Unfortunately this week, or fortunately the satellite was down through the end of first quarter and came back at halftime. But I still have enough info swirling in my head to have to share it.
Titus Young. This kid is exactly what the Lions needed to fill out the receiving corps. He is making catches. He is also making catches at key times and he can catch the long ball. After starting two games, Titus has 9 catches with over a 15 yards per catch average.
I would hate to be a defensive coordinator having to deal with Nate, Calvin and Titus (the disease that kills defensive backfields natecalvintitus) along with our workhorse TE Brandon Pettigrew. Then you add our end zone thespian, Tony Scheffler and our high octane screen specialist, Jahvid Best. Put it all together with Matt "the Sniper" Stafford and how do you stop it?
Since seeing Titus in an NFL uniform he has reminded me of someone and it finally hit me. He reminds me of Peerless Price. So I googled images of Peerless and yep that's who he reminds me of. I know Titus doesn't like comparisons, but that's what we do. Looking up Peerless's stats, I found that he started with 34 catches in his rookie year and gradually worked his way up to 94 catches in his fourth year before he started to decline. During his prime years he was good for around 50 catches with above 15 yards per catch. I think those are good numbers for Titus to reach or surpass.
Brandon Pettigrew. This guy has been a security blanket for Stafford as of late. Hill and Stanton used him extensively. Stafford is now learning that in hard times cuddling with "Blanky" is a good way to get back into a rhythm. Not to mention when he and Calvin are in the secondary it looks like dads "playing with their kids" a paraphrased Raheem Morris quote on a local Tampa radio show.
Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford. It is completely evident that Stafford knows how to throw it to Calvin. When there's an blitz and Calvin is in single coverage, Stafford doesn't through a rocket to Calvin, he tosses up a nice, tight, easy to catch spiral that Calvin can catch at it's highest point. Depending on the defender, Calvin's hands reach the ball from eight inches to three feet over the the outstretched hands of the poor soul that is now on the highlight reel.
Eric Wright. This guy impresses me every week. What stands out the most is his ability to set the edge on run plays. He blows up the lead blocker, and with authority. It doesn't matter if it is an receiver, fullback, tight end or lineman. Wright takes that responsibility seriously and does it in a violent fashion allowing a safety, linebacker or defensive end to clean up.
Justin Durant, Stephen Tulloch and Deandre Levy. These guys make tackles. I know it's their job but I'm not used to seeing it. The last weeks they have shut down the run. Yes Jamaal Charles went down and Adrian Peterson busted a big one. But if you look close, they were caught in some gadgetry against the Chiefs and then settled in and was allowing nothing before Charles went out. Against the Vikings I blame that big run from AP on scheme. We happened to have the exact wrong defense called for that play and that will happen from time to time. During that play Delmas took a bad angle and gave them an extra 20 yards. During the TD Kyle Vanden Bosch took an outside approach to the QB and Peterson dove to the hole that Levy filled but Peterson then bounced it out where no one set the edge. Wright was in the end zone in pass coverage and Delmas was late getting to the outside. I don't know who was to blame on that. Sometimes great players make great plays. Overall, the linebackers are getting it done.
Rob Sims. Say what you want about the Offensive line, but Sims is good. On the Best 60 yard screen many analyst have paused the film to show Calvin and Nate down the field blocking, which is great they are GREAT down field blockers. But when you look at the whole play, Titus and Dom start the play by blowing up any chance of the defenders of nipping it in the bud. Then seconds later you see Sims at least 40 to 50 yards down field blocking. That is a teammate you want to have!
Kyle Vanden Bosch. Kyle is the type of guy who doesn't take plays off and is probably the number one reason for the attitude of the defense. His preparation and drive to be better has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the team. They respect him and emulate him. Going into the season I thought maybe Lawrence Jackson may be getting better than KVB. Now after Schwartz's plan to keep him fresh by giving him time off during the week, much to KVB's dismay, Kyle has been playing like the Kyle from the Titans. It's good to see great performances from him again.
The Lions as a team. We have known that this team was different than previous teams. They find ways to put other teams away. It would have been real easy for them to lay down after being down by 20 points in the first half but it has been noted that there was no panic in this team. I have to say watching it, I wasn't as distraught as usual knowing there was a serious chance we could pull this off. Pettigrew was asked after the game if he has come back like that before, the interviewer holding the mic to his face expecting "no ma'am, that was incredible" but instead Brandon turned to grab a shirt while saying matter of factly "yea, I've come back from big deficits before." Kyle was asked the same question and basically said it is such a tight knitted group that we all play for each other, the guy beside me is doing the same thing. Stafford was asked that question and basically said we just need to execute like we know we can and it would give us the chance to win. Three different answers. Put those three answers together and you have the make up of a confident, close-knit team who isn't surprised they are undefeated.
Side note: I was pissed that we kept John Wendling and put Ricardo Silva on waivers. Many of you disagreed with me and Silva did clear waivers so it worked out. HOWEVER, the best selling special teams book is currently "Where's Wendling". Our special teams suck right now and Silva is wasting away on the practice squad. Time to make a move.