Aug 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) runs for a touchdown during the first quarter against the New York Jets in a preseason NFL football game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
First Team Offense
One of the big positives from the night was how sharp the Detroit Lions first team offense looked. They marched down the field in five plays against a highly regarded New York Jets defense and looked great doing it. Its important for the offense to get into a groove going into the next season, especially when you consider how tough to beginning of the Lion’s 2015 season is. This team will only go as far as Matthew Stafford takes them so its good to see him get off to a hot start.
This play is just too easy for Stafford and Golden, very few defenses can stop them when they are on. Golden creates instant separation out of his break and times his route perfectly with Stafford’s drop back. Stafford is able to unload on the ball out of his backpedal and delivers a crisp accurate spiral. Then Golden Tate does what he does best, he jukes two defenders out of their shoes when they try to tackle him and picks up some big yardage on a simple play.
Stafford’s second pass was much more impressive. Golden Tate does a phenomenal job of finding the gap between zones on this dig route(click other link for a better view of Tates route) and then Stafford delivers a perfect pass with pressure in his face. Lucas gives up pressure here and looks terrible on the play , but other than that this is an amazing play. Its also a very good sign considering the problems Stafford has had throughout his career when he’s faced pressure up the middle. He got the ball out in time and didn’t rush his throw, the result was an absolutely perfect pass over the linebacker and right into Tates hands. If he doesn’t lead him on this pass its not a touchdown and if he under throws him by a foot its an interception. This was a very tight window throw and Stafford pulled it off with ease.
The run game last year was absolutely terrible. One of the main goals this offseason was to balance the Lions offense and the offensive line was one of the main targets. This is a very well blocked run that lets Ameer Abdullah walk 7 yards with a blockade leading the way. Riley Reiff, Golden Tate, and Corey Fuller all make key blocks to seal off defenders from the play. The first team offensive line paved the way for 3 carries for 14 yards (4.66 ypc) and looked much improved from last year. This again is a limited sample size but it was against a top 5 defense from last year that has only improved over the offseason.
Next: First Team Defense Struggles