Here are some highlights:
As you may have guessed from how the right side of the Patriots’ offensive line performed, the left side of the Lions’ defensive line was extremely impressive. The game’s top grade went to Ndamukong Suh (+4.3) and it wasn’t for his hit and hurry. In a rarity for him it was nearly all down to his run defense, where he finished with four defensive stops as well as drawing a holding call when he had Vollmer beat.
While he dominated there, Jason Jones (+3.2) showed a lot of people he could hack it at defensive end. Of course he’ll have to do it in the regular season, but after a disastrous year in Tennessee at right defensive end in 2011, maybe a switch to the left side will bring the best out of him. If he can keep turning 16 pass rushes into two sacks and a hurry, the answer to that question will be a firm ‘yes’.
I may sound like I’m repeating myself, but it is only preseason. You’d still like to see more out of Matthew Stafford (-3.6) who was the lowest-graded player on the Lions’ game-day roster. Why? Well, once again it was a collection of errant throws, and while the 12 completions for 166 yards may look impressive, only 17 of those yards came in the air, with the rest after the catch.
In fact, though he attempted seven balls over 10 yards in the air, he didn’t complete any of them. Getting Johnson back will help, and he was working without Ryan Broyles, but it was far from convincing.
As much fanfare as the arrival of Reggie Bush (-0.7) has received, I remain unconvinced that he’s the best back on the roster. Don’t get me wrong, he can do some things out in space, but turning six rushing attempts into 1 yard isn’t scaring anybody.
Now Joique Bell (+4.7), on the other hand, continues to show he has something to him in every phase of the game. While Bush is so dangerous in space, Bell looks more likely to make something happen between the tackles. He averaged 10.4 yards on his five carries, with 36 of his 52 yards coming after contact, and he forced four missed tackles.
You might say he doesn’t offer much as a receiver, but if you saw him last year (+7.8receiving grade) and watched him break three more tackles after catching the ball, you’d surely think differently.
Nick Fairley was flagged for two penalties. Anyone hoping for a reduction after his 2012 defensive-lineman-leading 12, may be sorely disappointed.
Jake Scott may be on the roster bubble but his work in the second half (on 24 snaps) saw him earn a +5.1 grade. The Lions may opt to go with youth and versatility, so plenty of linemen-hungry teams may be keeping an eye on him.
My assessment of their write-up: It was mostly spot-on. The Stafford stats are concerning. I know we were running a vanilla offense & Schwartz wanted the team to work on fundamentals at a lot of the skill positions. But, it was not just on the WRs faults as Stafford needs to work on his timing and accuracy.
I think they didn't understand the situation in terms of the run-game that Reggie Bush has been in vs what Joique Bell has been in. Joique is great, no question. But, Bush has been dealing with inadequate run-blocking all preseason. Compare that to Joique Bell, who's been running behind the second-team O-Line who have been showing much better technique than the starters thus far and are really winning their individual matchups.
From the sound of this, it looks like Jake Scott should be making the team this year. I hope the Lion's staff doesn't over look him.