As things are settling down in the DF79 household, I’m finally getting back into a sense of normalcy. The little pink lions and I got back to Taekwondo class last night, work is settling back in to normal, and the Lions offense couldn’t score jack, turned the ball over a half dozen times, and totally folded in the 3rd quarter. Yes, things have definitely gone back to normal.
I’m having a lot of fun writing my narrative of the Arizona game. So much fun, that I realized though I was writing in chunks I hadn’t actually published anything about that game…or this weeks. DF79 isn’t perfect. Happens.
At Arizona, it wasn’t so much that Drew Stanton was going to save the game that the stadium came to its’ feet. It was more of a feeling that we KNEW what would happen with Daunte in there. The fans needed to see something different. Something different — which is why this coaching staff gives me more confidence than the last. They made changes to see what would happen. Forget “sticking with it” on the QB front. They did that for how many weeks? There was no indication the 2nd half of the Arizona game would be any different, so why not see what Drew could do on the field?
Drew is getting lambasted for his performance against the 49ers. Lets keep a few things in mind that we have been talking about in relation to Stafford. First off, this was his first NFL start. Forget draft status, or even his years in the league. He was on IR and essentially learned nothing his rookie year. Then was ignored totally during the 0-16 season. This is essentially his rookie year for the most part. While he won’t be replacing Stafford any time soon, if he can calm down enough while facing the Bears this weekend, he may show enough to stick around and compete for the #2 spot after Daunte gets dropped. Drew has shown the first thing that a backup needs: An ability to come off the bench, fire up the team, and score some points in relief play. Now he needs to show that he can at least be adequate to replace Stafford should he be needed to start for a couple of games. For the Lions’ sake, I am hoping that he does settle down against the Bears and show some consistency. The 49ers have the 6th ranked defense in the NFL. This year’s Bears aren’t even close – so there is a chance.
In both games there have been bright spots, usually coming from the young defensive draft picks likes Louis Delmas and DeAndre Levy. Levy’s speed and instincts are amazing. The Lions got a mid-round gem there — and how often can you say that about the Lions in the last 10 years?? Sammie Hill is a run stuffer, and he did well holding the point. I don’t think he will be a pro-bowl type DT, but certainly with another ifseason or two is a long term starter in the middle.
As the Lions host Chicago, who had trouble scoring any points until Minnesota imploded on defense on Monday Night, they stand a chance if their defense can keep playing like it has. Cutler has been making mistakes in the passing game, and if Buchanan is back at least the Lions have a serviceable enough secondary to take advantage. While a lot has been said about the defense, they have held their own in almost all of the games this year — despite getting no help, or worse, put at a disadvantage because of the offensive troubles. Despite reservations about Stafford as the #1 pick, this offense just hasn’t been the same without him healthy under center. Backup QB needs to be addressed in the ifseason, even if Stanton looks good vs the Bears.
Moving back to the defense, once again versus the 49ers they held the opposition to FG or no points throughout the first half, but got worn down and let up in the 3rd, before solidifying to finish out the game. The one TD was close, and if Smith had been called for illegal forward pass, that call would have been upheld as well because it was just too hard to tell if he was or was not past the line of scrimmage. Since there was no conclusive evidence either way, it would stay as called on the field whether that was TD, or Illegal Forward Pass. It was bad for the Lions, but the right call. The 4th down stuff by Levy against Gore was great. Gore normally powers through LBers, and considering Levy’s a “speed guy” they thought they could run through him. The 49ers must not have scouted him, since this is the 2nd time this season he has stuffed the RB just before the marker on 4th and short. (one time at the goal line)
I expect Drew Stanton to start again this week, so the staff can see how he learned from his first start last week. This will give them some game tape evaluation to go over heading into the ifseason. I know I’ve been avoiding the draft talk, and teh retrospectives everyone seems eager to jump in to, but hey — we have a whole ifseason for that, right? And it is less than a week away. I have PLENTY of thoughts and ideas on analysis of the season, and look forward to the often robust dialogue we have in the ifseason regarding players, position groups, FA and the draft.
Things are back to normal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears win, or the Lions win. Both teams have been wildly inconsistent this season. I don’t expect a blowout on Sunday, but a good thrilling matchup like we saw against Arizona. Have a Happy New Year everyone!!