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The beginning of the NFL regular season brings renewed hope for every team, but a few figures start the year in precarious situations.The upcoming season promises no shortage of intrigue. From the Buccaneers’ quest to become only the eighth team in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls to the continued ascent of young quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen to the development of this year’s rich rookie QB draft class and the continued dominance of defensive game-changers Aaron Donald, T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett, storylines abound.
The Detroit Lions are moving aggressively forward in their efforts to trade linebacker Jamie Collins, who appears to have played his last game in Detroit.
Lions coach Dan Campbell said Thursday that Collins will be away from the team while trade talks are ongoing and he hopes a deal is in place "sooner rather than later."
"We’ll see where it goes," Campbell said. "There again, we’re just letting this thing play out right now. We’ve got suitors right now. So certainly we’re hoping to have this done sooner than later, but we’re not necessarily putting a timetable on it either. We had open communication with Jamie. We sat down and told him straight up. He’s been good. He understands."
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Collins started the first two games of the season at inside linebacker, but has struggled in pass coverage dating back to last season, and does not fit into the Lions' long-term plans.
Rookie Derrick Barnes, a fourth-round pick out of Purdue, is expected to take on a significant defensive role in Collins' absence, though Campbell said Jalen Reeves-Maybin will see time at inside linebacker, too.
Barnes has played five defensive snaps in the Lions' first two games, all coming when Collins was receiving medical attention for an ankle injury late in a Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
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Barnes missed time this preseason with a strained hamstring but played well when he was on the field, including a six-tackle, one-sack performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"You saw it in the preseason and then even the limited snaps he got (against) San Francisco, you could see just his aggressive style," Campbell said. "He plays lights out, he can run. Look, he’s going to have some growing pains, things are going to come up. But he can make up for a lot just with his effort, too, which he’s done."
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Campbell was less complimentary when asked about Collins' effort earlier this week, but said Thursday the veteran linebacker has been a good teammate overall, losing weight in the offseason to fit the Lions' new defense and bringing the right attitude to work.
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Trading him, Campbell said, is about where the 0-2 Lions are as a team, where Barnes is in his growth as a player, and the lack of contributions Collins would be in position to make as a backup.
Barnes and Reeves-Maybin are two of the Lions' best special teams players, while Collins does not play on most special teams units.
"We’ve been through two games now and you just, you make your assessment and your judgment after two games and that’s where we’re at," Campbell said. "There again, we felt like if you’re going to grow and you’re going to try to get better as a team, as a unit, everything, you better do it now. And there again, I think this is best for Jamie as well. He gets a chance to go somewhere and do what he does and we’re just in a different place."
At 31 and with $3.3 million left on his contract this season, Collins will not be a fit for many NFL teams, though Campbell said he expects the Lions to find a suitor.
On Thursday, the Lions signed linebacker Josh Woods off the Chicago Bears practice squad. They did not immediately announce a corresponding transaction.
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32. Jaguars (Last week's ranking: 32): QB Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, the top two picks of the 2021 draft, respectively, will be forever tied together ... though being deadlocked for the league lead with five INTs after two weeks wasn't what these franchise saviors exactly had in mind.
31. Falcons (31): What does a team that's already been outscored by 49 points have to look forward to? Maybe Kyle Pitts becomes the first rookie tight end to surpass 1,000 receiving yards in the Super Bowl era (since 1966)?
28. Texans (27): Bad enough we have to see them on a national stage in Week 3. But now we have to watch third-round rookie QB Davis Mills replace perennially luckless Tyrod Taylor while Deshaun Watson continues collecting paychecks from his couch.
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27. Giants (30): The bad news? QB Daniel Jones, well as he played at Washington, dropped to 0-6 in prime time starts. Worse news? New York has two more Monday night games on the schedule. Worst of all? Those "MNF" dates are at Kansas City and Tampa Bay.
25. Vikings (24): Mike Zimmer called last season's defense the "worst" he'd ever coached, but this year's unit is threatening to lower the bar. The Vikings have allowed at least 24 points in nine consecutive games.
22. Eagles (22): No team in the NFC is running the ball better, but Philly couldn't finish Sunday. Among its nine drives were four punts, a blocked field goal, a failed fourth-and-goal and a kneeldown before halftime. Still, Eagles may have ingredients to be NFC East's dark horse.
