The Lions came in with very little optimism after a poor preseason, but, oh man, did they outdo themselves making it look like a tank season. Not one phase of the team played well for the whole game, with most of them playing quite poorly throughout. There’s still plenty of season left to play, but this was not a great start to the Matt Patricia era.
The offensive play calling was nearly as bad as the players themselves, the defense was gouged repeatedly, the special teams units were horrid and the fans were booing the team from the first drive onward. Still, we’re gonna do this thing and take a look at who did well and who didn’t in our first official stock report of the year.
Stock Up: Kenny Golladay, WR
Golladay had a bad drop on third down early in the game, but spent most of his time catching footballs and putting up yardage. The offense, of course, failed to game plan for him once he started doing well and it suffered because of it. Still, having a second-year player who looked like a breakout candidate continue to look like one is a positive sign and perhaps with some more time and planning he will continue to be a big part of the offense.
Stock Down: Matthew Stafford, QB
Stafford threw four interceptions, one of which was to notoriously-bad-in-coverage-linebacker Darron Lee for a touchdown (Stafford would throw another to Lee later). He struggled to identify coverages and was beaten to a pulp by the Jets blitzes, of which he failed to identify or take advantage of. This was probably Stafford’s worst game of his career, and I’m having trouble remembering if any of his rookie games were worse.
Stock Up: Devon Kennard, DE/OLB
Devon Kennard got off to a hot start in his Lions career, notching some nice work in the run game and a sack in the first half. He tapered off quite a bit as the game wore on, but his debut in the regular season was promising even if they couldn’t keep it going the whole game. With the defensive line continuing to look as bad as advertised, it’s nice to get a good performance that makes you think maybe, just maybe, it won’t suck all year.
Stock Down: All the tight ends
We knew it was a bad group. The first catch by a tight end came late in the third quarter and it was a little dump off for a first down to Levine Toilolo. Luke Willson barely exists, Michael Roberts’ sole stat is a penalty, and Hakeem Valles looks so far to be a Camp Cockroach candidate more than a possible breakout guy.
Stock Up: The Drama
Man, there’s gonna be so much to talk about this week. The Fire Patricia people (delusional) are going to be out in force. The Quinn haters are going to be going wild. The (Not delusional) Fire Jim Bob Cooter crowd are going to be fired up. Stafford is going to be under a microscope, the defense is going to be skewered, there’s going to be like 37 Carlos Monarrez articles talking about how he KNEW it was going to be a bad team. But man, there will be no shortage of topics to discuss this week. Oh, as it turns out, this isn’t really a stock up thing, just a thing that’s going to happen.
Stock Down: LeGarrette Blount, RB
Going down with injury always sucks. Going down with injury after your statline is four rushes for -3 yards is pretty terrible. Brought in with some acclaim due to his ability to break tackles, Blount looked like he not only fell of the 30 year old RB cliff, but like he went base jumping without a chute off of it. He looked slow, clunky, and it was embarrassing to see those four carries go to someone who didn’t seem at all invested in moving forward. Any preseason optimism about his contribution seemed shattered in only a few plays.
Jamal Agnew, CB: Agnew got a ton of playing time, far more than most expected. He did miss one tackle, but it’s a good sign for his development that he’s playing this much.
Matt Cassel, QB: Cassel’s career stats are going to go up if Stafford keeps playing like this and taking these kinds of hits.
Tyrell Crosby, OT: Crosby didn’t play much if at all, which means that he can’t really be blamed for this stinker.
Taylor Decker, OT: Stafford wasn’t sacked, so that’s something of note. I won’t know for sure just how well the OL played until rewatch, but I wasn’t angry at Decker.
Quandre Diggs, SS: Pick sixes are good. More of those.
Kenny Golladay, WR: Just gonna put him here again to pad out this area. He was good.
Da’Shawn Hand, DL: Look, he probably played poorly, but I didn’t see it, and this area isn’t going to have many players on it. So good on him. .
T.J. Lang, OG:
Lang made it through the game without injury, which seems like a miracle.
