The Aftermath: Freaks, beasts, drops and superior punting


Let’s take a walk on the wild side, and see what’s being said about the Lions 2nd exhibiton win.

At Fan Sided sister blog Stripe Hype, they make their feelings known about the loss to Detroit. They ain’t happy. Ain’t happy at all…

"Just as well I didn’t have a chance to watch this one live. A loss? Check. Injuries? Check. Offense still grinding? Check? Defense still choking? Check."

Sounds just like a a fed up Lions fan during the Millen nightmare era.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s coverage was not at all flattering. No one is happy in Bengals-land

"The pass from Palmer was intercepted by Lions cornerback Brian Kelly to set up Detroit’s first touchdown. Lions quarterback Jon Kitna threw 27 yards to Calvin Johnson for the touchdown.He beat cornerback Leon Hall, who said, “You can’t win every one.”The Bengals were sloppy most of the night."

It’s nice to read about the opposition having difficulties with the Lions. It hasn’t happened very often during this decade.

In Detroit, all the talk was about Megatron, the “freak of nature” (in Kitna’s words) known as Calvin Johnson. At Mlive, the Killer was impressed.

"If receiver Calvin Johnson stays healthy, the Detroit Lions might not have to worry about their running game."

I wish. Teams don’t win titles on passing alone.

"“He’s a freak of nature,” said Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who hit Johnson will all three of his passing attempts in just two series of play. For the second straight week, Kitna finished with a perfect passer efficiency rating of 158.3. “We’ve got to play a whole game (in the regular season), unfortunately.”"

Damn. Kitna’s a buzzkill.

We’ve seen enough of Kitna’s tendency to turn the ball over at the worst possible times the past 2 seasons to know he speaks the truth. As good as he’s looked in the past 2 games, we realize Kitna is not going to remain this hot.

At the Freep, WDFN’s Jamie Samuelson says the Lions aren’t very bad! How’s that for a backhanded compliment?

"My theory on preseason football is that it’s impossible to tell if your team is really good, but it’s very easy to see if they are very bad. And we’ve seen that with the Lions through the years (Rams – 2005). So far, through two games, I think it’s pretty clear that the Lions aren’t a very bad football team. What a sales pitch – get your tickets now!"

As someone who’s seen far too much bad Lions football, I have to agree. This team, as long as they avoid injury, won’t be horrible. I’m not yet sure how good the Lions are going to be, but I don’t think they’ll backslide into soul-killing awfulness this season. How’s that for optimism?

In his game log, the Freep’s beat writer, Nick Cotsonika, has a few interesting observations.

"Early in camp, Devale Ellis looked like he had a roster spot as the punt returner and fifth wide receiver. But he hasn’t distinguished himself on returns, and he made a misplay in the second quarter — letting a pass headed right into his chest deflect off his fingers and fall incomplete."

That “misplay” looked even worse than Cotsonika described. It was the sort of drop (no one nearby, hits you square in the hands, would have been a sure 1st down and more) that gets you cut.

"Running back Brian Calhoun is in a fight for a job, and he fumbled in the third quarter. Quarterback Dan Orlovsky recovered the ball, but still …"

Brian Calhoun is not going to make the team. He’s been badly outplayed by Kevin Smith and Artose Pinner, while Tatum Bell and Avieon Cason are more experienced. None have the injury history of Calhoun. It’s not whomever ends up behind Smith on the depth chart will be all that good (there’s little RB depth, to be sure), it’s Calhoun hasn’t played near well enough to the point where he should even be considered for the job.

The Oakland Press’ beat writer, Dave Birkett, writes in his blog he’s quite encouraged by what he’s seen so far, but doesn’t want to overstate things…just yet.

"The Lions are a good-looking 2-0 this preseason after Sunday’s 27-10 win over the Bengals. There’s reason to believe they could be in for a surprise season. Calvin Johnson is fast becoming one of the best receivers in the league, the defense played well against one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks (keeping Carson Palmer off the scoreboard for four drives), and the offense is turnover-free through two games. Of course, it’s still the preseason so I’ll hold off on being too enthusiastic."

He also noticed what I did about Dan Orlovsky (it was pretty damn obvious, actually), he’s just not mobile enough to run the bootleg.

"Dan Orlovsky threw for a game-high 137 yards, but he struggled with the Bengals sitting on bootlegs. Orlovsky just isn’t athletic enough to make the first defender miss and was lucky to avoid a safety on play."

Hell, Orlovsky may not be mobile enough to take 7 step drops. He makes Scott Mitchell look light on his feet. (Too much? Thought so…)

Every time Dan O rolled out of the pocket, he couldn’t make the only guy on him miss.  That takes the bootleg right out of your play calling arsenal.

This was the last game Detroit News writer Mike O’Hara will ever cover, as his retirement started when the game ended. In his final game notes article, he points out what a good game punter Nick Harris had with his foot.

"Punter Nick Harris had two great punts in the first half but was rewarded for only one of them.His first punt was downed by Mike Furrey at the Bengals’ 2-yard line, but Furrey was penalized for being the first player to touch the ball after being out of bounds. That gave the Bengals possession at the 20.Late in the first half, a 44-yard punt went out at the 1.The defense let the Bengals off hook, though. They drove 99 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-7.Harris had a good punting night against his former team, averaging 43.6 yards on five punts. He was waived by the Bengals in 2003 and claimed by the Lions.“I want superior punting,” coach Rod Marinelli said."

I do too, Rod! Superior punting FTW!

Seriously, Harris is very underrated. He’s an excellent punter.

I just have one more question. Why couldn’t it have been that hack, Rob Parker, leaving, instead of the very good at his job O’Hara? Just had to ask…