Thursday, August 21, 2008

Preseason Game 2 Wrap-Up

With the ever important third preseason game fast approaching, and the first cut-down only a week away, I decided to wrap up my general observations (due to time contraints) on the 2nd preseaon game, and overall impact on the final roster:

Cody has played OK, but still seems to be imitating the invisible man out there -- he is not making misakes, but he's not really making plays either.

At LB - Lenon, Lewis, Sims and Dizon are locks, while Davis is close. That leaves about 1 spot left open. Gardner has made a couple of nice ST plays, but Canon despite missing on one play, played better while in at LB than Gardner and contributed just a much on ST. Leon Joe is not practice squad eligible, but while he has looked pretty good, he is fighting against more than the LB for a roster spot.

ST coverage units looked great on the whole, and th return unit seemed to be improving outside fo one thing: Finding an electric returner. Cason is OK, I liked what I saw from Midddleton and Moore had a good return, but he hasn't shown enough elsewhere and should make it to the practice squad.

At WR, I'd like to see them find a way to keep Standeford and/or Middleton. Not so sure Middleton will make it to/is eligible for practice squad -- same for Standeford. Part of me, with McDonald and Roy W. having contracts up next year, would like to see them trade McDonald and keep sign one of the younger guys to keep around. Furrey, along with being a great wideout, is also a big contributor on ST and the kind of guy teams need more of.

On Dline, Cohen and Hardie looked pretty good for where they were drafted, but I think both will make it to the practice squad.

At CB, Ramzee Robinson had a heck of a game. A lot of the 2nd/3rd stringers got a chance to play against the Bengals starters/2nd team and Robinson made the most of this playing time showing that he has made progress. He may end up on the practice squad for another year though (I think he has one year of eligibility left.) -- my worry is that with how he is playing, a team like Tampa or Indy will be looking at snatching him off the wire. Cleveland and Dallas are short on CB as well, so I'm a little leery of letting even a halfway decent one go -- he's been showing good progress. Right now, based on in-game performance, I think Robinson has the edge if they keep 5 CB.

Greg Blue has to stay on this roster. His coverage skills are improving some, but on special teams and goal-line or short yardage running situations all he does on the field is consistently make plays. Blue's contract? Not too bad. Stuffing the run on 4th and 1? Priceless

The coaching staff, with how hard the team is playing from top to bottom, will have a hard time when it comes to the first round of cuts, much less the final cut to 53.

Speaking of guys improving, how about Drew Stanton? Is he progressing well or what? He also seems to be just the right type of QB for the new style of the offense the Lions are running. While concentrating on throwing versus running will come with time, he seemed to be a real gamer out there making plays and motivating the offense. There was definitely a zest to his performance out there that looked promising. Another year or two developing behind Kitna (this and next) and the Lions' future at QB doesn't look too bad.

I noticed after reading commentary that a lot of people blasted DanO. While I could see what they were saying, I think the coaches were intentionally pushing DanO out of his comfort zone in the pocket, where he has shown he does very well, and getting him moving around. He is not very good at it -- but isn't that why they had him do it? The idea is to work on things in preseason, not win the game.

At RB, I still see Smith, Pinner, Cason as the top three backs -- but something tells me they still keep Bell around as insurance "just in case"... but after he has run the last couple of weeks, I'm not so sure he is a lock. The zone running is supposed to be his niche, and Smith has been out-running, out-passioning, and out-blocking him. With Felton and Smith held back blocking on a couple of those blitzes, it looked like the Iron Curtain walling off Kitna from the Defense (in the first quarter). Both of those guys will be starting, day 1.

How is that for a novelty -- with Bradley on IR Felton will be the starting FB - a 5th round pick. Speaking of FB -- after the game that he had how do they not keep McHugh as a FB/TE? With Bradley out I'm calling Felton/McHugh at FB.

Great dialogue on the Oline on the last post here, and I suggest everyone read those comments for a good idea of the transition to zone blocking.

4 comments:

jreffy said...

I'm terribly depressed this weekend as I have a Rugby game down in Indianapolis and won't be able to make it back home in time to catch the game on the internet. So DF, you better do a good job of recapping!

As for who makes the final cut...

RB) There is no possible way the Lions can keep Bell. I have always loved Pinner, he's a great power-type runner, and definitely has shown he's got something to contribute this year. Bell has GOT to get cut.

WR) The Lions won't cut or trade Furrey (unless they get a darn good offer). After seeing him at the training camp, he's too much of a leader and hard-worker for the Lions to just let him go. I'm betting they're trying to shop McDonald around (to SanFran) so they can keep some of the younger guys like Ellis and Middleton.

