Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick Notes

Okay, so tape delay to Sunday ended up meaning "watched it once through Tuesday after kids' soccer." Funny how the rest of life flows on.

I'll be addressing the multitude of issues brought up (25 comments! Great Job guys!) in detail tonight (as much as I can) but wanted to at least get a few of my thoughts out there earlier to chew on:

1. The defense finally appears to be clicking together. They let 21 points in the first and 2/3 quarters, but after that held GB defensively to 2 FG (more on that later) and a TD (much more on that later) on a very short field. Only 13 more points, the entire game.

2. Whatever Kitna ate/did the night before the game -- never do it again. Ever. He was pretty bad all day.

3. Cherilus earned a starting spot taking A. Kampman out of the pressure game after he came in. He's proven he needs to be in there.

4. If the defense plays like it did in the second half (yes the Packers were trying to score TD's as the Lions were storming back and not letting up) holding teams to FG, then the Lions will see marked improvement -- assuming Kitna and the O get clicking again like they were in preseason.

5. Green Bay is NOT Atlanta -- Green Bay is a 13-3 NFC Championship loser from last season that has a 4th year QB who has been groomed and given mop-up duty behind a Hall of Fame QB. The rest of their very good offense (including Oline) and very strong defense returned. They are a legitimate Superbowl Contender -- at worst a deep playoff team. Rodgers was the only question mark, and that question has been answered: GB has a QB again. His health (or lack thereof) will be the only thing that stops them from the playoffs.

6. If the Lions lost 27-25 (no Kitna INTs, but assuming no points) would you be happier? point of fact is, this game was very close fought - the defense kept them in the game long after GB should have been able to put it away and couldn't despite their best efforts. The Lions were only down two points, and Kitna looked like he had Martz on the brain -- decide the play, who is getting the ball, snap it and throw to that person irregardless of what is happening on the field.

7. It looks like Kitna doesn't trust Roy right now, and that could be a big problem -- soon.

8. I'm for starting youngsters -- like Cherilus -- when they need to be, or to see what they have. They Erred last season by not putting in all the young guys after they were eliminated from the playoffs, and I felt so at the time. However, until they are out of the playoff picture, they need to stick with whoever gives them the best chance to win.

9. SF should be a winnable game -- especially if it turns into a shootout, the Lions should just go with it and show the league they can still put up points. It will help the confidence level of the offense, which needs some serious help.

10. don't mope -- the season is far from over. If they are 0-3 at the bye, you can bet there will be changes come week 5. And we will hear about them week 5 near gametime. That's just how Marinelli operates.

11. I don't believe in calling guys out in the press -- it does nothing but cause rifts in the team. Sure as heck call them out behind closed doors in front of the team. But team issues should be handled in the locker room, not the papers. Want Roy and Kitna to become a TO-McNabb kinda feud?

12. Roy is running routes like he did pre-martz, and dropping balls like he did post-martz. I'd be happy if he did one great, and another average -- but right now, it's the worst of both worlds, and I don't think Roy sees it.

I guess a dozen things qualifies as "quick" -- one last thought. Avril, not White, was in on the last FG drive for GB before the Lions entered INT-Land. (White had a cap knocked loose) GB took advantage of the Rook and that helped them. Avril played well, but not as well as White. Just a point about the Lions' vets -- the young guys have potential, and need to continue to be rotated in -- but they are not as good as the vets on the team -- yet.

There are 5 teams 2-0, 7 at 1-1, and 4 at 0-2. It's only week 3: As we Lions fans know from last season, a lot can change between now and December.

Final note: Most national, and even beat, coverage focused on the final score and blasted the Lions D. they let up 34 points (bad enough) not 48. And shave another 7 for the 20 yard line start and momentum shift and its 27 points. If you can't put up more than 27 points, it's not likely you are going to beat Green Bay. I'll look at that more tonight. Just look back at their games this season and last, and you'll see what I mean.

