Training camp and the preseason were good to the Detroit Lions. They came out of it with a nice idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the position groups and most importantly, healthy. Though the preseason isn’t over, training camp is done and it is time to analyze what it means going forward to the regular season.
5. Rookies will play a contributing roll this season.
The preseason proved to be interesting for the 2013 rookie class. There are several rookies that made an impression and can likely make the team. First is Darius Slay. Slay started against the Patriots and was effective from the start. Tom Brady was unable to score a touchdown on the Lions first team defense and Slay had a hand in it. It will be nice to see if he can make an immediate impact in the unproven Lions secondary. Next is Joseph Fauria. The undrafted tight end from UCLA took the most snaps for the offense against the Patriots. He has racked up five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown this preseason and has looked good doing it. If Fauria can be an offense weapon they found in the scrap heap then it will be a definite improvement at the tight end position.
4. The defensive line.
The Lions defensive line has been nothing but impressive in the first three preseason games. Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley have been beasts up the middle and disrupting any kind of play. Jason Jones has been surprisingly dominant at the end spot so far. He had a big game against the Patriots and made an impression on Lions fans. Ziggy Ansah is getting there. His raw athleticism is showing and he is learning more and more each day. I believe he is ready for game day and could be the cherry on the defensive line sundae.
3. THEY NEED A RECIEVER!
The lack of a true second receiver is glaring on this slow offense. With the absence of Calvin Johnson during the Browns and Patriots preseason games, the offense has looked lost without him. Stafford has looked inaccurate but in his defense, the receivers are not creating space. The best receiver out of camp so far has been Matt Willis but it is unlikely that he could crack the starting lineup. Ryan Broyles has played very little and mostly with the second team and Nate Burleson shows of a man coming back from a broken leg. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions make a move for a true number two.
2. Reggie Bush is the real deal.
Bush has looked phenomenal as the number one running back for the Lions. His ability to create space has been shown off with short passing and screen plays. He hasn’t shown that he can run through the tackles with this offensive line but it will be a crucial part of the offense. Bush can be the playmaker that is so needed to make this offense move at 100% efficiency. Even with Johnson out of the lineup, Bush has looked great with the ball in his hand.
1. Get ready for another season of Scott Linehan.
Every year Lions fan watch their high powered offense underachieve at the helm of Scott Linehan. During the season, he is at the center of many complaints but during the offseason it is often forgotten. Only in the few preseason games that have given us a look at the offense, it hasn’t looked good. They have not been able to capitalize off of turnovers, or even move the ball well inside the red zone. With Johnson out of the lineup, it has shown the ineptitude of the receivers beyond Johnson and Bush. Though it is just preseason and they use a basic playbook, the offensive play calling was still questionable. All Lions fans should be ready for a revolt by Week 5 if this offense isn’t performing up to snuff.