The Detroit Lions 1-1 NFL Preseason record hasn’t particularly highlighted the true malfunctions in their play execution.
There’s a bias approach to evaluating the NFL Preseason. When a team renders a victory, fans and analyst persist on praising the performance of the team. But if they lose, fans and locals will proclaim that it is “only the preseason.” Well considering that the Lions have won and lost one game, how should critics grade their performance? Regardless of how balanced their record seems to be, the beating they experienced against the Bengals last Thursday has to cause them much sobering. Before I expound, Let’s take a look at the X’s & O’s.
The turnover friendliness the Lions have shown forth over these first two preseason games is unacceptable. Two QB Matthew Stafford fumbles (one in the red zone against the Steelers and another against Cincinnati which the Lions were able to recover), and two thrown interceptions by QB Dan Orlovsky (which went for touchdown returns) has to cause concern for the Lions. The passing game is a game of fluidity and the QB drills the Lions are currently putting forth are obviously not intense enough to mold Stafford. This is by far not a demerit to Quarterback Coach Brian Callahan but a notification that Stafford isn’t like Peyton Manning who has innate footwork. Stafford is a shuffle master the second he feels the pressure build in the pocket and this will cause a problem down the road if not reproved. His drop backs need to be quick and sound. 3-steps and go or 5-steps and go. On the 32 yard 1st quarter toss to Marvin Jones, Stafford’s footwork was so disturbingly shaky I’m surprised no one had even taken notice.
The Lions need to execute in the red-zone to ignite the crowd and defense. Early in the game last Thursday, on the 1st drive, the Lions marched all the way into the opponents red-zone territory and were unable to get a touchdown. The success of the Lions defense will be strongly predicated on whether or not they are able to play with an lead in contest. Detroit cannot force their defense to be subject to the run or pass because the opponent has the lead. Again, this particular variable relies strongly on red-zone efficiency. In Week 1, Stafford fumbled in opponents territory, in Week 2 he simply could not cash in on the attempts Jim Bob Cooter allotted. Below is a prime evaluation of a Lions package used last week against Cincinnati.