Sunday, August 16, 2009

2nd Half Thoughts

2nd Half Thoughts

August 16th, 2009 | by detfan1979 |

So why not first half thoughts, you ask? Because I didn’t see it. Saturday was the Mint Festival up in St. Johns, where I grew up. It’s tradition to head back there and watch the parade, walk around, and spend time with family. It was a lot of fun and the oldest pink Lion got to ride in the parade with her great grandma on the Red Hat Society float.

I caught the second half after we got back home last night on the tape delay. I have the game taped, but haven’t watched the first half yet. There are always a few things I try to keep in mind when I am watching the first couple of preseason games.

  1. Don’t read into the starting lineups
  2. Don’t over-emphasize great performances by guys trying to make the cut against other guys trying to make the cut
  3. Don’t under-emphasize it either
  4. I always it that means to just size it, but you know — idiosyncrasies in the English language are rife.
  5. The points don’t matter as much as how the team as a whole handles different situations
  6. The play of individual players in doing what they were supposed to do in that particular play
  7. We have no idea what the coaches are trying to accomplish on a given play
  8. Overall Impressions are more important here than down dirty analysis
  9. This is the first full-contact players get to make, and even vets are a bit rusty

There were definitely a few impressions that came out at me as I enjoyed watching the second half — particularly Drew Stanton and the Lions backups execute a near-perfect 2 minute drill. In no specific order:

  • Too many penalties. Especially off-sides on the defense.
  • As I’m sure even those of you who didn’t watch game have heard,Aaron Brown looked great for the most part. He also had some royal eff-ups. In a related note, A. Cason should start brushing up his resume. He’s going to need it. Both Brown and A. Ervin looked better than him. Considering the three are likely fighting for one spot, that doesn’t bode well for him.
  • Allen Ervin looked pretty decent, but I don’t think the Lions will keep 4 pure RB since Felton doubles as the 2ndFB AND a power back behind Terrelle Smith in the super-jumbo.
  • The second team O-line looked pretty decent overall, and I must say that was a surprise. Ramierez at OG looked like he has made strides, and Jansen and Salaam looked like they have some left in the tank. That bodes well for depth on the oline.
  • Colbert needed to take a look around his hotel room or where he was staying before the game and findhis hands, or he’ll find himself on the street. This may be silly, but by the third time he let the ball from Stafford fly off his hands I was picturing Yoda telling young Luke to “concentrate” as he screws up and drops muppet, rocks, and droids to the ground in a resounding crash.
  • Speaking of out on the street, that is where Chuck Darby is going to end up. He didn’t play all that badly. He just didn’t play as well as Hill, Smith, Harris, Cohen, Fluellen and whoever else lined up at DT for the Lions if I missed anyone. He is older, more expensive, and not playing as well as the younger cheaper guys trying to make the team.
  • The Lions are really going to miss Jared Devries this season.
  • I think this is the first time I actually saw the Lions perfectly execute a screen pass. And they did it more than once. Scary.
  • Last year the team talked about having run-pass balance, but didn’t — even in the preseason. This game they did. Very balanced. So balanced, they were successfully drawing in a safety and the LB on play action.
  • Williams showed more than I thought he would.
  • Other than Murtha, who may go on IR; and Follett, who has a better chance to make the team if Spencer’s injury is as serious as it appears; I would have to say the rest of Detroit’s draft will not only be on the roster opening day, but wouldn’t clear waivers if they let them go. Impressive, Martin Mayhew
  • I got the feeling that Gun wasn’t blitzing to test the secondary more as that is something that needed serious evaluation, and I get the feeling they got a lot of good film on those guys competing.
  • If Pearson is a starting S come game 1, Lions are in trouble.
  • Schweigert made a good case to be one of the 4 Safeties to make the roster
  • The Lions need to get back those 4 of their top 5 WR back. BAD case of the dropsies by the guys out there last night.
  • If Standeford plays as well as he did last season, if he can get healthy he has a much better than even chance of taking the #5 WR role. The top 4 at this point are Johnson, Johnson, Northcutt & Williams
  • Sounds kind of like one of those cut-throat law firms, doesn’t it?
  • There was some hard hitting and good gang tackling going on by the Lions D.
  • Stafford was taking on a blocker and fighting to get to the CB even as he crossed the goal line with his pick 6. That’s grit.
  • The coaches looked more prepared and in control the entire game. Even the timeout on the onside kick didn’t phase them. Nor did the challenge on the Allen Ervin “fumble” that was reversed.
  • I got the feeling all that situational practice was really helping keep the Lions offense and defense relaxed and taking pressure off of them, no matter what happened in the game.
  • I find it interesting that Stanton’s final drive for FG range with no timeouts was exactly one of the situations the Lions had practiced, and it showed.
  • Finally, I can’t express how exciting it was to see WR’s catch the ball in stride and be able to kick it into high gear without stopping when Stafford was zipping them out there. Even if he doesn’t start right away, that gives me good hope for the future.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and was able to enjoy football and family.

