Detroit Lions Film Review: A Closer Look at Lions Rookies vs. Packers

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Dec 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) makes a catch and looks for running room during the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Drive #6

Neither player did anything remarkable on this drive, though I will say that Travis Swanson is beginning to impress me the more I see him play. He has more than held his own in pass protection, and looks like an immediate improvement over Raiola as a run blocker.

Drive #7


Another quick three-and-out for the Lions. Stafford misses on three straight passes despite having more than enough time to hit his receivers. Swanson continues to look good in pass protection.


First pass goes to Ebron but it appears as if Ebron never even sees the ball. Clear miscommunication between Stafford and Ebron. Not the first time we’ve seen this.

Joique Bell fumbles on the first play of the eighth drive.

Drive #9


At this point in the game, the Lions are desperate to get something going in the pass game. The offense is in shotgun on every single play of this drive. Swanson’s snaps are on the money and he gets the job done in pass protection. Any pressure that Stafford faces is not because of Swanson.


Ebron had a rough time getting open against man-coverage. Whether it was Clay Matthews or Casey Hayward, Ebron was blanketed throughout the game unless the Packers were in zone coverage.

First play of the tenth drive results in a safety. Lack of communication between RG Garrett Reynolds and RT Cornelius Lucas leads to a broken play.

Drive #11


More of the same for Swanson. Wasn’t perfect early, but really improved as the game progressed.


Ebron lines up as an outside receiver on the very first play of this drive and actually gets a step on his man. However, Stafford decides to dump it off to Riddick for a first down. Ebron ran a route on every play of this drive, but it appears that Stafford rarely looks his way in the pass game.

The Lions took the field for another offensive series, but it led to two uneventful plays preceding their loss.

Final Thoughts

I thought both Swanson and Ebron had decent performances overall. Both players had uneventful second halves with the Lions trailing.

Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus gave Swanson a +0.9 overall grade against the Packers. That’s better than all but two of Raiola’s games this year.

Swanson really impressed me in his first start at center. I’d actually like to see him get another start against the Cowboys, but with Raiola coming back from suspension it’s highly unlikely. I thought he somewhat struggled early in pass protection and improved as the game went on. As a run blocker, Swanson is the real deal, and clearly an immediate upgrade from Raiola’s run blocking.

Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus gave Swanson a +0.9 overall grade against the Packers. That’s better than all but two of Raiola’s games this year.

Ebron has been up and down all year. Many have complained about Lombardi not utilizing Ebron in the passing game, but I think that argument is too simplistic. Ebron runs plenty of routes per game. The problem is that he’s not always open, and Stafford rarely looks his way.

There is just no chemistry between the two, and that becomes evident after you see the miscommunication on many of the attempts thrown his way. Ebron is a great talent, and I expect to see a big improvement from him next year. Mark my words.