O.K. so I'm just as frustrated as everyone else right now about the Lions dropping a game they could of, and probably should have, won against the Cards.
However, I am willing to venture a couple of positive thoughts, if anyone is able to stomach it, at lunchtime here on Monday.
Look. I never thought the Lions were gonna go 16-0 this year, and actually before this game, looking at the Cardinals with a decent QB, on a long road trip out to Arizona, I kind of thought that there was a possibility that we could drop this one.
It is natural, especially given the history of the Lions, to sweat and fume over the forensics of another close loss. However, there is also something to be said for some objective analysis to be worked through, to see " if " there is any "progress" happening.
So, here goes . . .
#1) Stafford looks to be maturing.
I have been a clear eyed critic of Stafford all along. I have been one of those guys that has said that Stafford stepping up and playing more "consistently" and "intelligently", is THE most important ingredient for the Lions' success going forward. And. In these first two games, I think Stafford has played really sound, consistent, and smart football. He's looked more accurate, and he has done a seemingly good job of just putting the ball on his " playmakers ", and letting them make plays. In the first game, they made those plays, and even in the first half yesterday, they made plays. Efforts like the second half yesterday really had little to do with Stafford - he himself has played well.
#2) Ansah looks like the real deal, and along with Suh, Fairley, JJ and even Young, I think we DO have the makings of a real good D line.
When you consider that Ansah has flashed some serious explosion, strength, and run stopping ability in these first couple of games, you have to be pleased. Willie Young looks like a real contributor, whereas last year, he truly just disappeared. Suh has been a force. And Fairley too, when healthy. JJ looks solid and physical.
#3) The OL has played solid.
A lot of Lions fans were gravely concerned about the lack of experience and cohesion of this group. However, I think they have played real well. Reiff looks good. Warford looks good. Hell, even Dom looks better to me so far, with some other competent pieces of the puzzle playing alongside him. Props to the staff on this one, because they were not so worried, and they seemed to have been right in not worrying. Hell, Reiff looks now like a very very solid #23 pick in the 2012 draft right now.
#4) I think we are just a couple more playmakers away.
And see the thing is, is that those playmakers might already be on the team. Bush coming back healthy. Broyles returning. Fauria has shown very solid hands and ability to catch the " jump ball ". Even Riddick, I think could do some damage in this offense at some future point. On these plays where we split the RB out as a receiver, hell that is in Riddick's DNA. Bell has made some plays and looks like a tough runner. Even Edwards and Ole' Burleson have made some plays. Look, we had a punk second half yesterday, and a punk first half in game 1, but overall, I am not of the belief that we are totally bereft of playmakers on this offense like we were late last year.
I don't think it is harsh to say anymore, that I think that we could bench Pettigrew and possibly be adding through subtraction. Let Waddle take his spot in blocking packages, and get Scheffler and Fauria more involved.
I am pleased with Mathis, Levy, and our whole D line. Our safeties look to be much much better. O.K. so Bentley has blown a few plays, hey, he's young, that is gonna happen man. Maybe Jonte Green could be looked at for some plays at corner, as I think he is a bigger corner with speed, who has already gotten some good experience from last year under his belt, as far as playing the ball in the NFL. We will be getting Fairley back soon.
O.K., so if you have been able to follow me to the end of this post, I just wanted to outline some ways in which I think the Lions actually have the makings of a competitive and improving team. And that is all I was really "hoping" to get out of the Lions this year - just some real competitiveness and improvement.
We're 1- 1. Bring on the Skins.