Rating: 9.7/10 (9 votes cast)
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6 Responses to “2nd Half Thoughts”

  1. By KCLionFan on Aug 16, 2009

    Great observations! Here are a few of mine:

    - Ernie Sims got sealed off rather easily on that TD run, and had a very non-descript game
    - D Williams looks fast out there, and can play WR pretty well
    - Stafford has the tools and the head to be a star in this league. But, if Stanton had gotten some PT last year, and looked “pretty good”, like he did in this game, would we still have drafted Stafford?
    - We need healthy WRs – that was your “area we could least afford an injury”, and it shows!

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. By Isphet on Aug 17, 2009

    I wish you had seen the whole game! Good stuff.

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen the Lions where I felt like they actually have some talent at the QB position; in all three spots, even. The RBs looked like a solid and deep group as well; It looks like Aaron Brown will get some carries as a change of pace type back. Honestly.. the offense looked pretty solid other than the WRs dropping passes.

    The defense is what concerns me the most. It still looked like they were prone to giving up runs up the middle, and short 5-10 yard passes. But the secondary looked like they actually knew how to tackle anyone not named “Turner” and covered the deep ball fairly well considering the Lions didn’t blitz much or get much pressure on the QB.

    I wondered why Ernie was on the strong side for the Turner run that resulted in the TD. I thought he was a weak side LB. Maybe they were just trying him out on the strong side, or maybe I’m just crazy?

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  3. By detfan1979 on Aug 17, 2009

    I noticed they were doing quite a few things out of the ordinary in the second half. Once I get a chance to at least see the highlights of the first half, hopefully I’ll have better insight. I’ll watch out for that on the Turner run.

    It was hard to see details due to the overall poor quality of the broadcast, and what was with the stutter-step replays? Yikes. It’s usually better than that for the preseason broadcasts.

    I will say that while it’s not great to get burned by Michael Turner for a long TD it’s not as if better teams than the Lions haven’t suffered the same fate. Still worrisome though.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. By Lopper on Aug 17, 2009

    Great analysis again. I agree with pretty much all of your points.

    I was pretty happy with how the Lions played. Aside from the one run by Turner, I thought that the defense had an ok performance. Not great, but definitely not worst in the league.

    One thing that disappointed me was that Felton didn’t get any carries in the game. I thought that the coaches were going to give him some opportunities this year, and with Morris out, I thought that he would get a series or two. I would really like to see him run it, and if he works out as a power back, then a backfield of K. Smith, M. Morris, A. Brown, and J. Felton sounds pretty good to me.

    And Chris Roberson really looked solid. If I remember correctly, he made the very first tackle on special teams, and then I noticed him a few times coming up and making a play at CB. I think that there is still a big drop off from Buchanon and Henry to anybody else on the Lions, but C. Roberson looked better than I expected.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  5. By chiefger139 on Aug 17, 2009

    I feel asleep somewhere between the 2nd half and the 4th quater-shane on me hittin the fire water-stafford looked good and made me sick that receiver dropping them all-stanton looked really good and aron brown was awsome-if they cut him im super peed think hes better ny far than any of current rb’s-hope they see it too-looks like stopin the run is in big jeopardy and thus a losin season-imagine that-one player like shaun rogers breaks our back-i knew it would and slammed the guys wanting him gone-if rod wasnt so big on the thin guys he would of still been here-still see a possible 6 wins maybe hope the 9 plus wins guys are right though

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. By StreetWorm on Aug 19, 2009

    I was surprisingly dismayed with our linebacker play. Ernie Sims on that Turner run was an obvious blown play, but none of the top 3 linebackers really stood out the entire time they were in the game. With a supposedly ’star-studded’ linebacking trio that has me a little scared.

    One player that stood out for me in the secondary: Schweigert. Before the game I had no knowledge of him, but throughout the second half it seemed like he was picking up every other tackle. And the thing is, he was recognizing run as a safety and getting to the running back at the line of scrimmage and even the backfield. Now given, this was against the Falcons’ scrubs, but he’s someone I’ll keep my eye on this preseason.

    Stanton gave me some mixed feelings at the end of the game. He didn’t bring to the table what I would like to see him bring to the table in a preseason game. He was slashing through their 3rd team D like it was nothing, but it was with his legs…at this point in his career everyone knows he can run. We need to see that he can make all the passes and that he can hold up behind the line of scrimmage without running away every time he gets flushed from the pocket. There were multiple times where there was no way the play had even come close to developing and he was off to the races when the D-line was just beginning to collapse the pocket. During the regular season, I’m all for him running the D to shreds, but for now he’s got to showcase his passing game because I don’t think he’s going to be that successful running the ball against an experienced 1st team defense.

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

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