Forgive my absence, but the non-pig related flu made its’ run through the DetFan1979 household starting Sunday. This also meant DetFan1979 got the sick-child-handling duties so that Mrs.DetFan1979 could stay far-far away and healthy to continue helping Mother-In-Law of DetFan1979. (who, as I indicated in the past, is fighting breast cancer). Guess you could say I’ve been making like Aaron Rodgers did last Sunday — running like mad, but still making some excellent down-field throws. Oh, and taking 5 sacks.
That’s right. No down and out depression or unchugged coffee here folks! The Lions were without three of their 4 starting defensive line. (Hill, White, and Hunter). Turk McBride, who has already earned rotational play at DE was nicked up in the game… The Lions D was also down to 1 1/2 players in the secondary due to talent issues (that is just a joke, but you know what I’m getting at). On offense, Kevin Smith was still a bit nicked up, and Mo Morris was still not ready. CJ and Stafford? Out.
If you take a good look at the team the Lions fielded against the Packers and you are talking about a pre-season type lineup, not what you want to be fielding at any time in the regular season. It just highlighted what we already knew: The Lions have some talent now, especially from the draft. But not a lot of it. What is behind those few play-makers on the roster? Not much.
I wasn’t upset at the GB game outcome because really, none of this is new information! Martin Mayhew has done a great job in one ifseason to put together a group of starters that Jim Schwartz can use to at least put up a fight with better teams, duke it out with mediocre teams, and beat less talented teams (of which there are a few out there right now — and at least 3 are on the Lions’ schedule). BUT – there just weren’t enough picks and available free agents to build a team over night.
Despite the rampant depression at the shutout, I was thrilled with this game for several reasons:
- The “If GB hadn’t made so many mistakes” line doesn’t hold water with me AT ALL. If Detroit hadn’t made so many mistakes, they would have won vs the Bears and Steelers. IF IF IF. GB did make those mistakes, and has been all year. GB was LUCKY Detroit was so depleted by injuries at key spots that they couldn’t take advantage. Even just put CJ and Stafford in on the offensive side for the Lions and GB wouldn’t have 9 in the box, Smith would have had more room and GB certainly would have had to respect Stafford’s arm more than Culpepper’s at this point.
- Stanton looked better than Culpepper to me, even though he was coming in to essentially an impossible situation. Culpepper has proven once again that he just cannot read defenses.
- Stephen Peterman spent a couple of plays on the Dline, they were so thin with injuries and still managed to get penetration into the backfield. With how well he did, I wonder if this will be more regular? I’m guessing it won’t be, but you never know. Whatever works…
- The Lions offense still stopped itself, and yet the defense kept them in the game right up until the 4th quarter started. GB just couldn’t get anything going — including their run game — despite leading by so much.
- The Lions need to go to secondaries-r-us in the ifseason and find themselves two starting CB’s and another S. Henry should be moved to Safety, so that all they need is two corners to have a decent starting defensive backfield
- If Levy isn’t starting over Sims in the St. Louis game, my guess is he will be at some point by the end of the season unless Sims really steps up his play. The best part about this is that the depth and play at the LB position has been great — and Levy’s emergence (along with Dizon) allowed them to move J. Peterson into a more pass-rushing role, which generated some very positive results. Expect to see this more even when 3/4 of the DE’s aren’t injured.
Overall, it was a dud of the game for the Lions, but just proved to me three things I suspected:
- It will take two more Ifseasons before the Lions have the depth to compete for postseason play
- Mayhew has drafted well as his rookie class is the best in the last decade at least
- The coaches aren’t afraid to cut bait and see what works instead of making the same mistakes over and over again. They are willing to make new and different ones until they find what works.
I feel as though with the strong young talent the Lions have already acquired starting to come into its’ own, the best days are ahead this season for the Lions and stick by my 6-10 prediction for wins/losses as long as Stafford is under center for the rest of the season. Fever induced optimism? Maybe. But then again, maybe not…