Detroit Lions PreSeason Game #3 Film Review

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Aug 28, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Detroit Lions guard Laken Tomlinson (72) gets ready to block Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Ziggy Hood (92) in the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

  Laken Tomlinson

Laken Tomlinson had an up and down night, but he was solid in pass protection and as a run blocker. I already showed one play where Laken Tomlinson was beaten in pass protection, but that was his only real hiccup in pass pro except for one screen play where he was the last player off the ball and seemed to have missed the snap count. Luckily it had no impact on the play but it’s something to watch for in the future.

On the play above Laken does a great job containing Tyson Alualu’s bull rush. He has great hand placement right in the defenders chest and the strength to anchor against the bull rush. His violence at the point of attack and pad level make him very tough to move into the backfield. He is able to keep the defender in front of him and stall his initial penetration to give Matthew Stafford the time necessary to deliver the ball. But he has a tendency to over pursue defenders and has been beaten by swim moves a couple of times this preseason(like on the play I mentioned in the Stafford section). He will need to clean this up to become a high level starter in the NFL, but has already shown the ability to recover on some of these plays he just needs to become more consistent.

Laken has struggled making an impact as a second level blocker so far this preseason. He hasn’t been overly physical at the second level and most of his blocks haven’t been enough to spring the rusher. The play above is a delayed screen and Laken’s first task is to chip the defensive tackle to give Stafford enough time to throw the ball to Ameer Abdullah(Abdullah also looks very impressive on this play). After he chips the tackle he runs out and gets just enough of Telvin Smith to seal him off from the play. He has yet to really physically engage a defender in the second level but at least he has shown the ability to time a chip block and take out a defender. Laken again was strong around the line of scrimmage and continued to move bodies on the inside run game. He has the strength to seal off defenders from the hole and has been very effective as a pulling lineman. He had a solid night and is making a great case to be the week 1 starter even if Larry Warford is healthy. He and Manny Ramirez have been very close this offseason and the decision will come down to the wire.

Cornelius Lucas  

Cornelius Lucas by far had the worst game on the offensive line. He has struggled immensely this preseason, he gave up two QB hurries and was flagged for an illegal formation. He was bested a number of times and looked lost in pass protection. He was actually much worse than his numbers suggest, he was bailed out a number of times by quick throws from Matthew Stafford. As bad as he looked against the pass he might have been worse against the run, he missed a number of blocks and should have been flagged for holding when he tackled a defender to the ground on a carry by Ameer Abdullah. The Lions are in serious trouble if LaAdrian Waddle misses anytime this season, he looks like he will be healthy week 1 but with his injury history it would be surprising if he could play all 16 games. The more Lucas struggles the more you have to question the Michael Williams trade. He looked very solid in preseason and was the better player this preseason. There just isn’t much rationality in trading away a solid back up tackle with starter potential for a 7th round pick. Hopefully Lucas can turn it around, but this preseason has been a very poor showing for him.

The play above is exactly the type of mistake the Lions cannot afford to make next season. He squares up to block to the defensive end and then for some unknown reason turns his body away from the player giving him a free shot at Matthew Stafford. Its hard to understand what was going through Lucas’s mind as this play is happening, the guard is handling the defensive tackle and the only player with any chance to make a play is the defensive end. Lucas can’t give Stafford the time necessary for Greg Salas’s route to develop. If he just catches a piece of the defensive end this is most likely a completion and a first down for the Lions.

Miscommunications or missed assignments happen in football, but if it becomes a pattern you are going to be cut very quickly. Cornelius Lucas has made countless mistakes so far this preseason, above is another play where Lucas completely misses his assignment. The play called for a run towards the gap between the left guard and tackle, however the defensive tackle gets in Riley Reiff’s way so he can’t seal the defender crashing the hole. Ameer cuts the ball backside and would have had a lane if it weren’t for Cornelius. He tries to double team the defensive tackle and actually makes more contact with Manny Ramirez on this play than he does with any Jags defender. Cornelius doesn’t have to do much on this play for it to be successful. If he slows down the defensive end any amount this is most likely a solid gain, Ameer Abdullah had space in front of him after he made a defender miss in the backfield and could have broke this run for a big play.

Even when Cornelius was in the right place on the play he struggled to stall pass rushers. He lacks the quick feet and anchor necessary to stop high level NFL pass rushers. On the two plays above he gets absolutely bullied by bull rushes. He can’t contain the pocket and collapses right into Stafford’s face. Luckily on both plays Stafford got the ball out quickly and was able to make tough passes with pressure in his face.

So far this preseason, Lucas has been an absolute liability for the Lions offense. He has been struggling in all facets of the game and the mental mistakes keep on piling up. If he has to face an elite pass rusher like Von Miller (week 3) or Cliff Avril (week 4) the Lions are in big trouble. They need LaAdrian Waddle back and in top form this season, they have very little depth at the position and are facing some elite pass rushing defenses early in the season.

Next: Zach Zenner