13 comments:

rhvery said...

Well, definitely a glass is half full perspective than half empty. Kudos to you for being able to see as much positive as you did in that game.

I agree with you on most points with the exception of one. Your comment regarding the defense hodling up after 1 and 2/3 quarters is suspect. While it may be technically true, I think the MOST discouraging thing I saw in that game was the defenses inability to even slow down Green Bay after they took the lead.

Rather than coming out and taking the bull by the horns, they layed down and gave up one big play after another. That was the most concerning thing I saw that they will struggle to come back from.

millersco said...

I would like to discuss this idea of the veteran vs rookie playing, and who gives you the best chance to suceed. If the veteran is playing well I can understand it, but if he's not, to me you are wasting investment and not finding out if your lastest investment was the right choice. I did a quick look at starting quaterbacks to see how long they sat before starting - there are a lot of factors there, but in general I would say the successful NFL QB's started by their 2d year. There are probably a few mistakes here, plus Rodgers and Hasselbeck had to sit behind Farve, and of course teams draft franchise QB's for the purpose of starting and aren't going to leave them on the bench long, and some of these QB's are in their first year. It just seems that if you are going to develop a QB they should not be on the bench longer than a year - after that you are wasting critical development that should be taking place in the heat of battle. If you can't perform then that will be figured pretty soon and you won't be starting elsewhere. For myself, the way Jon is playing and has been playing the past few years, for whatever the reason, we are now in the realm of diminishing returns . His leadership impact has been realized already and no longer affects the building/increasing of the team performance. If Stanton doesn't start after the bye week, think we are making a mistake. They drafted him to be the next starter, we need to find out now if that can be true. Think the team will rally around him.

Bulger -2
Pennington - 3
Warner -2
Leinhart- 1 (but sitting now)
Rivers -3
Cutler - 1/2
Ryan -1
Griese - 2
Hasselbeck - 3 (behind Farve)
Brees - 2
Campbell - 2
Romo - 3
McNabb - 1
Dehomme - 5
Orton - 1 (but sat again)
Palmer - 2
Young -1
Rodgers - 4 (behind Farve)
Kitna - 3
Manning - 1
Manning -1
Jackson - 2
Rothlesberger -1
Anderson - 3
Farve - 2
Brady - 2

rhvery said...

millersco, great stats, but not an apples to apples comparison. Stanton spent last year on IR so he was not able to practice so while this is his second year he didn't spend the first year doing anything but watch - unlike the examples you provided in your post.

You can't, at 0-2, just pull the string on a serviceable QB(which Jon Kitna is) just to play Stanton. That would be ridiculous regardless of what some sports writers in this town might print just to get readers and spark controversy.

Anonymous said...

Rhvery,
I also think that the defense was playing better than most realize. The fact is that GB only got a FG after getting most of their yardage of that drive on one play. It was only a 2 point game at the time. That was the moment for the offense to deliver. Instead, Kitna throws that terrible pick on first down. The defense did not get a chance to get their collective breath before having to go out on the field again. Sorry, but I cannot blame the final 3 TD's on the defense. I think before things got out of control, the defense was playing with speed and confidence.This defense needs the offense to be better than they are right now. Why did it take so long for them to get things rolling. That is the question that everyone should be asking.
LionfaninPA

Anonymous said...

DEFENSE-
The defense has issues. The break downs in communication that gave up big plays were obvious, and those are fixable. But this defense CANNOT stop the run when it has to. When it absolutely, positively needs to stonewall a back to not yield another drive-continuing first down; it CANNOT be done. Shaun Cody is invisible, and Terrence Trent D'Arby is searching for his "Wishing Well". Redding is getting double teamed, and that creates space.

The defense dodged a huge bullet when Sims came back into the game, but "if you can dodge wrenches, you can dodge a ball."

OFFENSE
The offensive woes are as expected when down 21 at the start of the game.

