I haven't written anything in awhile, so be gentle.
So the first preseason game is in the books and now that we've gotten our first look of the 2010 Detroit Lions, its time to critique. Of course, all of this analysis needs to have the "it's only the preseason" clause. But, realistically, what are we supposed to do? Take everything we saw and completely ignore it? (yes) Forget about how efficient the first team offense was on that one drive? (absolutely) Not even think about our d-line being one of the best in the league (are you kidding me?). Alright shut up, inner me, and let's make some Jump to Conclusion Mats.
Mat #1 - This defensive line really could be all it's hyped to be
A weird thing occured to my friend (Alex) and I while watching the first quarter of the game: it was more exciting to watch this defense than it was our offense. Of course, this is exactly the opposite of what we were expecting. Before Stafford and the gang got their footing, the defense was controlling the game. Through Pittsburgh's first 3 drives, they had a total of 12 net yards, or 1.1 yards per play. Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch led the way, by creating havoc in the backfield. Avril recorded his first sack of the year, while Vanden Bosch was consistently getting into the backfield, forcing at least two incomplete passes during his short stay on the field. If we can continue to get pressure from the outside like this, just think of how that might free up Ndamukong Suh in the future.
Mat #2 - This team is paper thin in depth
Did that second half look familiar to anyone else? To me, it was just as every game last year ended. A close, competitive game blown open by big plays and mental errors. Offensive drives were over before they even started (1st and 30, anyone?), the defense started to miss tackles more often than make them (welcome back Dre Bly!), and just when it looked like we'd be back in the game, something Lion-like would happen (Missed 44-yard FG followed immediately by a 68-yard Steeler TD). Now I realize that most of the players on the field at this point won't be here when the season starts, and I certainly don't care about winning a preseason game, but it would be a little relieving to know that if/when some important starter goes down, someone could step in.
Mat #3 - Amari Spievey needs to practice more
Of course, Spievey should be given a lot of slack because he's a rookie who has missed mostly all of training camp. However, he was looking pretty lost out there. On Pittsburgh's 68-yard TD play, Spievey looked to be playing zone in the middle of the field, took a terrible angle on crossing receiver Antonio Brown, and watched him trot into the endzone untouched. Not a good debut, but on the bright side, I didn't even expect him to play, so it was good for him to get some NFL snaps under his belt.
Mat #4 - Stafford is beginning to look like an NFL QB
This may be a bit of an overstatement for someone who only played three drives in a preseason game, but I thought Matthew Stafford played an incredible game. He had the look of a quarterback who was in command of the game, and knew where the ball should be at all times. He was extremely decisive and seemed to make the right looks 100% of the time. Even his one gaffe on the interception, Stafford quickly recognized the blitz and made the correct checkdown to Jahvid Best. The pass certainly could've been better, but Stafford really doesn't deserve the INT on his record for that throw. I get the feeling that when this unit is clicking, they could truly be a top 5 offensive threat in the league.