Detroit Lions 26, New York Jets 17 (box score)
The Detroit Lions 2013 season got underway with a preseason victory over the New York Jets. Here are my quick thoughts as this game just went final.
- It was great to see the two defensive ends the Lions drafted last April show up with a couple big plays in their professional debut. Ziggy Ansah’s pick six off Mark Sanchez came on just the Lions fourth defensive snap of the game. Some patience will be necessary with Ansah but that won’t be a problem if he can show flashes like he did tonight. Fourth round pick Devin Taylor has a physically imposing presence but he showed he is more than just that when he got to Greg McElroy for a strip-sack.
- The defensive line as a whole did a very good job against the run. Of particular note was the improvement of the defensive end position to play the run.
- Matthew Stafford wasn’t particularly sharp but I’m not worried through just one preseason game. Stafford was able to take advantage of a couple opportunities the Jets left available and had no problems connecting with Calvin Johnson.
- I was hoping to see more out of Kellen Moore. It was hard to see a big step forward in year two that suggests he can be a solid number two quarterback when Shaun Hill moves on. If at the end of camp that doesn’t change, the Lions would be better off freeing up a roster spot by carrying just two quarterbacks on the final roster.
- While David Akers and Sam Martin figure to win the kicking and punting jobs respectively, their competition can’t be ignored. Havard Rugland hit both of his field goals, one from 49 yards and another from 50. That being said, Akers didn’t do anything to fall off the pace, hitting both field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards. Martin and Blake Clingan each had three punts. Martin finished with an average of 43.7 while Clingan averaged 43.3.
- While I still think Riley Reiff will be fine, I was left disappointed. Too often it seemed he was chasing a defender in a collapsed pocket.
- The eye-opening player for me on offense was Matt Willis. A successful challenge on a sliding sideline catch was the first big play, the second being a 15-yard over the shoulder catch for a touchdown. If he wasn’t on your radar as a guy with a serious shot at making the roster, he should be now.