Here's an idea. Gun the shit out of the opponent. One (We're supposed to be anti-Martz. Two (We need to establish the run). Three (Just to piss Mike Martz off).

There are ways to run setting up the pass, and vice versa. Right now, the Lions want to run the football so bad, EVERYONE knows the run is coming on first and second down. They are loading up in the box.

This is poor offensive design and poor cranial - rectal inversion by Kitna for not audibling out.

The Lions have four great receivers and two good catching tight ends in their stable. Use it. Then, when teh other defense is down 21-0 and gassed, RUN THEM OVER. Kinda like Atlanta, but in reverse. We'd be wearing black.

Too bad the Lions black jerseys were mothballed.
-nubs

kitabug124 said...

I wonder if Kitna performed better last year because he had no choices. Maybe he is a serviceable QB but only when the team doesn't need to depend on his decision making or audible calls. When he has to make a big decision he freaks out? I wonder if the pressure of all the requrements to be Brady-like or Manning-esque are too much for him to realistically handle.

CHIEFGER139 said...

sometimes
i felt like the lone voice on m-live to not give up-the truth is we dont know what kind of team we really have yet because in both games we were down 21-0 early. we need a game where we keep the other team under 14 points by half and we can then see what we have-as soon as your down that far it makes everyone panic-maybe they go foe a ill advised interception and get burned because of it-try a ill advised pass etc.-i think kitna did just have a bad game-but he shouldnt be having them-especially at home. he did bring us back to take the lead though before the melt down. think everones so hard on him-keep hearing hes terrible in the 4th quarter-how soon people forget the 4th quater record points we had against the bears last year in a come from behind win with kitna at the helm-
must beat sf-though-big time afraid if we get killed in that one-the team quits and it just snoballs from there.
not giving up on this year yet-still can do it!!
LIONS GREAT IN 2008-PLAYOFFS AND BEYOND!!

kitabug124 said...

Chief-

Love your passion! You are a true fan. The frustration of the last half century has a lot of inertia. I think also that the economy and the overall plight of Michigan carries over. The fans want a winner. They will rock Ford Field when the team performs. They will boo with equal gusto. We saw both last weekend. Fans want progress they can see. That will satisfy the fans. What has frustrated them is the appearance of going backwards. After the success of the preseason, this hurts.

Don't tell me the preseason doesn't matter. It matters to the fans. A good showing fuels their passion. A bad preseason decreases expectations. What amazes me is the contrast. Preseason: the only team at 4-0. Now we are 0-2. Expectations blown out of the water so far. The fans have passion. Let's hope our team gives them a healthy outlet for that passion this Sunday.

This will test Marinelli and his vision more than at any other point in his professional career. As he says, when you are down, we'll see what kind character this team has. A lot of intrigue going on in Allen Park.

I think of myself as a true fan. I believe in constructive criticism and asking difficult questions. I love to speculate as much as the rest of the world. I know that can make me look ignorant or foolishly positive at times, but that is what being a fan is all about. Am I pleased at the current situation? No way. Do I think things need to change? Sure. Do I have all the answers? No way- not even close. I don't have to have all the answers. That's my luxury, not my job. But one thing I love to do is read everyone's thoughts here and toss in my two cents worth every now and then.

So, Chief, keep the faith. Stand tall in the face of the avalanche of negativity. If the team does tank this year, you've shown your true colors (Honolulu Blue)and that you are a fan, not a band wagon jumper oner. I applaud you and all the others who have such passion for our home town heroes.

millersco said...

So how about the special tema, they looked pretty good. Hansen kicked two or three into the end zone which I haven't seen in a while, he must be completely healthy. And we didn't have any large run backs against us. Looking better.

Anonymous said...

kitabug

What are you smoking? I do NOT want Jon Kitna to look like Manning or Brady.

Manning has been horrible so far, and Brady is getting fat watching football on his couch with his supermodel.

