Welcome to another installment of Enemy on the Ship, a series of articles where I am graciously given the time and effort of a writer or blogger for the teams the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face in 2013, and they share their thoughts on the team they cover, and how they’ll do against the Bucs in 2013.
For this edition we’re joined by Zac Snyder, editor of SideLion Report, who gave us some information about the Detroit Lions and how they’ll matchup with the Bucs this year. You can find SideLion report here, and you can follow Zac on Twitter here.
Leo Howell – The Detroit Lions were certainly not an impressive team last season, even with the amazing performances turned in by Calvin Johnson. What has changed this offseason to bring about an improved team in 2013?
Zac Snyder – The Lions had a sharp focus in the way they went about their offseason focus. Reggie Bush and Glover Quin were added as free agents based upon their particular skill sets and the defensive line has been, in part, rebuilt based on size and length. The Lions should be more dynamic on both sides of the ball as a result of what they did over the offseason.
LH – Calvin Johnson is obviously the star of the show. Take a moment and brag on just how good Megatron is, and give your take on how he’ll fare against the Buccaneers’ improved secondary.
ZS – I don’t think I need to brag, anyone who has seen Calvin Johnson play already knows what kind of a freak he is. The Bucs obviously made a heavy investment in their defensive backfield but Megatron can go for 10 catches and over 100 yards against anyone.
LH – The offense now has an exciting secondary option in Reggie Bush, who was acquired this offseason. Do you believe Bush can make a big impact on the Lions in 2013? Is he going to be a matchup nightmare for defenses focused on stopping Calvin Johnson?
ZS – Bush is the key addition with the loss of Jahvid Best. The Lions haven’t been the same offensively since Best went down midway through the 2011 season. With Bush in the fold, the Lions once again have a dynamic threat out of the backfield so that defenses have to worry about defending the entire field against the pass. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how big of a deal that is when opposing defenses also have Calvin Johnson to worry about.
LH – How will the Lions defense perform in 2013? Everyone knows about Suh and Fairley, so shed some light on the other players on the Lions defense, and how they’ll matchup against the Buccaneers’ balanced offense.
ZS – The Lions have replaced three of their top four defensive ends from a year ago so how they perform will have a huge impact on how the defense performs as a whole. The Lions defensive ends weren’t very effective rushing the passer or playing the run a year ago – two factors that will be critically important to stopping the Bucs. In adding Jason Jones as a free agent and drafting Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor, the Lions have added size and length that figures to translate into better results.
LH – Finally, how do you believe the Lions will do against the Buccaneers when they meet in 2013? Will the Lions pull off a victory, or do you believe they fall short of the quality required to best the Buccaneers?
ZS – I had a calm confidence heading into the Lions’ 2011 season opener in Tampa and I feel the same way about the ’13 meeting so far. That all changes if the Lions get off to a slow start to the season and let the wheels fall off as they did a year ago, or if they get caught looking ahead a week to the Thanksgiving Day game against the Packers, but right here, right now, I believe the Lions to be favorites in a home game with the Bucs.