Monday, September 7, 2009

Preseason Game 2, 3 and 4 thoughts... along with final cuts.

I must apologize for the delay in updating this blog. I have all the remaining preseason games on my DVR but had no chance to record them to DVD yet. I never realized how working about 70 hours a week can remove all your free time.

Okay, so preseason game 2, the Great Lakes Classic, was horrific. A reminder of some of the 2008 games and it left everyone feeling a little flat in a big hurry. Thing was, the team didn't game plan for the 3-4 defense, and it showed. That's the thing about 3-4, it's radically different enough that you DO have make changes to your game plan or you are toast. So, the Lions proved that they can play really bad if they don't try... just like 2008. The next game against a 3-4 team won't be as bad, but it could still be interesting to say the least.

Preseason game 3. I posted on the forum that it was interesting that even though Culpepper started (usually a sign of the regular season depth chart) that Stafford actually got more playing time in, and much of that with many of the supposed starters. Turns out that was indeed a hint of things to come. In addition, if you do watch the game with an eye to seeing what the coaching staff is doing, you will note they repeatedly try things... "just to see what happens". They move DTs out to DE, and vice-versa. They move the LBs around. Same with the DBs. Same with the offensive players. They run the same plays more then once in a row. Call the same players number to get the ball ... just to what happens the next time. Game 3 was partly used as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, but was used even more for evaluation (still).

Preseason game 4. Injuries really messed up the plans here, to an extent. But I must say the street QB didn't do all that bad. I was impressed they got him up to that speed that fast. Apparently the Jets were too since they traded for him. It was during this game that I began to feel that Stafford was going to be the starting QB sooner rather then later (despite my line of thinking that the coaches like experience). I posted in the forum how the ability to take the hits and still throw the ball was a sure sign that Stafford was maturing into the role. I also stated that some of the throws were purely amazing. Some were totally wrong, wacked, or otherwise not right... but of those that connected, some of them were nothing short of awesome. He may turn out to be a nut case, or an ego-maniac, or an interception king like no other, but if he isn't one of those things, then the guy is going to be a very exciting player to watch... down the road. Hey, he's still a rookie QB. Rookie QBs make mistakes... always. Many fans (like myself) hate that learning curve they go through... but if you can (and I can) get my mind around it properly... then I can sit back and enjoy watching the progress that appears this young man is going to make... as he becomes a top QB in the NFL.

So, that is what I will do. Throw away the Joey Harrington results and once again hope that the mistakes I am going to be watching will actually make the QB better as the season progresses.

The cuts. First, they aren't done yet. The coaches are telling the front office who isn't measuring up and the front office is keeping a look out for replacements to try out. This will continue for the entire year. Although the moves may be fewer and further between after game 1 (due to salary cap issues).

I saw that they put Hill as a starter next to Jackson, rotating in Cohen in Jackson's spot. They moved Fluellen out to DE but he will still play DT, so he became the swing player. The Linebackers appear to be much better, and a warning to Ernie Sims... Dizon is closing in on your starting job. Time to make those stops and to quit overrunning the plays. The DBs may or may not be productive at first, but I think they will improve as time goes on... it just might be a little ugly (okay, a lot ugly) for a while. The offense is improving due to talent, coaching, scheme, but mostly because the offensive line is improving (and that is also due to coaching, scheme, and just a pinch more talent). 4/5ths of the OL were playing last year, yet even in base in preseason you can see an improvement... that is because of the coaches. Pure and simple.

Will the O help out the D enough to garner some wins? Hard to say at the moment. But at least the coaching staff does indeed know what it is doing, and that will help (instead of hurt) the team more then most people realize.

Too bad the first game is against Drew Brees and the New Orlean Saints. But then again, what would they learn from a cakewalk game? Might as well learn in game 1 where you need to do the most work.

And that is all I have time for right now, hopefully that (free time) improves soon as well as the Lions.

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