Detroit Lions: 3 reasons not to panic this preseason
The Detroit Lions are two games into the preseason and their play hasn’t shown too much to get excited about, but here are three reasons not to panic.
The preseason has been underwhelming so far for the Detroit Lions. It has nothing to do with the final score and everything to do with familiar slow starts to games and a stalling offense. Sure, cornerback Darius Slay is still breaking out his famous finger wag. But, otherwise, the defense seems to still be getting used to the new defensive playbook.
With two games down and the dress rehearsal on deck, here are three reasons not to panic by what you’ve seen so far this preseason.
1. Running back Kerryon Johnson hasn’t been completely unleashed. Against the Oakland Raiders, Johnson had seven carries for 34 yards (that counted) and against the New York Giants, he had four carries for nine yards. It feels familiar.
Last year, rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay started the preseason strong with two touchdowns and then sort of disappeared. Then, in the first game of the regular season, Golladay scored two touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals.
So far, the same path appears to be in place for Johnson. The Lions are giving fellow running back Ameer Abdullah numerous opportunities to earn himself a spot on the roster and, in the process, keeping Johnson fresh for the start of the season. Let’s hope we see some fireworks from him against the New York Jets in a few short weeks.
2. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is still getting up to speed. Ansah saw some playing time on Friday night making two tackles during his 17 snaps while on the field. The Lions were taking things slow with a player making $17.1 million this season under the franchise tag.
The plan is to keep him safe from injury so that he can make an impact on the field during the regular season when the games actually matter.
While Ansah doesn’t have any sacks during his preseason action so far, his presence was still felt. Tim Twentyman of the Detroit Lions website noted how he was solid against the run.
"“We talk so much about the pass rush from Ansah, that we sometimes forget how good he’s been defending the run, and how the Lions have missed that part of his game when he’s been out.”"
This season, Ansah will be called on to do multiple different things for this defense. And he’s just starting to get warmed up.
3. The Lions have a new head coach. Matt Patricia took the reigns as head coach and just completed his first game on the sidelines of Ford Field. Fans can’t expect everything to be clicking and firing on all cylinders a month from the start of training camp.
Patricia’s only had two games to look at how things are working and make adjustments in practice. Pairing practice with actual game-speed situations will make things better. Look for things to improve with two more preseason contests before the games start to matter.