Romeo Okwara, DE: Okwara didn’t play, so he can’t be blamed for the poor front seven play.
Brandon Powell, WR: Powell wasn’t active, so he wasn’t part of this terrible special teams unit. Then again, how bad do you have to be to not even be active in this group? Questioning this one.
Darius Slay, CB: We had a close call where it looked like Slay may have had a brain injury, but he came back in the game and we were briefly, foolishly, relieved to be Lions fans.
Golden Tate, WR: It was ultimately too little too late, but Tate did some nice things in the second half that largely went unnoticed.
Rick Wagner, OT: Didn’t suck. That’s better than like 75 percent of the team.
Ameer Abdullah, RB: Inactive in Game 1, but considering how the game went his presence likely would have just meant more fumbles.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE: He got a sack early, awesome! Then he got hurt. He lasted less than one half before the injury bug once again got him.
Nick Bellore, FB: Bellore hasn’t been a good FB, but his special teams ability was always solid.... until this game, where it was quite bad. Cuttable, if we’re being honest.
Joe Dahl, OG: Dahl was inactive, so this is more about cementing his spot as the low man on the depth chart than anything else.
Jarrad Davis, LB: Davis still struggled in coverage, but it really didn’t come up much. His angles in the run game were poor, however, landing him here.
Andrew Donnal, OT: Donnal is hurt, which doesn’t really mean much in the context of the game but worth noting as there are reports the Lions claimed another OL.
Marquis Flowers, LB: I didn’t see Flowers much, but when I did it was not great. Poor play in the front seven was a staple in this one.
Graham Glasgow, OC: The OL played well in spurts, especially in pass pro, but on plays I saw guys breaking through it was almost always Glasgow or Ragnow.
Eli Harold, LB: All the linebackers were bad. I didn’t see Harold much, but considering how the unit played it’s hard for me to imagine a great performance.
Kerry Hyder, DL: We all worried if Kerry Hyder would ever return to form. It was always a long shot, but he’s starting on a line where he should be a reserve.
Ricky Jean Francois, DT: Having a career backup look like your best DL had to have a moment where it all came crashing to earth. Week 1 was all it took.
Kerryon Johnson, RB: Johnson looked like he was the only one who wanted to win on the few plays he was in on. But it looks like the team isn’t past refusing to give the ball to the rushers playing well, so he’s down here.
Marvin Jones Jr., WR: Until the game was well lost, Jones wasn’t creating any separation or doing anything of note. It wasn’t until the Jets pulled Trumaine Johnson over to Golladay that he picked it up.
Christian Jones, LB: Jones looked terrible every time I saw 52 on the field. It was a really bad day from this unit and he may have been the worst offender.
TJ Jones, WR: If you’re not on the stat sheet much, make sure a drop isn’t one of your only contributions.
Miles Killebrew, LB: Killebrew’s primary contribution was on special teams, where he was present while returners when whooshing past.
Nevin Lawson, CB: Lawson was bad. He started out doing some nice things in run defense, but once he started doing his primary job, coverage, it went south.
Bradley Marquez, ST: Marquez not only made the team, but was active Week 1. He must be really good on special teams, no? As it turns out, no he’s not. Cut candidate.
Sam Martin, P: Martin didn’t play nearly as badly as his statline suggests, with the coverage units doing most of the damage. The first return was an example of outkicking his coverage, however, so he’s down here.
Don Muhlbach, LS: Nobody on special teams gets a pass, especially a guy like Muhlbach. Snaps were fine, coverage was not.
Matt Prater, K: How do you miss two kicks in a dome with home field advantage? Prater straight up sucked, badly, in his regular season debut.
Glover Quin, FS: How often does Quin land down here? Well, it might change on rewatch but the only times I saw Quin was on a bad angle or playing catch up.
Frank Ragnow, OG: I only noticed one really bad whiff all game, but considering how poorly this game went on offense I’m not giving anyone benefit of the doubt until rewatch.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB: Remember when people thought he could be a starter? Those were good times. Full of hope. He was bad in this one, too.
