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St. Louis Rams Vs. Detroit Lions: Preview Q&A With Pride Of Detroit

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Getting the inside info from Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation community for Detroit Lions fans.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With just four games remaining in the St. Louis Rams' 2015 season, I linked up with Jeremy Reisman from Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation community for fans of the Detroit Lions, to get the insider look at just who the Rams are facing today.

I know you're limited somewhat on length here and this is a question you could probably go 10,000 words on, but what happened between last year's 11-5 Lions and this year's team? Obviously, the dropoff in the defense stands out primarily. How much of that down to Ndamukong Suh's departure?

The difference can almost completely be contributed to the defense's slow start. The offense was bad last year and it was a little worse this year, but the defense was no longer keeping them in games early on. Ndamukong Suh's exodus certainly had a big part in it, but so did the losses of Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosely, and George Johnson, all significant contributors on the defensive line in 2014 who played somewhere else this season. Throw in a season-long injury to DeAndre Levy, regression from old players like Stephen Tulloch and Rashean Mathis, and you're left with a completely different defense.

Perhaps the most maddening part of this team is the defense has finally found its footing and has played lights out since the bye. But when you start 1-7, it's too little, too late.

Offensively, what do you guys do well this year? What needs to be improved in the offseason?

The offense has been a real work in progress all year. Since firing the offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi earlier in the season, the Lions offense has seen minor improvements. The best thing this offense does is involve its running backs in the passing game. Theo Riddick leads all of the league in running back receptions and both Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah are real threats out of the backfield, as well.

There's a lot to improve in the offseason, but number one with a bullet is the offensive line. Lately, they've protected Matthew Stafford better, but the running game continues to struggle. There are almost never any visible running lanes, which is a shame considering the Lions' talented backfield.

Same as #2 but on the defensive side.

Defensively, the Lions are finally starting to defend the run like they did last year. In 2014, Detroit only allowed 69.3 rushing yards per game. Over the past four weeks, the Lions have allowed an average of 58.0 rushing yards per game and less than 3.0 yards per carry.

As far as improvement, the Lions could benefit from more talent along the defensive line. Aside from Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions has not generated much pressure on the quarterback.

Matt Stafford has two years left on his contract. Is he playing well enough to remain the unquestioned starter or is there any rumbling among the fan base that there's a need to grab a young backup option?

I would have had a much different answer for you six weeks ago, but Stafford's recent play has essentially cemented his status as the starter for 2016 and probably for the remainder of his contract. However, when the Lions fired their president and general manager back in October, there were some rumors that Stafford's job was also in jeopardy. Considering how poorly the offense had been playing, it was easy to sway the fan base. But given the way Stafford's contract is structured and considering his mid-season turnaround, it's unlikely the Lions will move on from him any time soon (nor should they, in my opinion).

How much of the year one success has Jim Caldwell squandered in year two? Obviously, it's tough to deal with a downturn. Is the fan base confident in Caldwell and the front office to get back on track by next year?

Caldwell has nearly squandered all of his good graces. After a 1-7 start, Jim Caldwell somehow managed to win back some of the fan base with a three-game winning streak, but for a lot of fans, last week's Hail Mary was the last straw. Caldwell's game management has always been in question, but his decision to not put his Hail Mary personnel out for the final play against the Packers was inexcusable. Now most fans are searching for his replacement.

The Lions will likely be hiring a new general manager shortly after the season's end, so no one really knows what happens next. It wouldn't be unprecedented for the new general manager to keep Caldwell and his staff around for at least one trial year, but as the mistakes continue to mount, that begins to look less and less likely.

Thanks to Jeremy for the time.