Five things to watch: Lions at Jaguars

Owner Sheila Hamp was awarded the game ball from the Lions only win this season at practice this week.

Will she add another ball after Sunday’s game at the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Actually, the game ball is not a concern, but beating a 1-4 team at their home stadium tops the list.

If the 1-3 Lions, coming off a bye, can’t beat the Jaguars will coach Matt Patricia still be the coach next week?

That’s the biggest question and it’s legitimate.

Of course Patricia knows the situation. The players do too.

“For us, every week, we’re just trying to go out and compete and win and do everything that we can to get better. We come in, and we do our job. That’s what we do,’’ Patricia said on a Zoom meeting this week. “I don’t think you get into anything other than that, and you don’t ride that wave. You just try to go out and do the best you can that week.”

OK, then.

Five things to watch as Lions face Jags:

1. The offense has come out red hot, but can’t keep the fire going after the first quarter. It’s a bit of a mess. It has been lifted by a stronger ground game (thanks to Adrian Peterson), but can do better. They took a closer look at themselves and the team during the bye week.  “As far as things we can do better – I think a little bit of everything,’’ Matthew Stafford said on a Zoom call. “You look at it obviously we can be a little better in the red zone, I think we can be more efficient, more explosive, all of it. I think we’ve done a nice job in the run game, that can always be better. I think we just look at everything and find ways to make ourselves and our team better.’’

2. The 1-3 record is not all on the offense. The defense has failed to pressure quarterbacks. Sacks aren’t the be-all, end-all for a defensive line but they are an indication of whether the line is effective. In four games, the Lions have sacked opposing QBs just five times (they got to Drew Brees twice) while Stafford has gone down a dozen times. Not a great ratio.

3. Jags quarterback Gardner Minshew has played well even though they’ve lost four straight. He’s thrown 10 touchdown passes against just four interceptions, completing 69.9 percent of his passes. “I think he’s done a great job of showing that he can really be quite dynamic in the passing game. We know he’s athletic. He has a very strong arm. He does a good job with the deep balls, (he has) some phenomenal skill players around him that can run vertical, get open, big-catch-radius guys. He has that element of athleticism so they can mix in some of the read-option stuff with him too, and certainly the extended plays that he gets out of the pocket on scrambles are outstanding,’’ Patricia said. The second-year QB will pose a challenge for the Lions secondary which will be without cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring). D.J. Clark, the Jags’ top receiver is questionable with a sprained ankle.

4. Guard Joe Dahl is back after recovering from a groin injury and could get the start at center. Center Frank Ragnow (groin) was listed as questionable in Friday’s report but did make the trip to Jacksonville. If Ragnow is a go, then Patricia has to decide whether to let Dahl or Halapoulivaati Vaitai start at right guard. “I think it’s great for us to have our guys healthy and get back out there and compete. Certainly, Joe has been working really hard to get back on the field and he’s got to get out there and practice and kind of get back in the swing of things, but we know how good of a guard he is, and we know how good of a player he is for us,’’ Patricia said.

5. All the talk about consistency and execution is swell, but we’ve heard it for years. Years. Time to put it to work and beat the Jags. No more excuses.

Prediction: Lions 27, Jags 24.

Detroit Lions camp: Kenny Wiggins on O-line competition, facing Mike Daniels

 ALLEN PARK — Guard Kenny Wiggins, for one, is happy to have Mike Daniels as a newcomer on the Detroit Lions roster.

The Lions announced on Saturday that they have signed the veteran Pro Bowl defensive end who was released by the Green Bay Packers before camp.

Wiggins, who is battling for a starting role at guard, vividly remembers the first time he faced Daniels.

“My third start ever at Green Bay when I was with the Chargers. He gave me a little fit, we ran 93 plays that game, which is a lot, and a lot of them were passes,’’ Wiggins said. “That was fun. No sacks though.’’

Daniels will add to a formidable defensive line that includes Damon “Snacks” Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, Trey Flowers, Da’Shawn Hand and Romeo Okwara.

Wiggins said they should have some good battles at camp between the offensive and defensive lines.

“It’s going to make us better, it’s only going to make the whole team better too,’’ Wiggins said. “I would say the games are won up front. Iron sharpens iron. So whoever comes out on top one day, the next day we’re going to get better, we’re going to come out and get better and be better as a total unit.’’

Wiggins started 10 games at right guard for the Lions last season when T.J. Lang was injured. With Frank Ragnow moved to center from left guard and Lang retired both guard spots are up for grabs in camp. Graham Glasgow and and Joe Dahl are also in the mix along with veteran Oday Aboushi.

“We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football and all of us have great depth and that’s a good thing to have,’’ Wiggins said. “Whoever gets the nod — it’s up in the air right now so who knows — we’re just out here competing trying to get better.’’

Saturday was the third day of camp, but the first day in pads 

“Once the pads come on that’s when camp starts for me, just out in pajamas before then,’’ Wiggins said. “This is camp now.”