Let’s review my Great Lakes Classic preview:
How the Lions’ front seven looks against Joe Thomas & Co. will be telling; the Browns completely neutralized the Packers’ pass rush.
As I said in the Fireside Chat, the difference between the Bengals’ and Browns’ offensive lines was breathtaking. Instead of relentless dominance, the Lions’ starters were merely effective, and Colt McCoy had time to make good decisions and get rid of the ball. Sometimes, only by a split-second—but that can be the difference between a sack and a six-yard completion for a first down.
If Stephen Peterman, Dom Raiola, and Rob Sims can’t open up any space for Jahvid Best tonight, that will also spell trouble.
“Trouble” with a capital T. Browns were getting into the backfield on nearly every running play, and Raiola’s second-level blocking was uncharacteristically bad. It doesn’t matter how quickly you get to the second level if the a linebacker can blow you up once you get there. Best was swarmed until they knocked him out of the game with an apparent concussion.
I’m hoping to see another two-great-drives-and-out performance from Matthew Stafford, then big doses of Drew Stanton and Zac Robinson.
Yes, this happened. Not quite as “great” as last week from Stafford, but no negatives and bountiful positives. It looks as though Stafford’s for real. Stanton, in my mind, clearly separated himself from Robinson (if he hadn’t by, you know, starting and winning real games for the Lions). He made some flat-out NFL throws Friday night, and looked dominant against the Browns’ threes—the clear mark of someone who belongs on the roster. We’ve yet to see any of those awful misfires he’s always had hidden in his ammunition, either; in my mind he’s making a solid bid for the long-term backup gig.
I want to see Jahvid Best run well inside and out, and then I’d like to see either Aaron Brown or Jerome Harrison make a resounding statement.
Eeeerrrgh. Best had no room inside, made a few nice plays in space, and went out with what looked like a mild concussion; the leopard has not changed his spots. Until he has holes to hit and hits them, this will remain a concern. Brown, Harrison, and Bell had a little more daylight to work with once it was two vs. twos or threes vs. threes, but still none look to challenge Maurice Morris for a backup spot. I’d like to see them replace Bell with someone else’s training camp cut.
The Lions can’t completely sell out contain on the running lanes to get to the passer.
I’ll be more concerned about the halftime score than the final tally. Word is the Browns will play their starters for most of, if not all of, the first half, and I want to see the Lions’ twos hold their own.
They didn’t. Now, it wasn’t awful and—as I said on the podcast—there were simply too many sloppy penalties, sloppy turnovers, and minor injuries to major players to get much worthwhile evaluation out of this game. For the most part, the stuff we knew was working (the quarterbacks, Burleson, the D-line) was working and the questions we had (run O, run D, pass coverage) remain questions.
The game was a mixed bag, with a mixed result. Going into an always-serious third preseason game against the Patriots . . . I’ve got mixed feelings.