The Lions entered the day with pretty low expectations, but after dominating the Green Bay Packers for the first 30 minutes in every phase, the team beat the slog through their normal third-quarter struggles to come up with a victory against their division rivals. At times, the second half was a bit ugly, and the Packers’ own troubles contributed to the game’s outcome, but, ultimately, this was a full team win and one nearly every player will look back on fondly. I say most because, once again, we’re going to take a look at who’s trending in the right direction and who’s going the other way in our weekly stock report.
Stock Up: Da’Shawn Hand, DL
Da'Shawn hand with the strip sack and recovery pic.twitter.com/JzdbsEbNKG— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) October 7, 2018
It seems like we’re talking about Hand positively every week, and in part that’s because we are. I think we’re going to have to start shifting our expectations for the fourth-round rookie. He’s currently graded higher than every rookie defensive lineman this season, and after the game he had against Green Bay, that gap is likely to widen. Adding a strip sack of Aaron Rodgers to his resume, Hand has the looks of a franchise anchor in the middle of a defensive line that doesn’t have many bright spots. What a steal from a player that many thought was over-drafted after the team had to spend a future third to secure him.
Stock Down: Darius Slay, CB
Great team win.... ya boy has to play better an I will✊ #OnePride— Darius Slay (@_bigplayslay23) October 7, 2018
Darius Slay has been lock down for the Lions for years, but even the best of players have bad games. While the wide open touchdown is likely credited to Cre’Von LeBlanc not understanding his assignment more than Slay, who was involved in the muffed coverage, Slay was losing many of his manned up coverage responsibilities in the second half. It’s not a game he will look back on fondly, and ranks up there with his Denver game from a few years ago as his worst. As you’d expect if you’ve followed him closely, he has eyes on to how he played already.
Stock up: Kenny Golladay, WR
Kenny Golladay about turned Ha Ha Clinton-Dix into Chris Conte. pic.twitter.com/4My9ejJ2y8— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 7, 2018
Like Hand, we’re going to have to start raising the bar a bit here. Kenny Golladay has made his presence felt in every game this year, and if he isn’t already, it won’t be long before he’s the most dangerous Lions receiver. It’s like you took all the best traits of Marvin Jones and Golden Tate and put them into a much larger frame. With great hands an an excellent athletic profile, all Golladay really needed to work on was his route running. It looks like he has, and his work with wide receivers coach Robert Prince looks to be paying off in spades.
Stock Down: Theo Riddick, RB
LOL Theo Riddick got damn near suplexed pic.twitter.com/vnauIS54gc— Aggressively Adan (@manicsocratic) October 7, 2018
With Kerryon Johnson in town, there hasn’t been much need for Theo Riddick to work his normal magic. With games like this, that’s probably a good thing. Riddick hasn’t been as useful in the passing game as he used to be and still isn’t a serviceable rusher, putting his talents almost solely in pass protection. That’s simply not enough to see the field often. The Lions are likely going to be tooling their RB distribution during the bye, so he has time to earn a bigger role back, but it doesn’t look good.
Stock Up: Devon Kennard, LB
Devon Kennard now has 5.0 sacks on the season. He entered the day trailing only Khalil Mack (5.0 sacks) among linebackers in the league— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) October 7, 2018
As a rotational pass rusher in New York, and not a particularly good one, I was probably most vocal in being critical of the signing of Devon Kennard this offseason. He has far outplayed my expectations and is averaging a sack a game. Like the other sacks the Lions have had by their linebackers, they’re mostly of the coverage variety, but the other guys are getting production in package deals while Kennard is a full-time rusher. More than worth his contract, which he’s outplaying, he has given the Lions at the very worst a bridge to build on in 2019.
