It wasn’t a memorable preseason opener for the Detroit Lions’ first team offense. Most of the starters were on the bench by the time Keiland Williams gave the Lions a 7-0 lead over the Cleveland Browns. Matthew Stafford finished a pedestrian 4-of-7 for 51 yards and an interception – good for a quarterback rating of just 40.5.
If that was cause for concern with any fans, those fears should now be relieved. The Lions first team offense looked much better in the team’s win over the Ravens on Friday night despite a slow start.
Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson looked to be in mid-season form as 111 of Stafford’s 184 passing yards came through his connection with CJ. Stafford got the Lions into the end zone with passes to Calvin and Titus Young. Does the offense still have room to tighten up before the start of the regular season? Sure, but it was good to see a step forward.
Here are a few other quick thoughts/reactions to the Lions’ win over the Ravens:
- The offensive starters may have mostly looked ready for the regular season but the special teams units didn’t even look ready for practice. The Lions were fortunate benefactors of some penalties by the Ravens own special teams units to avoid a couple big returns. The Ravens successfully recovered an onside kick late in the game to further drive in the point that the Lions have work to do on special teams. The lone special teams bright spots for the Lions were a blocked punt by Willie Young and a 50-yard field goal by Jason Hanson.
- Kellen Moore was less than impressive, in the preseason opener and while the numbers look better in game two, it was done with a series of short passes and dump downs to the running backs. Once again there wasn’t much to indicate that he’s worthy of a roster spot, especially since the Lions could use the depth elsewhere.
- Joique Bell and Keiland Williams both had decent nights once again. Bell had a the biggest negative of the two with a fumble near the Ravens goal line but he showed some nice moves and picked up yardage in chunks. Both were able to contribute in the passing game and I’m starting to wonder if both could make the final roster given the uncertainty of Jahvid Best’s status.
- The Lions did a good job of avoiding penalties in their preseason opener but got old bad habits showed up again, particularly early in the game. The total of 11 penalties for 98 yards is too much to expect to survive on a regular basis.
- Tackling was an issue for much of the night. It will be something to watch as the rest of the preseason plays out as it could determine who does and doesn’t make the final roster.