Oakland Raiders: The Belly Of The Beast – Q&A With Detroit Jock City


With the Oakland Raiders set to square off with the Detroit Lions in the Motor City, we wanted to whet your appetites by having a little Q&A session with writer Braden Shackelford of Detroit Jock City.

We sat down with Shackelford — virtually speaking, of course — to discuss the state of the Lions, their future, and how he sees the game against the Raiders playing out.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy this little trip into the belly of the beast…

1) A lot of people had high expectations for the Lions this season. Some believed they were a playoff caliber team. What is the biggest thing that’s gone wrong for Detroit this year?

"Play calling and the offensive line. Many national (and local) pundits want to place all the blame on the easiest target–Matthew Stafford–but the truth of the matter is that the offensive line hasn’t given him enough time to go through his progressions, or open up the run game. The play calling certainly hasn’t been helping Stafford much either, though it was better last week with interim offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter calling the plays."

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2) There’s been a lot of talk about either Stafford or Megatron — or both — not being in Detroit next season. What do you think that chances are of the Lions moving one or both of them? And what do you think of the team potentially moving one or both of them?

"This is literally the most frustrating topic. Matthew Stafford has all the talent in the world and he’s taken one of the most mediocre franchise’s in NFL history to the playoffs in two of the last four seasons–without a run game. Most teams in the NFL would KILL to have Stafford as their quarterback — look no further than the multiple first round picks that teams were reportedly ready to offer for Stafford had they known there was going to be a shake up in the front office.Calvin Johnson hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. The real issue to his lowered production is that the quarterback doesn’t have time to get him the ball.With all of that said, I’d say the chances that Stafford isn’t a Lion next season are slim-to-none. Now Johnson? Odds are that he will remain a Lion, but it’s entirely possible — because of his high cap number — that the new general manager decides to part ways with Megatron."

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3) The Lions have gotten rid of a lot of people so far this year. What are the chances that Jim Caldwell is back next year and do you think it’s the right move for the team? Does he deserve another year?

"Unless the Lions win out and somehow make the playoffs in the process, I’d say Caldwell is a dead man walking. New G.M.’s like to bring in their own handpicked guys. Plus, the expectation after 11-5 season and a playoff berth is that the team improves–not takes a dramatic step back."

4) What do you see as the biggest advantage the Lions have over the Raiders in Sunday’s matchup?

"Luckily, the Raiders pass rush hasn’t been as strong as it probably should be. If the Lions’ offensive line can keep the Raiders’ pass rush at bay, the Lions passing attack should really be able to take advantage of the Raiders’ suspect secondary."

5) What will be the biggest obstacle the Raiders pose to Detroit on Sunday?

"The biggest obstacle will be containing Derek Carr, Michael Crabtree, and Amari Cooper. The Lions have one healthy starting cornerback going into Sunday’s game. Nevin Lawson, who is filling in because of injury is listed as questionable for Sunday, which may mean that the Lions will be playing with their third and fourth string corners on Sunday."

6) What is your prediction for Sunday’s game — include the score! — and why do you see it playing out that way?

"I really see this game playing out one of two ways: 1) the Lions come out of the gate spitting fire, and look like the team we expected all season. Or 2) They look like the team that got blown out in London.I think the Lions probably come back down to earth after their surprising win in Green Bay a week ago, thanks in part the the injuries in the secondary, and the Raiders’ passing attack.Lions lose 31-17."

They say that there is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal. And the Detroit Lions are just that. At 2-7, they have very little left to play for this season and will likely embrace the spoiler role. The Raiders cannot afford to overlook this team. Though down this season, they still have an awful lot of firepower.

Next: Keys To Victory Over the Detroit Lions

The Lions played a spirited game — their best game this season — in Green Bay and came away with a win. If the Raiders don’t want to watch their playoff hopes completely slip away, they’d do well to learn from Green Bay’s mistake — not to mention their own mistakes this season — and avoid the trap the Lions are setting. Oakland needs to be focused and they need to treat this game as if it were a playoff game — because, it essentially is.

Our thanks to Braden Shackelford of Detroit Jock City for sitting down with us and having a good conversation. Don’t forget to check out DJC and follow Braden on Twitter for more news and information about Michigan teams.