Alright, so even I hate all of the improper grammar in reality TV show names (America HAS talent thank you very much). Still, the styling seemed to fit this season’s Lions. I will (finally) be watching the Lions’ preseason game versus Denver later tonight (assuming I set the new DVR correct). As a quick aside, I have been having technical troubles with my home internet connection all summer — which is a nice way to say it kept not working, and my old provider kept not fixing it. Combined with a change-up in my evening schedule, this led to a blogging nightmare. While I’ve been able to keep somewhat active, I have not been doing nearly the depth and type of posting that you have all become accustomed to. Thanks to a nifty new providerwe will see if that can all change again for the better. I’ve got my fingers crossed — so far I’m loving it. (I didn’t use company names. I don’t get sponsored by or paid to take shots at any cable providers as far as I know. Fanball is my sponsoring agency/company. PLUG: Be sure to check out the Owner’s Edge — it is chock full of great fantasy football information and tools.)
Moving back to talent, when I watch the game tonight I’m going to be focusing more on matchups than overall plays. The preseason is pretty vanilla offense and defense. Up to this point, they haven’t even been game planning (although they will for Cleveland, which makes that slightly different). What I am looking for in preseason is talent. Does Lions Starter A win match-up against first string opponent B and so on. The final score is less important in preseason than what they are doing on the field individually, and working as a unit.
For example, it’s not just did a running play get the desired yards this time, it’s also how did the offensive line move and adjust as a unit? How did the back do seeing the holes, and what did he make of what was there?
Once we get to second string/third string, it’s seeing how those players do against other backups. So far, this is where I (and I’m sure the Lions coaching staff) have been less than pleased. I’ll see if it plays out like I think it will in the next couple of days, but overall I still contend the Lions finally have talent at the starting positions for the most part – a departure from recent years past, to be sure.
They have depth at Running Back, Defensive Tackle, Tight End, and Quarterback. Ok Depth at defensive end. This means those units will cut some players very likely to get picked up by other teams.
Safety has lots of similar guys, with few standing out from the crowd. Again, a cut or two (they aren’t likely to cut too many as they don’t have too many) will likely get picked up as veteran depth. Phillips has been the big surprise, and has played more like a starter with potential than a backup.
Wide Receiver has a bunch of guys after the starters (CJ, Burleson and BJ at this point) but are still relatively thin. They may cut some guys who will get tryouts with other teams. Toone might be headed for the practice squad.
Cornerback and Linebacker are absurdly thin — especially taking into account the injuries — particularly to Dizon.
Offensive Line has one set of solid starters, and then a group of projects and could-be’s. Right tackle isn’t even that set.
What I’m looking for when I watch the Denver game, and the game against Cleveland on Saturday, is talent. How do the players do in their matchups relative to the talent level they are facing. Moreso than the game-planned victories of the Marinelli era this will give us an idea of where the team is at.
The Iffing is coming to end, and soon the Ifseason will be over and we’ll get to so which IF’s came true — and which ones didn’t.