Stock Up: Jarrad Davis, LB
This is what the Lions had in mind when they drafted Jarrad Davis. pic.twitter.com/McD9FdpaBW— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 7, 2018
Davis has caught a lot of flack this season and much of it has been deserved. When he had his pass coverage responsibilities dialed back last year, his run defense improved. When he improved his pass coverage this season, his run defense and tackling struggled. He had his highest graded game last week, but was blasted because he gave up a catch at the worst possible time. It seems likely to me that this will take over as his highest-graded game. He didn’t miss any tackles that I saw, was solid in his gap responsibilities, and the only coverage down I felt he played bad was one where he was covering wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (who ran a 4.37 at the Combine) on a crosser. It was a very good game, and one it’s hard for me to poke holes in.
Ameer Abdullah, RB: Abdullah was active! I’m not sure he did anything on offense, but a strong return on his first snap and a Jamal Agnew injury sets him up for future gamedays.
LeGarrette Blount, RB: Blount didn’t have a great statistical day running the football from a volume or efficiency standpoint, but a couple touchdowns and converted third downs tells a different story.
Matt Cassel, QB: Cassel still didn’t have to play, meaning the team has no reason to look at other QBs yet.
Taylor Decker, OT: Aside from a couple pressures, I thought Decker did a good job in this one.
Quandre Diggs, SS: Diggs did a lot better covering Jimmy Graham than he did in earlier responsibilities with tight ends, though I think his actual stats in coverage won’t look as hot.
Eli Harold, LB: Harold missed the game since he’s a new dad. So props for propagating the species, dude!
Kerry Hyder, DL: A healthy scratch a few times, many thought he was on the outs. While that’s still possible, it shouldn’t be because of this game, where Hyder was on point.
Kerryon Johnson, RB: It’s getting tired, but Johnson is awesome almost every time he gets the ball. He got hurt, which sucks, but it doesn’t sound serious.
Lions RB Kerryon Johnson told me after the game that "I'm fine" following his ankle injury against the Packers. "If I can walk, run, if I'm standing, I always want to go back in, so that's what I'm going to do." Johnson said he wasn't necessarily... https://t.co/v8HfNIa5X8— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 7, 2018
Christian Jones, LB: Jones wasn’t terrible. That’s a massive improvement from his previous four games, in which he was very terrible.
Nevin Lawson, CB: How rare is it that Lawson is the best corner in a game? He was really good for most of the game.
Sam Martin, P: I wanted to do a whole write up on Martin dominating the punting game in this one, but there were too many more notable players. What a great game for Martin.
Don Muhlbach, LS: He didn’t do anything wrong that I saw.
Romeo Okwara, DE: Okwara notched two sacks, including an awesome strip. Both coverage kinds, but still a very good performance from him in this one.
Glover Quin, FS: Quin had, like, all the tackles in this game. He helped out a ton in the run game, and seemed to be everywhere.
Frank Ragnow, OG: Aside from a bad hands to the face penalty that nullified a touchdown, Ragnow was solid all game. Another game like this one and we’ll be raising the bar for him as well.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB: It may have just been because I was watching the LBs more, but it seemed like JRM was a lot more active in this game than those prior.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: It seemed like a mostly solid day for Robinson, though I’m less confident in this grade than others.
Matthew Stafford, QB : Stats won’t show it, but man was Stafford good moving in the pocket and avoiding pressure while looking off his reads.
Golden Tate, WR: Tate wasn’t as productive as in previous games, but they were also nursing a huge lead and going deep for the first half. His YAC crown is safe.
Rick Wagner, OT: Wagner had a tough go against DeMarcus Lawrence last week, but seemed much more comfortable against the Packers rushers.
Tracy Walker, FS: Walker had a quiet day, so I’m not as certain how he did in coverage. But man, does dude have some wheels.
Charles Washington, SS: Washington made the special teams play of the game, if you count close calls by the ref that involve you.
Kenny Wiggins, OG: Kenny Wiggins started and I never heard his name. Usually a good sign.
Sylvester Williams, NT: Williams had a dreadful game against the Cowboys. He still wasn’t good from what I saw, but not a bottom-tier game, so improvement.