21. Washington (21): Breaking a five-game losing streak to the Giants means the WFT will be undefeated in NFC East play for the next 12 weeks, at which point they'll conclude the regular season with five consecutive divisional matchups.
18. Chargers (13): Penalties (12 on Sunday), turnovers (2), screwy luck, gut-wrenching defeats – let's not expect rookie head coach Brandon Staley to change this organization's culture and history overnight.
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17. Broncos (15): They've knocked out two bad teams and face another one (Jets) in Sunday's home opener. Makes it hard to get a good bead on this Denver outfit, but winning games you're supposed to get is a clear step in proper direction.
15. Saints (5): Their dichotomous 1-1 start perfectly reflects QB Jameis Winston's Jekyll-and-Hyde mirror images. Coach Sean Payton better re-establish New Orleans' identity quickly – including RB Alvin Kamara's role – if this team is to remain playoff-caliber.
14. Panthers (23): Hey, Sam Darnold, how does it feel to be 2-0 for the first time since you were at USC? Backed by the league's top-ranked defense and going into Houston, good bet 3-0 is just around the corner.
13. Seahawks (6): Their early lack of balance is perfectly exemplified by Russell Wilson's ridiculous NFL-leading QB rating (146.9), and Seattle's last-place standing in the NFC West. Again, it's early. Very early.
12. Titans (19): Didn't take RB Derrick Henry long to vault back to the top of his customary place on the league rushing charts. He's currently the only player in the NFL who's exceeded 200 yards (240) and is on early pace for another 2,000-yard season, if only by virtue of the 17-game schedule.
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11. 49ers (11): Rookie QB Trey Lance went from four snaps in Week 1 to none Sunday. Advantage Jimmy Garoppolo? Or is coach Kyle Shanahan keeping something under wraps for Sunday night's home opener against Green Bay?
8. Steelers (8): Two weeks in and QB Ben Roethlisberger is already referring questions about the offense's struggles to new coordinator Matt Canada? Guess not much time for honeymoons during your last ride.
7. Ravens (18): QB Lamar Jackson has claimed another of Michael Vick's spots in the record book after hitting triple digits in both passing and rushing yards in a game for the ninth time. And Jackson edited in style while beating Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City for the first time.
6. Raiders (16): Admittedly, seems insanely high to rank them, even this early. But starting 2-0 against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, 2020 playoff teams, is more impressive than last year's 2-0 start against Carolina and New Orleans, one that fizzled with an 8-8 finish. Also, Derek Carr seems to be knocking on door of elite QB club ... even on a bum ankle.
4. Browns (4): Very premature to anoint RB Nick Chubb a future Hall of Famer – but he's doing gold jacket-type things. Chubb is the first Cleveland player since Leroy Kelly (Hall of Fame Class of 1994) to rush for a TD in eight consecutive games and first since Jim Brown (Hall of Fame Class of 1971) to run for at least 50 yards 35 times in his first four seasons.
2. Rams (3): This group, which handled the Bucs in Tampa last season before the eventual Super Bowl champs started their historic run, might have something to say Sunday about Tampa's perceived dominance when they lock horns at SoFi Stadium. Matthew Stafford's 127.0 QB rating is nearly 40 points above his career average.
1. Buccaneers (1): Evidence already mounting that this could be a historic team. QB Tom Brady is on pace to throw 77 TDs for crew that just became first to string together nine consecutive wins (including playoffs) while scoring at least 30 points in each. (Naturally, Brady was a member of the two teams that used to share that record, the 2007 and '10 Patriots.) The Bucs' overall win streak now stands at 10.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions put former Pro Bowl LB Jamie Collins on trade block: 'We’ve got suitors'
Detroit Lions' Anthony Lynn brushes aside speculation about USC coaching vacancy .
Anthony Lynn, who went 33-31 in four seasons as Los Angeles Chargers coach, has spent his entire 22-year coaching career in the NFL."My sister graduated from USC. I have half my family’s in California. A lot of guys I played with went to USC, so of course those guys have talked to me and that’s flattering," Lynn said. "But to be honest with you, I’m surprised something like this even went public. No, I haven’t spoken with USC at all. My focus is 1 million percent right here with the Detroit Lions.