns in that game earlier this season), but the Lions really don't have anybody else at safety and are surviving with Brown back there.
POD: The Lions' offensive line has actually looked pretty good this season when it comes to protecting the passer. Yes, there have been occasional screw ups (e.g. Matthew Stafford getting injured by Julius Peppers), but Shaun Hill made it a point to talk about how much time the O-line has been giving him after the Rams game. There was one play where Hill literally was able to sit back in the pocket for close to seven seconds before someone got open for a touchdown. He had all day to throw, which goes back to the solid play of the O-line. No, the Rams can't be compared to the Giants when it comes to the pass rush, but don't expect another Bears-esque massacre against Detroit.
POD: This one was easy: Antrel Rolle instead of C.C. Brown. While the Giants' defensive line is very talented, the Lions already have four solid D-linemen in their own right. The main weak spot on defense is still the secondary, but adding a guy like Rolle to go along with Louis Delmas would make for a very impressive safety combo.
POD: He is the real deal. Many didn't expect him to have such a big impact already, but he has exceeded the hype, if you can believe that. He is a menace when teams try to run in his direction. He can blow up opposing offensive lines and fight through double teams to get to the quarterback. He can intercept passes by tipping the ball to himself. And he even has an offensive package that sees him line up as a fullback. To say the least, he is a physical freak who is showing exactly why he was the No. 2 overall pick of the draft. He, along with some of the other guys that joined the Lions in the offseason, are why the Lions have one of the more impressive D-lines in football, at least in my view.