Friday, October 7, 2011

Detroit Changes Losing Culture, Needs To Change Gameplans

I’ve learned a lot about the Detroit Lions over the past few weeks and it began during the game against the Tampa Bay.‭ ‬During the game against Tampa Bay the Lions‭' ‬offense looked pretty good,‭ ‬they were up tempo and running a lot of no huddle which was working.‭ ‬Against Minnesota the Lions‭' ‬offense looked absolutely horrible,‭ ‬nothing they were doing seemed to work,‭ ‬they looked sluggish and weren’t running any no huddle plays.‭ ‬Later in the game against Minnesota they started to pick up the pace and that’s when they came back and won.‭ ‬The exact same thing happened with the Lions‭’ ‬offense when they played the Dallas Cowboys so whatever‭ ‬Scott Linehan is trying to do in the first half of these games he needs to throw out the window and roll with what’s working.‭

On the defensive side of the ball I’m not sure if this was the case during the Minnesota game but during the first half of the Lions‭' ‬game against Dallas I’ll admit I noticed something on defense that had me yelling at my television.‭ ‬Teams know that the Detroit Lions have an amazing defensive line so to negate the pass rush they’re going to try to run short passes.‭ ‬Well can anybody explain why more often than not the Detroit Lion corner-backs playing seven to ten yards off the Dallas Cowboy receivers‭? ‬That coupled with the way the offense was playing had me practically losing my mind but their was something strange about it.‭

During the Minnesota game I thought it was over at half time and I thought that there was absolutely no way the Lions were going to come back and beat the Vikings.‭ ‬However because of the way the Detroit battled back against Minnesota and were able to win I had faith that they would do the same against Dallas.‭ ‬Sitting in a room watching the game with a Dallas fan and catching so much crap via text message that I needed a biohazard suit‭ ‬I told them that it wasn’t over until the end of the fourth quarter.‭ ‬Most of the Dallas fans I know responded with something along the lines of‭ “‬We Aren’t Minnesota‭”‬.‭

It turns out the Cowboys were worse than Minnesota on that day because they allowed the Lions to come back from a twenty four point deficit and win the game without overtime.‭ ‬As the Lions made their comeback I noticed that the offense was once again up tempo running a lot of no huddle.‭ ‬On defense the Detroit corner-backs were no longer playing so far off of the Cowboy receivers as much.‭ ‬They started to mix it up and alternate playing close and playing off the wide receivers.‭ ‬Chris Houston's interception for a touchdown happened because he was able to play‭ ‬the receiver close and make a play on the ball.‭ ‬One of the only hits I remember us getting on Romo before the sack on the last play was the one Suh put on him that drew the penalty flag.‭ ‬The corner-backs were playing close and had Suh not hit Romo in the head‭ (‬barely‭) ‬then the Cowboys would have been forced to punt.‭

I’m happy that the Lions are currently undefeated and I’m writing this to show that in my mind at least the culture in Detroit has really changed.‭ ‬The fact that the Lions can be down by twenty four and I still believed they had a chance to win the game is absolutely amazing and the fact that they actually did win the game is unreal.‭

However as much as I love basically‭ ‬80%‭ ‬of what‭ ‬the Detroit coaching staff has done,‭ ‬the way the Lions have started the games against Minnesota and Dallas is the direct effect of a horrible game plan to start the game.‭ ‬I give them all the credit in the world for the way they adjusted in the second half and won the game but they wouldn’t have been so far down if they would’ve had a better game plan going into the game.‭

Next week against Chicago the Lions are going up against Mike Martz whose passing attack mostly relies on timing.‭ ‬Hopefully we'll come out in the first quarter and jam their receivers at the line disrupting their timing and allowing our defensive line to feast on Veal Cutler all game long.‭ ‬However even if we do that there is one other thing that worries me,‭ ‬Devin Hester.‭

Besides the first half game planing the only other thing about the Lions that worries me is the special teams.‭ ‬From what I've seen it doesn't seem like Jason Hanson has the leg to kick the ball out of the back of the endzone on kickoffs.‭ ‬I've thought since the beginning of the season that we should have a second kicker on the roster for the sole purpose of ensuring that the opposing team doesn't get a chance to make a kickoff return.‭ ‬Hanson has enough leg to get the ball a few yards‭ ‬into the endzone but most good kick returners are willing to risk taking the ball out from where Hanson kicks it.‭ ‬Against Minnesota the Lions kick coverage units looked absolutely horrible on special teams,‭ ‬they looked better against Dallas but they're going to need to be flawless if Hanson isn't able to kick the ball deep enough to force Devin Hester to take a knee.‭

This Monday I'll be looking for the Lion's to come out of the gate firing and put Chicago down early,‭ ‬if they can do that and force mad man Martz to abandon the run there is no doubt in my mind that the Detroit Lions can absolutely dominate against the Bears.‭ ‬However if the Lions come out of the gate flat like they have for the past two weeks and give Chicago the option of pounding the run,‭ ‬it could be a long Monday night for the Detroit Lions.‭