Fireside Chat: Lions at Vikings

>> 9.26.2011

During this week’s celebratory Fireside Chat, I included my exclusive interview with Lions linebacker Justin Durant. I apologize for the sound quality/volume of that segment! Beyond that, it was a good show, so check it out. If you dig it, you can subscribe via iTunes for free.


randomguy313,  September 26, 2011 at 11:54 AM  

Observations from the Lions/Vikings game:

Where is the running game? -- I have said this on this site multiple times that this interior line will not dominate the line of scrimmage allowing for the RB to impose his will on opposing teams. I also said that given the Lions propensity to be effective in the pass game will keep the opposing defense from dropping eight in the box more often than not. These items put together do not bode well for a RB to be able to break long runs.

Given that, I think the Lions do an adequate job of keeping defenses honest and their victory against the Vikings in Minnesota spoke a lot to me and the Lions capabilities. Look at the numbers, Best 12 carries 14 yards and AP going 17 carries for 87 yards. One would immediately look at Best and dismiss his ability; however you take away the 43 yarder for AP and he is only averaging 2.5 a carry. A lot of what AP does is from his talent, do not misconstrue what I am going to say, but it also helps when the D brings that eighth man into the box which leaves the D vulnerable if he gets passed that first level. My contention is that Best will not be able to exploit those vulnerabilities as the defense will look to bracket Calvin and keep seven in the box.

But as I and a lot of commenters have indicated, the screen game and quick hitches will serve to supplement the run game and that us where Best has especially excelled. His burst was tremendous on that 60 yarder.

randomguy313,  September 26, 2011 at 11:55 AM  

Observations from the Lions/Vikings game:

"I have to believe the Lions are believing their own press at this point, too" -- Ty I did not agree with you on this point however since I did not send a tweet or comment until now I get no points. Zack also indicated on Side Lion Report that the Lions came out vanilla

I don't believe either was the case. The Vikings have shown for three games that they can get the jump on a team, so it was not surprising to see the Lions struggle a bit. I believed the offense would not be as successful as previous games; and it initially held true. I am reluctant to throw around cliches because there are so many variables to account for but I think there is some credence to "weathering the storm".

Defensively, the Vikings gameplan was excellent. They rushed only four for the majority of the game and was able to get pressure on Stafford. The Minnesota home field cannot be discounted as it it had a big part on allowing Robison and Allen to get excellent jumps on the snap. I think the big issue with Minnesota, and contrasting that with the Lions, is depth. It did not seem like Allen was ever off the field. Kevin Williams played 63 of 71 snaps. Consistently pass rushing for an entire game will gas you and although Allen is impressive it helps to have someone to spell and rotate like the Lions have.

The times that I recall a blitz from Minnesota, discounting the zone blitzes, 3 deep balls went to Calvin and one short post that Stafford missed. Two deep balls were caught and on one Cook made an excellent play. The one Stafford missed was on the fo ahead field goal in the 4th. If you notice the safety times his blitz well and vacates the area Calvin comes into. Stafford tries to fire it in, but if he just waited a half a second he has Calvin easily over the middle as Calvin had gotten separation from the CB.

Ultimately, the Lions offensive talent took over this game and the Vikings inability to get first downs played a major part of tilting the field in favor of t he Lions. They may not win this type of game all the time, but this type of victory cannot be discounted given the adversity they faced.

Angus Osborne,  September 26, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

I'm not ready to write off Backus either. With my untutored eye, and without the benefit of replays, it looked to me that Jared Allen was regularly reacting to the snap much faster than any other players. He's a beast. An irritating, juvenile, attention-seeking beast. And Backus won't have a harder challenge this year than Allen @MIN.

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