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had one main focus: Calvin Johnson. Now, u
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In 2013, the Detroit Lions passing offence had one main focus: Calvin Johnson. Now, under the direction of new head coach Jim Caldwell, the Lions seek to find balance and take some pressure off the superstar wide receiver. The Lions once promising 2013 season was derailed by four straight losses to end the season at 7-9. Following the season, head coach Jim Schwartz was fired, Caldwell was hired, and the Lions looked to free agency and the draft to help their franchiser quarterback Matthew Stafford. In free agency, the Lions signed wide receiver Golden Tate, who led the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks in both receptions and yards last season. Then, the Lions used the 10th overall pick in Mays draft to take the top tight end available; North Carolina product Eric Ebron. Tate will open the season opposite Johnson on the starting offence, replacing the committee of Nate Burelson, Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree, who all saw time at the position last season. Despite missing seven games with a broken arm, Burelson led the group with 39 catches. Johnsons 84 catches for 1492 yards more than tripled the 490 yards of the next best receiver Durham. Ebron faces stiffer competition at the tight end spot. Brandon Pettigrew is entering his sixth season with the Lions and will likely hold on to his starting spot, while Joseph Fauria will also hold a spot on the offence after he excelled in the red zone last season; hauling in seven touchdowns. Where Ebron may benefit, is the lack of depth of the Lions receiving core. Ebron may lineup in a similar spot to that of Jimmy Graham of the Saints, seeing snaps in the slot receiver position. Ebron will have to beat out Ogletree for snaps in that role. No matter where Ebron lines up, Stafford is glad to new weapons to throw to in the Lions new offensive system. "Learning a new offence and learning new coaches, just getting to know them on both sides of the football. Learning new teammates. That part of it is fun," Stafford told the teams website in training camp. "Its a challenge, but were excited about it." A position of strength for the Lions last year, the team will again look to have their running backs heavily involved in the offence in 2014. Reggie Bush rushed for 1,006 yards last year and had 506 receiving yards on 54 catches, the second-most on the team. Bushs change-of-pace back Joique Bell rushed for 650 yards and caught 53 passes for 547 yards, second-most on the team.  The tandem combined for 15 offensive touchdowns. If the Lions can reignite the tandem of Bush and Bell on the ground and use their offseason additions to balance their passing attack, the teams offence will be worth fearing in 2014. Notes: Questions at Corner: The Lions were widely expected to use their first-round draft pick on a cornerback after cutting starter Chris Houston, instead the Lions added to their offence with Ebron. Houston was released after undergoing a toe surgery the Lions believed to be career-ending. He has yet to sign with a new team. At corner, second-year player Darius Slay is expected to start on one side, with veteran Rashean Mathis starting on the other. Slay started four games last season as a rookie, after being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. Mathis, a 12-year NFL veteran, started 13 games for the Lions last season. Bill Bentley, who started five games last season, and free-agent signee Cassius Vaughn could also push for starts. Last line of defence: Veteran safety Louis Delmas signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency, breaking up the Lions safety duo, which played together in all 16 games last season. Now, incumbent starter Glover Quin will be paired with free-agent signee James Ihedigo, who started all 16 games with the Ravens last season. Fairely disappointing: 2011 first-round pick Nick Fairley is slated to open the season on the bench after reporting to training camp overweight and performing poorly in the preseason. Fairley started 15 games in 2013, notching 35 tackles, six sacks and one safety. Veteran defensive tackle C.J. Mosley is set start beside All-Pro Ndamukong Suh on the Lions defensive line. Off White Air Max 90 Ice For Sale . The best round belonged to Pat Perez. Tiger Woods didnt come close to claiming either Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, where the seven-time champion failed to break par in the opening round for first time in his career. Nike Off White Presto For Sale .C. - The Panthers will be without starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei for Saturday nights NFC divisional playoff game against Seattle after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his foot. http://www.nike270-airmax.com/nike-off-w...dan-1.html . Defenceman Tessa Bonhomme was among three players released from the team Tuesday morning along with defenceman Brigette Lacquette of Waterhen, Man. Nike Epic React Flyknit 2018 .Y. -- Dwane Casey admitted hed been concerned about his young Raptors team who had zero experience playing in close-out games -- what awaited them with the vastly-experienced Brooklyn Nets, and how theyd react. Air Max 270 Midnight Navy . -- Get a flow chart ready to follow the Packers quarterback situation.The 2014 NBA Draft will be a historic one for Canadian basketball, with as many as seven players from Canada - three of them as high as the first round - possibly selected. In the days leading up to the draft, TSN.ca and TSN Radio basketball analyst Duane Watson looks at some of the names that will be headlining the event. Watch the 2014 NBA Draft on TSN, Thursday at 7pm et/4pm pt. Name: Khem BirchFrom: Montreal, QuebecPlayed: University of Nevada, Las VegasHeight: 69"Weight: 209 Position: Power Forward2013-2014 Stats: 11.5 points per game, 10.2 rebounds, 3.8 blocks Breakout Game: 15 points, 15 rebounds, 6 blocks assists in win vs. Boise State on Feb 1.Accolades: 2013-14 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, finished second in the nation in blocked shots per game.Draft Projection: Mid-late second round.Comparable NBA player: Chris Andersen Khem Birchs young basketball career has already been fuelled by some interesting decisions. Birch entered the NCAA ranks as the 11th-best high school player in the United States, and accepted a scholarship with the University of Pittsburgh. However, the Montreal native controversially left Pitt only 10 games into his freshman season. At the point of his departure, he earned a spot in the starting line up and showed glimpses of the defence and athleticism that made him a blue chip prospect. Yet after citing team issues of selfishness, he returned home to figure out his next move, which would eventually lead him to transfer to UNLV. Birch played two seasons at UNLV, his first coinciding with Toronto native Anthony Bennetts standout fresshman campaign that culminated in his first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.dddddddddddd Bennett outshined Birch with his dominant play and impressive stat line, yet Birch was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. This season with Bennett out of the picture, Birch almost doubled his scoring (7.5 ppg to 11.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg to 10.2 rpg) averaging a double-double, and again winning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year honours. Despite improvement across the board Birch is very much a raw athlete, and instead of spending another year at school to work on his offensive game, he declared for the 2014 NBA Draft. Birchs strength is his defence. His 71" wingspan placed him second in the NCAA in blocked shots behind fellow Canadian Jordan Bachynski at a clip of 3.8 per game. His quickness and mobility make him a strong rim protector and help defender where his tenacity on defence cant be overlooked, tallying 1.2 steals per game. Offensively, he can run the floor and moves well without the ball, but is very limited in terms of offensive moves. His inability to create his own shot, coupled with his slight build will make it hard for him to maintain position in the low post. Quite simply, Birch will have to bulk up, which will help him on the defensive end as well. A great athlete with a high motor equals lots of upside, yet hes still a project. If an NBA team wants to develop him and help round out his game, its not a risk, but a long-term investment. It would be an interesting choice, however thats something that Birch is not averse to. ' ' '
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