Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What to watch for: Detroit Lions pre-season game #2

The Detroit Lions will make the short trip to Cleveland tomorrow night to take on the Cleveland Browns in what has become a pre-season tradition. Both teams are in similar spots as they are both sort of rebuilding towards something better, and while the expectations might not be as high for the Browns playing this regular pre-season game will up the ante a little. 

While pre-seasons is more about evaluating talent and seeing guys perform in game situations than the final score it is still nice to win. With the larger picture in mind here are some things to watch for when the Lions take on the Browns tomorrow night:

  • The Running game- two concerning numbers from the Jets game. 7 yards was the longest rush by any Lions running back and they averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. The O line did a poor job of opening up running lanes and that needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. It seems a little odd that potential starting RG Larry Warford played 7 series against the Jets but the offense rarely ran at that side of the line. He is supposed to be a road grader and the Lions need him to be exactly that. Look for more running plays to the right side as the RT spot is also open for debate. 
  • Offensive quick start- The offense was plagued last year with slow ineffective starts. When your offense is loaded with the weapons the Lions have they need to go out score quickly and take some pressure of their defense. Matthew Stafford needs to show and be the player we know he can be. 2013 might very well be a make or break year for him. 
  • Linebackers in coverage and the Secondary- one of the defensive backs on this teams needs to step up and make an impact. Someone needs to be ready to lead this unit if the very brittle Louis Delmas cannot play due to yet another nagging injury. The linebacking corps did not look very good in coverage against the Jets and the Lions gave up 292 passing yards and 2 TD's last week and while shootouts might be fun a quick look at the Lions' secondary would suggest that they would not fair well if a lot of their games become shootout type scenarios. 
Other than that the kicking battle will continue between David Ackers and Harvard Rugland. The Lions are still evaluating kick and punt returners and hopefully those two units are much improved over what we saw a year ago. The Lions did not get a chance to return a kick against the Jets so we still don't know exactly what this team has there. 

Again, more than the final score of the game and let us not discount the pride taken in beating the Browns and going to Cleveland and showing up their classless fans who like to chant things that are way out of line, but the ultimate goal here is for the Lions to progress from what we saw last week against the Jets. 

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