Die by Rookies. That was the tale of the Seattle Seahawks game, in a nutshell. As I was looking back at it, the real key was that the Lions had their rookies in the game – pretty much all of them. They also had the near-rooks from last year’s draft class who never got to see the field out there showing what they did (or did not) have. This game was lost because Stafford, a rookie QB, had a VERY rookie day. Coach Marinelli didn’t play the young guys because of days like this.
But that brings us around to an interesting point: Even if you wait, that inexperience on the fieldwill still show up once they get playing time. Dizon is developing into a solid backup LB, Nickle-LB, and Special Teamer. Is that ideally what you want out of a second round pick? No. But he is on the roster, and the Lions are using him as best they can. More importantly, he and the other young players are getting valuable game experience. The Lions are out of the playoff race at this point. However, they are still focusing on winning games, developing the younger players, and seeing what they have in all the players on the roster.
Schwartz, who is great for quotable one liners, recently said the team isn’t giving out 16 game prizes here. They expect players to earn their pay. their is plenty more to say and analyze on this topic of young players, and roster shuffling, but I will save that for another story. Back to my thoughts on Lions at Seattle:
- On that long run, Kevin Smith showed what he CAN do when the blocking is there. He is not an “elite” back, and likely never will be. But he is one heck of a workhorse who can break for long gains, and pick up tough yards. Mo Morris giving him a breather or two (now that he is healthy) is helping.
- Inconsistency on the Oline was still a huge problem. They aren’t aggressively opening the holes they were earlier in the season. At this point, I think they should leave Ramierez in at LG, see how he develops through the second half, and then make decisions on the Oline in the ifseason.
- Timing between the WR and Stafford — the debacle of not having the top WR through training camp, coupled with split reps and then Stafford’s injury have essentially driven a dagger into the passing game. The QB and WR must be on the same page, and that only comes with practice. I look for a big leap in the passing chemistry – especially between CJ and Stafford – after this upcoming ifseason.
- I feel that the Stafford-CJ will improve this season, just that it will take a big leap heading into next season
- The offense is, I think, underachieving still. When your defense gets you a short field, a 17 point lead, and then holds your opponents to field goals — the offense HAS to help out, and instead they kept digging holes for the defense that they just didn’t have the talent to get out of.
- HORRIBLE PI call on James. The Lions’ CB’s are not good — I will give you that and more. But the WR was essentially wide open, and WAY overthrown. Unless the DB is holding the WR in a headlock or has him on the ground, I don’t see how that can be PI when the ball lands 25 yards down field in that situation.
- Despite that, the Lions Defense still continues to play above its talent level, which is a very positive reflection on the coaching staff
- The problems on offense appear to me to be more execution related rather than play-calling. You can’t throw or catch the ball for the guys
- CJ has been out for three weeks (essentially) and it showed. It’s also really starting to show up that he missed most of the ifseason as well. He will bounce back a bit more as the year goes on, and should really show up next year if he and Stafford stay healthy
- How about DeAndre Levy again? With Sims missing some time, we will see more of him which is great for fans, and the team. With the experience he is picking up, and how he is developing I don’t see him losing a battle for WLB if the Lions retain Peterson and re-sign Foote.
- Speaking of, Re-signing Foote should be a top priority as soon as the season is over. His play has been a real asset.
- Other than Delmas, do the Lions HAVE DB’s back there? In all seriousness, Hasselbeck made a lot of completions — most of them short dump-offs. Once again the Lions defense gave up yards, but were stingy when it came to the red-zone giving up FG vs TD most of the time.
- Take away that horrible PI call, Seattle doesn’t score a TD on that drive — at most a FG and the Lions in all likelihood win the game. It was that big a call.
- Delmas really stood out on defense once again. If he can keep healthy and keep improving, he is going to be one heck of a player for the Lions for quite some time.
- Despite the yards Jones picked up, most of it was not through the middle. While the Dline isn’t generating pass rush, the DT’s are doing a good job plugging up the middle. Get an S. Rogers type DT to complement, and that interior Dline has the potential to be scary good as Hill, Cohen & Cohen develop.
- White is still the best DE the Lions have
- Either the special teams designs are awful, or the players aren’t even coming close to doing what they are supposed to. How can all 11 guys on the coverage unit be between the numbers and allow a HUGE return down the sideline not once, not twice, but three times!
Overall, the Lions played OK in a very hostile home field a few time-zones away in Seattle. The Defense played once again about as well as it can in regards to its’ talent level, and the Offense gave the game away (literally) on 5 takeaways. Rookies will have days like this, and these coaches have chosen to give their rookies experience now to allow them to develop into trusted veterans, rather than playing band-aid free agents while the young guys don’t get the chance to learn from game time action. On the whole, I far prefer this to watching the same players come out and make the same mistakes week after week while we all sit and wonder what the young guys have… At least this staff is adjusting as best they can, and keeping it competitive.
Considering the dreadful state of the team last season, I’m happy with that. IF the development continues, and leads to improvement next season. IF not, well… let’s just stick with one IF for now, shall we? Gotta finish this half-full glass of coffee…