Jamal Agnew, CB: It started to look like a bit of a bounce back performance from Agnew, who was bad last week, but a knee injury that looked pretty bad could derail his season.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE: Ansah continues to be out, only the Lions pass rush hasn’t been the dumpster fire many expected. He’s just bleeding dollars.
Marquis Flowers, LB: I had forgotten he was even still on the team. If he played, he didn’t do anything noteworthy.
Graham Glasgow, OC: I was focused more on the perimeter guys this game, but when I did peek inside on run plays I saw Glasgow getting little push in that regard.
Ricky Jean Francois, DT: RJF didn’t have his best day and was bullied at the point of attack on numerous occasions. He also seemed winded very early in the game.
Marvin Jones, WR: Jones played poorly and I could have given him a full write up for it, but he was also clearly not 100 percent from an ankle injury that nearly missed him the game.
TJ Jones, WR: Jones still exists, I’ve checked the roster like five times.
Miles Killebrew, SS: With the injuries the Lions have dealt with, you’d expect him to get at least some snaps by now. He hasn’t.
T.J. Lang, OG: The longer he’s out, the smaller his already slim chances of being a Lion in 2019 become.
Cre’Von LeBlanc, CB: LeBlanc was only just signed, so expectations weren’t high. He didn’t play well, but he has time to improve once he’s had more work with the team.
Eric Lee, DE: Lee played a bunch last week, but if he played at all this week I didn’t notice him.
Matt Prater, K: As always, a miss will get him here even when it’s a really long attempt. It looked like it was going to be good, then sliced hard outside.
Michael Roberts, TE: Gotta wonder just how bad his injury was, and the longer he’s out you have to wonder how effective he’ll be when he returns.
DeShawn Shead, CB: Shead got more work with the injuries the team was dealing with, but struggled when covering tight ends.
Teez Tabor, CB: It started off rough, but Tabor showed legitimate improvement as the game progressed. Had an injury not cut his game short, the silver lining might be broader.
Levine Toilolo, TE: We’re starting to set a new bar territory for these tight ends as well, though it’s setting it lower rather than higher.
Luke Willson, TE: I’ve given up on expecting anything from a guy who “was just in Jimmy Graham’s shadow”. Even on a different team, he couldn’t command any targets with Graham in the game..
Tavon Wilson, SS: As expected, Wilson’s perennial injury issues have caused him to miss time.
Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Up
Patricia had a clear gameplan in this one both on offense and defense, and even though the team’s third quarter issues continue, it wasn’t hard to pin down why in this game. The team didn’t fully take their foot off the gas on offense, continuing to challenge a questionable Packers secondary, while the defense rushed very few to keep as many people in coverage as possible against a weaker Packers skill group. It worked on the whole and the team won by two scores (kinda).
Jim Bob Cooter, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up
Cooter gets a lot of very deserved flack for both his play design and his play calls. There were a few questionable calls in this one, most notably his insistence of running a draw on third-and-anything more than 10, but he also dialed up some new plays out of different formations. That has been a trend since Week 2, and, unlike previous years where we’d get one-off bursts of innovation that last for a drive or two, this has been multiple games where we’ve seen new wrinkles throughout the game. He’s stepping up, even if he’s not past all of his frustrating tendencies.
Paul Pasqualoni, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Up
A noted Pasqualoni critic, I’m totally down to give credit where it’s due in this one. The Lions defense held Aaron Rodgers to three field goal attempts in the first half, relying on some masterful use of coverages, both disguised and simply daring the Packers to challenge them. The pass rush still isn’t great despite the sacks, but they’re improving in staying with their responsibilities and not getting gassed on long drives, which allows the strength of the defense on the back end to give the rushers more time to get home.
Joe Marciano, Special Teams Coordinator: Stock Up
Mistake free, that’s all you can really hope for from this unit. Sam Martin had a fantastic day punting, but the coverage units ensured his long punts and strong hang time weren’t wasted on having nobody in the vicinity, or with stupid penalties.