1) The Lions looked great in the first half against Arizona and not so great in the second half--the exact opposite of the Redskins. Are you concerned that the offense is too reliant on the passing game and opposing defenses can kind of adjust to it?
The Lions were rolling offensively until Reggie Bush left the game. At that point, it seemed like their game plan went out the window and they just didn't know what to do. They only had one decent drive after that, and it ended with a blocked field goal. It was a lot like what we saw out of the Lions last year. They struggled to run the ball, and drives ended with a three-and-out more often than not. Losing that weapon in Bush really hurt them, especially in the pass game since he had been such a reliable target on third down. The most concerning thing was how reliant they were on Bush for any kind of consistent success on offense.
2) What happens if and when Reggie Bush can't go? Your team looked drastically different without him in the game.
Bush really changes how defenses can play the Lions. Last year, for example, defenses were so threatened by Calvin Johnson and unworried about the Lions' run game that they didn't feel the need to ever really load up the box. Their main focus was always the passing game and Johnson in particular. With the addition of Bush, we still saw more of the same in the Lions' Week 1 game against the Vikings. However, the difference was that Bush had the skills to make the Vikings pay for how they decided to play against the Lions. He gained nearly 200 total yards in that game, and the Lions didn't need to rely on Johnson at all en route to a 34-24 victory.
The Lions do have a solid backup running back in Joique Bell, who has really emerged over the course of the last year or so as a legitimate option in the backfield. He's better as a complement to Bush than the main running back, though. He's not on the same level as Bush in terms of his ability to make plays, and that was evident in the second half last Sunday. If Bush is out this week, the Redskins will likely be able to take their chances with focusing most of their attention on the pass game and making the Lions try to beat them on the ground.
3) Which kind of "unsung" player on your defense needs to assert himself against the Redskins this week to give Detroit the best chance to win?
Defensive end Willie Young started ahead of Ziggy Ansah in each of the Lions' first two games. Young turned another solid preseason into a starting role, and he has 5 tackles and 1.0 sack through two games. He also has one awfully timed illegal hands to the face penalty that wiped away an Ansah fumble and recovery from last week's game. That would have really turned the tide in the second half, but the penalty gave the ball back to the Cardinals and ultimately led to points that were key to Arizona's comeback. Young has to start playing a bit smarter, and he needs to more consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
4) Which offensive sets give your defense the biggest problems, and what do you think the Redskins should be able to execute well this week on offense?
The biggest concern right now for the Lions on defense is the right cornerback position. Chris Houston is a decent No. 1 cornerback on the left side, but the Lions keep switching between rookie Darius Slay and veteran Rashean Mathis at RCB. Jim Schwartz has said that he simply made a call to the bullpen in each of the first two games by benching Slay for the more reliable Mathis, but at some point the reliever may need to be given a spot in the starting rotation. Mathis has been much more consistent than Slay, who is clearly experiencing the growing pains of being a rookie cornerback in the NFL. With nickelback Bill Bentley having a rough game last week as well, RGIII could put up some big numbers if he chooses to pick on certain defenders.
5) Excluding Barry Sanders and Jon Jansen, who is your all-time favorite Lion and why?
The easy answer for current players is Calvin Johnson, and for former players I'm tempted to go with Jason Hanson, who just retired earlier this year. But I'll say Chris Spielman. Admittedly, he was a bit before my time considering he was drafted by the Lions two years before I was born, but he was an outstanding player, a great leader and an even better person off the field. The only negative is he went to Ohio State and not my alma mater (Michigan), but I'm willing to overlook that considering what he brought to the Lions.