Detroit Lions : Joique Bell, Joe Lombardi, and Other Questions.


Sep 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell (35) rushes during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As you can imagine, I fielded a nice array of questions for this week’s edition of #AskASideLion. At least 80% of the questions were directed toward Joe Lombardi. While his abilities, or in abilities  as it may be, were a hot topic for pessimists and dooms dayers alike. Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos brought out an array of emotions from all who bleed Honolulu blue and silver.

Also, don’t forget to submit your questions for next week’s edition of #AskASideLion on either Twitter or Facebook by using #AskASideLion

#1. Do you miss Dominick Raiola? -Mike G.
Let me preface my response by saying that I was noticeably happy that Raiola was not retained by the team. His antics against Chicago last season was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Swanson filled in nicely for him against Green Bay, as Raiola was serving a one game suspension. I didn’t think that Raiola was ever an elite talent, however he always bled Honolulu Blue and Silver.
Three weeks into the season, it is clear that the offensive line is lacking in many areas. The greatest concern to me is that the o-line is missing leadership. There doesn’t seem to be much pre-snap communication, and assignments are either given incorrectly or not performed at all. I would like to think that at the very least Raiola would be trying to light a fire on the sidelines, as opposed to the current temperament which seems like recipe sharing.
The Detroit Lions offensive line have the most combined hurries, sacks, and hits at a total of 51. The Lions are dead last in the league running the football at a dismal 45 yards per-game. The offensive line does not seem to be pass blocking or run blocking with any sort of effectiveness. Matthew Stafford has been inaccurate at times, but has been under so much duress that it is impossible to pin the blame squarely upon his shoulders.

So, yes (gulp), I do miss him.

#2. Will the Lions incorporate the power blocking scheme and do away with the zone? -Shawn B.

I would love to sit here and say that a change in blocking schemes would be a cure all. The fact is that this offensive line is dreadful in any capacity. Zone blocking could work if used properly. It looks as if the offensive line is lost as a whole. There is little to no pre-snap communication. If the lineman properly blocked their respective zones, you wouldn’t have people like DeMarcus Ware coming in unblocked and wreaking havoc in the backfield.

Man/Power blocking, wouldn’t help this unit in my opinion, at this  point. They are getting out worked more often than not.

#3. Why does it seem like Lombardi Plays to his team’s weaknesses instead of strengths? -Jake C.
Jake brings up a point that was uttered by many fans and writers, including myself. I took a few days to recover from the Denver loss and decide to watch the game again. What I see is absolutely baffling.

I see offensive game plans split into one of two ways. If you are an elite team with a proven system, you run your system until the opponent can stop you. If you are a struggling team, you play to your strengths and play to what the other team gives you.

The Lions have a versatile receiving corps, an eclectic group of running backs, and a quarterback with a cannon. Yet, you wouldn’t know that by watching the first three games of this season. In addition to not utilizing their weapons, receiver Golden Tate’s comments this week regarding opponent’s reading plays show where the lackluster performance is coming from.

If Lombardi has any hopes of keeping his job, he must bust things wide open.

#4. How much longer before Joique Bell is surpassed by Ameer Abdullah on the depth chart? -Sean F.
I think that in the hearts of many, Abdullah has already surpassed Bell. You don’t have to look any further than the stat sheet : Abdullah has 21 carries for 82 yards, 7 receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Bell has 20 carries for 22 yards, 5 receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown. If you take time to look at game film, Bell is hesitant while Abdullah hits the hole with a vengeance and has the ability to make defenders miss.
In his post game press conference Coach Caldwell acknowledged that he has noticed that Joique Bell is ineffective. “Not quite where he used to be — where he was last year,” Caldwell said. “We think he’ll get there.”

Joique is a wonderful representative of what I means to be a professional. He is incredibly active in the Detroit and Benton Harbor communities, and deserves plenty of respect for the outstanding man he is, but his time of being a featured back is over.

#5. Why didn’t the Lions start tackle LaAdrian Waddle? -Michael K.

The Lions  wanted to see if Cornelius  Lucas  was improving before rushing Waddle back. That clearly proved to be the wrong move as Lucas took the first 12 snaps in Sunday’s game. However, Waddle graded out with the worst grade (according to PFF) with a score of -9.5. The score was a bit mystifying to many who watched the game, as it appeared that Waddle played well, even though he has Von Miller breathing down his neck for most of the game.
Either way, as bad as Waddle may or may not have played, he will be the starter moving forward. If Waddle stays healthy, you will only see Lucas on the end when the Lions are limited at the tight end position.

Next: NFL Predicitons : Week 4

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