Watching the Browns thoroughly trash the Lions last Saturday was a tough pill to swallow. It’s only preseason, they say. It doesn’t count, they say. Hogwash. Anytime Derek Anderson can look like a pro-bowler without breaking a sweat, concern is warranted. If the Browns can do that to us, thinking about facing Peyton Manning next week is enough to give me a case of the galloping trots.
To begin with, our defense looked every bit as bad as they did in 2008. Our secondary that played well against Matt Ryan last week disappeared in Cleveland. There is still no sign of a legitimate pass rush, and they are continuing to give up huge run plays.
The offense was stymied again and again. Poor decisions by a rookie quarterback, more dropped passes, and an anemic running game add up to big trouble. Our offensive line seems to be playing better as a unit on pass plays, but still isn’t opening up much room for the running backs. The quarterback of the future showed that he still has some major growing to do as his vision and accuracy were slipshod at best. As for the receiving unit, Lions fans need to pray that the Johnsons return to the field fast.
Special teams were nothing special. The Lions gave up two kick returns for touchdowns (though one was mercifully called back on a penalty) and produced nothing of note when returning the ball themselves. There has been a lot of chatter on fan sites questioning why Aveion Cason was returning so many kicks, and it is understandable the fans want to see the new kids Williams and Brown more. My feeling is that the coaches were giving Cason one more chance to show something. He failed.
One bright spot was 22 year old place kicker Swayze Waters who made a 51 yard field goal while filling in for an ailing Jason Hanson. The kid has no chance of superseding Hanson on the depth chart, but it is good to know there is a strong leg in the wings in case Hanson’s recovery rolls into the regular season.
Some might say that when the coaches start to game plan against the opposing team, the Lions will look better. When defensive coordinator Cunningham starts to use more zone blitzes to confuse the opposing quarterback, we will be better. When Scott Linehan dials up some of the magic he used to make Daunte Culpepper a pro-bowler in Minnesota, the offense will be better.
I hope so, but I’ll believe it when I see it.