Credit must be given where credit is due. I have spent the past four weeks bashing the Lions for poor coaching, poor Linebacker/Corner play, and most notably Louis Delmas and his many missed tackles. Today I will point out what has drastically changed in one week’s time and what hasn’t.
I question Linehan’s play calling on the opening drive when he went for two long post plays on third and short, but after that his play calling was excellent.
Shaun Hill is the perfect replacement for Matthew Stafford. Hill is the primary reason why the Lions have kept the first four games even close to respectable and why the Lions were able to pull off a win against the Rams. He is definitely a leader on the field and you can see his control in the huddle, even if he does come across as awkward at times in his scrambling. The outcome is what matters and he does far more positive than negative.
The O Line is always going to be a concern as long as Jeff Backus remains entrenched in his starting left tackle position. Raiola is never going to be able to play as big as his heart is, but this is nothing new to Lions fans.
Pettigrew dropped a couple makeable passes, but still made several good plays. After he develops more dependable hands he will become one of the better Tight Ends in the league. He already leads the NFC in receptions to date this season. I’m curious what his drop totals are, though.
The running game is questionable ever since Jahvid Best hurt his toes. Kevin Smith still looks lost out there to me when he gets a hand off, but he does pick up the blitz well and makes the catch when thrown his way. Best is the answer to the running game for certain. He just needs to get healthy.
Calvin is Calvin; a mystery to me. My thoughts still lean toward trading him while value is so high. Speaking of trade, the Lions should consider trading Jason Hanson to a playoff contender like New Orleans. Hanson should be applauded for his tremendous efforts and tolerance of losing through the years, and should be given a shot at going out in style. Besides that, he is going to be replaced at the end of the season anyhow.
I am not at practices or in the locker room so I cannot speak about a players importance or presence in those areas, but I do watch every game closely and I can tell you that on the field, when it really matters, Corey Williams has been a far better off season pick up than Vanden Bosch. Williams does jump off sides too often, but I attribute that to poor coaching and not preaching discipline enough.
Cliff Avril had a monster day. Suh is a beast (tip it to yourself INT!). Let’s hope the Lions do as well in obtaining LB’s and Corners next offseason as they did building the D Line this season.
Linebacker and Corner play stepped up in a big way against the Rams. Julian Peterson stood out the most from the Linebacker position for his effort and the Corners didn’t stand out much for their effort, which is a good thing. Jonathan Wade and Chris Houston both stepped their games up in a desperately needed way. I noticed a few should be Interceptions but they play on the defensive side of the ball for a reason, I suppose. Alphoso Smith showed me once again why he should be out there starting every week.
Special Teams deserves special mention. Stefan Logan had a 105 yard Touchdown return and immediately went out and made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff. That is effort that Lions fans have not seen in years and I believe that to be the spark that ignited a winning attitude against the Rams. Jason Hanson gets a second mention for being Jason Hanson of old.
Time to get ready to kick some Giant tail…