I want to be Tom Brady, but Kitna needs to play within himself. He tried to go for it all to put the game away, and threw a pick. He then tried to tie it back up all in one play, and threw a pick. And then again.

Kinda like the old analogy of quicksand. The more you wiggle, the more it sucks you down.
Dated a girl like that once.
-nubs

Patrick said...

Interesting perspectives. I have one. When we watch the game all we see is the play itself. But we are unaware of the assignments. Who is supposed to be where on defense or what the protection is on offense. We just see the end result. X getting burn Y making a bad pass. I think there are a couple of things going on right now, that is not good. One, there is a rift between Williams and Kitna, and it has Williams so pissed his head is not in the game. Two, Detroit was not expecting to get ran over by Atlanta and over compensated for it against GB. SF is bringing the both worlds to the game. A strong running game and veteran receivers. A young talented defense. I think everyone but the Lions right now are panicing. I think that is because they actually believe in themselves and we don't for obvious reasons. But the same reasons some of us were gitty about them during the preseason is the same reason we should hold on and maintain. We saw some very good things in the preseason, it just has not translated to when it counts. If you look at our offense...it is still a top 10 offense, and we have a solid group of rbs. We knew we would have to get are running game together as the year went on and rely on our passing game. But our defense has to step up...yes we know this. In both games, except for a few plays we were in position, just did not make the tackle. Was it because they were better, no, we are just not bringing the same intensity as we did in the preseason...we do not seem to be as hungry for it. I think a little tweaking on defense with a slightly more aggressive blitz and stunt package could change the intensity of the game for us. On offense. GET ROY into the game MENTALLY just like Romo does with TO. Then get Megatron in to the game...Let things build from that point...stretching the defense out and making the holes for the running game. Kitna has to go back to the drawing board and quit trying to make things happen and just take what the defense gives. If he truly has the ability to make changes at the line...then he needs to make sure he is on point when doing so...We have failed on offense for two reasons, wrong check downs and execution of the plays. Eliminate that, and maybe we can be more explosive on offense.

MOTOWNMANN

kitabug124 said...

Nubs,

That was my point exactly. Not that I want Kitna to be Brady or Manning, but that he tried to get it all back at once and made poor decisions. I wonder if in Martz's offense last year, he didn't have the options he has this year. I mean, he ran the play that Martz called, the way he called it and all he had to do was execute that play. If the play went south, Martz would blame everybody but Kitna. Now it all rests on his shoulders.

Kitna is acting like he wants to be a gunslinger when he's really just best at being the bank guard.

Anonymous said...

Kita
Great analogy, I almost peed my pants.
I also agree that Roy is out of touch with this offense and not in sync right now with Kitna.
The big plays given up by the defense seem to be mental due to switches. (I'll explain)).

The Lions want to run zone defense like the Tampa Two is supposed to be. They cannot do this because there isn't enough push by the front four. When they "dial up the pressure" by adding one or two blitzers, they shift from zone to man in their coverage.
MAN-cover a man. ZONE-cover an area. Now a safety or linebacker (Sims, for example) thinks he is in zone coming out of the huddle, and misses the change. Ernie goes out to his flat, and the TE that he was over top of then goes out wide into the flat near the sideline. Ernie thinks the CB now picks him up and the CB is going deep with the receiver because he is in man.

The offense manipulates the defense by overloading an area. From what I saw on tape (again, just a little slice) when the Lions got beat, it was because of a pre-snap shift (which then changes formations and sometimes coverage).

This is an issue for Sunday. We all know how much Martz LOVES to wiggle around before a snap. And that is just the pocket pool in the upstairs booth. Look for them to shift all the time, I would even expect them to shift Gore out of the backfield into the slot (empty backfield) and still run the ball with a receiver or something. I think the Lions need to get into J.T.'s head early because if he settles in, it may be ugly. Other than our staff, there isn't one coach in the league who knows the Lions defense better.
-nubs