On the defensive side of the ball, I don't have a really good feel for things. I want to say that Joe makes the cut, since he can be a good backup on the Strong Side and has shown a lot of hustle and aggression in the preseason so far.

I don't see the Lions hanging on to Cody much longer. Either he has a breakthrough year this year, or he's done after this season. With IAF on the rise and Fluellen and Avril showing some great promise, Cody is the odd man out.

Keep up the great work (and commenting, guys!). Can't wait to see what this place looks like during the season!

jreffy said...

I'm terribly depressed this weekend as I have a Rugby game down in Indianapolis and won't be able to make it back home in time to catch the game on the internet. So DF, you better do a good job of recapping!

As for who makes the final cut...

RB) There is no possible way the Lions can keep Bell. I have always loved Pinner, he's a great power-type runner, and definitely has shown he's got something to contribute this year. Bell has GOT to get cut.

WR) The Lions won't cut or trade Furrey (unless they get a darn good offer). After seeing him at the training camp, he's too much of a leader and hard-worker for the Lions to just let him go. I'm betting they're trying to shop McDonald around (to SanFran) so they can keep some of the younger guys like Ellis and Middleton.

On the defensive side of the ball, I don't have a really good feel for things. I want to say that Joe makes the cut, since he can be a good backup on the Strong Side and has shown a lot of hustle and aggression in the preseason so far.

I don't see the Lions hanging on to Cody much longer. Either he has a breakthrough year this year, or he's done after this season. With IAF on the rise and Fluellen and Avril showing some great promise, Cody is the odd man out.

Keep up the great work (and commenting, guys!). Can't wait to see what this place looks like during the season!

JJLions20 said...

DetFan1979, I agree with most of your posting. You look at the tape. I fear that Tom K. on M-Live is getting sucked into the same propaganda that happens every year.

I think Marinelli is putting the pressure on Dizon by what he is leaking to the press. He may not even start him the first 3 games. But that doesn't mean he won't get him playing time. Marinelli can start the veterans and rotate Lennon, Lewis, and Dizon until one of them gets dinged, or Dizon wins the battle. This looks to be a compromise between Millen and Marinelli on playing Dizon at MLB right away or moving him to SLB. Davis has shown a lot in the first two preseason games, and he has to continue in the next two. It will come down to special teams for Davis, Joe, & Gardner. I believe Cannon is practice squad eligible.

I also like Standeford. Always have. But I'm prejudice with two kid's that have attended Purdue over the last 8 years and living in Colts territory. But if the Lions feel they will loose McDonald and/or Williams next year they may have to find a way to keep Standeford. I thought I read that Middleton had practice squad options. Ellis hasn't shown much and I doubt if anybody will pick him up and put him on their 53 man roster. He may also be practice squad eligible, or find his way on IR.

D-Line is a real question. I agree that Cohen and Hardie are practice squad contenders. Cody has to show some more production to make this team. This is a big game for him. Somebody needs to tape this game and give us an unbiased report on his performance. Remember the Nose Tackle doesn’t have to make the plays in this defense, but he has to occupy multiple O-Lineman, get to the ground, and not get blown out of the hole.

Robinson should also be practice squad eligible. Lets also remember that a player does not have to accept being claimed on waivers. Sure he will be added to a 53 man rotation, but he could also be cut the next week. Robinson needs to look at the history of injuries with the Lions CB's. Part of this is because CB's have to tackle in the Cover-2. There is also age in this secondary, so Robinson's long term outlook is good with the lions. Once you leave the organization that drafts you, your just a number. There have been players in the past who have turned down being claimed on waivers.

As far as Stanton goes... A sprained thumb is nothing. I can't count how many of these things I've had over the years. I can’t say I ever got one from football, but have had many from playing baseball and basketball. Splint it (or cast it) and in a month it will be a little stiff, but ready to go. Your going to get injuries in the NFL, and from an injury perspective this is not a bad one to get. I wished he had gotten the 3rd preseason game in, but that's the way the ball bounces. I still feel Danny O, is the better back-up. The un-written story from the Media is the Lions are not looking at a quality veteran as a back-up, they settled for Henson. They must feel they can go with Danny O.

Anonymous said...

det fan

I too am incredibly depressed (and hurt) that I missed the game Saturday and cannot do a recap.

Fifteen mnutes before kick-off I was in the yard showing my kids how to golf. I teed up a ball for my oldest, turned around (five yards away) and teed up a ball for my youngest, turned back around and (whack) took a five wood to the right elbow. Yeah! The elbow.

As I bent down, I reached back across my head to scratch my neck. My right arm was covering my face, or I probably wouldn't be typing this blog.

I feel lucky, but the 7 year old isn't playing golf anytime soon.
-nubs