The Detroit Lions have shown lot of promising things heading into the preseason finale in Buffalo. At the same time, they have also shown the same boneheaded plays that could derail their season. Let’s take a look at where the Detroit Lions stand going into their preseason finale against Buffalo.
Creating turnovers on defense
While the secondary has had a few bad plays in coverage that were reminiscent of the 2012 secondary, the defense has created turnovers helping the lions to a plus six turnover differential.
The defense is still a work in progress, but if the Lions can translate their ability to create turnovers to the regular season, the team should be in great shape to finish on the positive side of .500 and compete for a playoff spot.
A number two wide receiver has yet to emerge, but Bush has been lethal in the passing game registering over 100 receiving yards in just one half alone against the Patriots in week three.
The Rookie class has been outstanding
First round pick Ziggy Ansah has been as good as advertised. He’s been great defending against the run and made an electrifying play against the Jets with an interception return for a touchdown. Second round pick Darius Slay has had his ups and downs, as most first year secondary players do, but has shown that he’s an upgrade over any corner on the roster not named Chris Houston.
Moving down the Lions draft picks, third round selection Larry Warford is in the mix for a starting job at right guard, and fourth round pick Devin Taylor looks like he could be a starter one day in the NFL, and a good rotational player for the time being.
Fifth round pick Sam Martin has blown us all away with his booming kicks and justified why the Lions chose to take him so high in the draft. His ability to change field position is something the team desperately lacked in 2012, and the hang time on his punts and kicks will go a long way for a special teams unit that gave up four touchdowns in two weeks last season.
Lastly, undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria has looked like a steal. He isn’t guaranteed a spot on the 53-man roster, but with the injury to seventh round pick Michael Williams, and the 3 catch, 44 yard performance, including a touchdown, against the Pats, he has shown that he can translate what he’s accomplished in practice to the game. If he survives the final cut, which I believe he will, he could have a big impact on the offense, especially in the red zone this season.
No true number two receiver
There should be a little concern that no one has emerged as a number two receiver, but take that with a grain of salt. Ryan Broyles still isn’t 100 percent and Patrick Edwards has taken the top off defenses twice this preseason, but couldn’t capitalize, because of poor throws by Matthew Stafford.
Some might say Burleson isn’t 100 percent either, but he’s had plenty of time to recover and he’s been participating in every practice this offseason. My conclusions, based on what we’ve seen so far, is that maybe Burleson’s age has finally caught up with him. He has no separation on his routes and has been a non factor all preseason.
The Lions defense plays with tenacity which is often carried over after the play is over. Taunting Tom Brady after the play is over and starting mini brawls are things the defense can’t afford and can turn the game quickly. The defense is going to be successful this season if they can create turnovers and play to the whistle, but they aren’t good enough in their pass defense to give the opposing offense extra opportunities to keep drives alive.