After one preseason game, the Detroit Lions are not exactly right where they would like to be going into the season. Although they ended up beating the Cleveland Browns by a score of 13-12, there are still a lot of things that Detroit needs to work on.
Rasheen Mathis and Darius Slay both did a good job flocking to the ball, especially after the catch. However, they also both struggled a bit in man coverage. Hoyer was hitting some small windows too, but the Detroit Lions’ cornerbacks are going to have to play better. The Detroit Lions’ 4th round draft pick Nevin Lawson also struggled a bit in pass coverage.
Another dim point in the Detroit Lions contest versus the Cleveland Browns was the Lions drops. Drops are a big reason that the Lions struggled mightily down the stretch last season. In order for this offense to succeed, the young Lions receivers are going to need to work on their hands. Among the players that had trouble hanging on to the ball were Reggie Bush, Kevin Ogletree, and Steven Miller. Running back George Winn also lost a fumble.
Enough of the negatives, though, because there are definitely a lot of positives that can be taken from the Detroit Lions’ first preseason game. Matthew Stafford threw the ball all of 3 times, but connected on two of those attempts and he looked very sharp doing so. The first team offensive line had a little to do with that, and they looked very good protecting Stafford and creating holes for the backs.
Two cornerbacks did impress playing against the Browns. Detroit Lions rookie cornerback Muhammed Seisay and veteran cornerback Cassius Vaughn both had a few nice plays on the ball. Cassius Vaughn played with high energy, and showed Detroit that he is not just a practice squad body.
Special teams came together very nicely, which is actually kind of surprising for preseason games. Usually, the special teams do not fully come together until after a team makes cuts. However, the Lions had a good thing going with their special teams. Kickoff and punt coverage was great, other than one second half slip up. Jeremy Ross showed incredible speed as he took the opening kickoff 49 yards, and helped set the Lions up with a field goal.
There is a position battle brewing at running back that could potentially leave a very talented back without a job. The Detroit Lions have a good problem at running back; they are all playing hard for a roster spot. Mikel LeShoure showed bursts of speed that he once was capable of. George Winn had a few big time runs, and even made a difficult catch. Steven Miller had a few miscues early on in the Lions’ preseason opener, but he put on a show in the second half. It will be interesting to see which of these guys make the Detroit Lions’ 53-man roster.
The Detroit Lions defense could be a lot better than last season. Jason Jones played huge, and if he can stay healthy then the Lions defensive line will have ridiculous depth. Caraun Reid and Kris Redding also played out of their skin on the second team defensive line. It is clear that the Detroit Lions have great depth on their defensive line.
Lastly, the coaching staff all impressed. Jim Caldwell has been working hard on making this team his own, and the players all have his respect. That much was clear during the Detroit Lions’ preseason opener. Joe Lombardi looked right at home calling plays, and he even manufactured a game winning drive with 3rd string quarterback Kellen Moore.
It was the Detroit Lions first dress rehearsal, and they played like it was. However, a lot of positives could be seen during the game. The final score of 13-12 is the least telling storyline of a preseason game. The Detroit Lions are in the process of putting all of the pieces they have together, and they will be a force to be reckoned with if they succeed.