Theo Riddick, RB: I won’t blame Riddick for the godawful power run call near the goal line, but his drop and poor work in the passing game don’t get a pass.
Michael Roberts, TE: He made this 53-man roster, but only just. His only stat was a penalty and he doesn’t look like someone who belongs. Big draft whiff by Quinn, bad eval by myself.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT: How bad do you have to be to not even be active for this defensive line group? How bad to make the team only carry five active DL?
Teez Tabor, CB: I’m gonna wait until snap counts, but I’m almost 100 percent certain that Jamal Agnew significantly outsnapped Teez Tabor and the only play I saw from 31 was getting blocked through the end zone.
Levine Toilolo, TE: Brought in to do one thing, he didn’t do terrible at it. With nobody else stepping up to work the middle of the field, that one thing won’t be enough this year.
Hakeem Valles, TE: We’ve had a Camp Cockroach every year, but I was really hoping Valles wasn’t going to be it in 2018. Looks like it so far, unfortunately.
Dee Virgin, CB: Virgin couldn’t get a game day activation in THIS secondary group?
Tracy Walker, FS: Active but not contributing doesn’t help anybody. I’m assuming he was on teams, which means he probably played terribly.
Charles Washington, SS: He wasn’t good.
Kenny Wiggins, OG: He didn’t get to play because T.J. Lang
didn’t get hurt like we all kind of expected.
Sylvester Williams, NT: Those five or six days when we thought Williams wouldn’t be a terrible nose tackle were nice.
Luke Willson, TE: Apparently signing backups off of other teams who desperately needed that position to be your starter isn’t a winning strategy.
Tavon Wilson, SS: Wilson was burned often in coverage, including giving up a long touchdown pass. Not his day, and with as streaky as he is I’m surprised it wasn’t worse.
Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Down
Let’s be real, like really real. Patricia came into this one ill-prepared. He came out in the second half and it looked like he had made some adjustments that could put the game right back into the Lions’ hands.
Then it started to slip away, and it went hard and fast, and before you knew it, it was all over. 31 unanswered points in the third quarter. With no way to balance play calling at that point, any adjustments you made were pointless. Big plays were the name of the game and they absolutely crushed this team. Everyone got lost, and it’s the head coach’s job to fix that. I can excuse the defense looking poor, they’re lacking in talent and Patricia’s defenses always take a few weeks to get going. The offense and special teams looking terrible as well is inexcusable.
Jim Bob Cooter, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Down
Cooter’s play calling was, once again, predictable. He abandoned the run game almost immediately and what little bit they had was both poorly called and poorly executed, sometimes with the wrong personnel. Running a power run out of shotgun with Theo Riddick may be a top five worst play call by Cooter ever, and he’s there’s like three gimmick plays in that top five. Cooter is most likely the first coach to go if things continue to go poorly for the Lions, and I’ve got to say it won’t be hard to say goodbye.
Paul Pasqualoni, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Down
Pasqualoni hasn’t been good in like, a decade, so we shouldn’t really be surprised. He’s not a great defensive coordinator compared to his contemporaries in the NFL, and considering how little talent there is on this defense, we should probably expect bad performances. This wasn’t a bad performance, though, it was a terrible one. Lacking front end talent, Pasqualoni resorted to rushing three on an inordinate amount of plays and it paid off for the Jets.
Joe Marciano, Special Teams Coordinator: Stock Down
Bad kicking game? Check. Bad punting game? Check. Bad return game? Check. But where Marciano really looked special in this one, where he really made his mark was on coverage. After investing in personnel for the unit, and keeping multiple players not only on the roster but active specifically for your special teams unit, you put up THAT kind of a performance? The Jets only had three punt returns. They averaged more than 45 yards per return. I mentioned earlier that Jim Bob Cooter may be the first to go, but Marciano’s head should be firmly on the block right now if this kind of day recurs.
Final tally saw 14 players stock up, with five of them being there as a joke. The other 40 or so players were on the down list, along with all four coaches. It was a terrible way to start a season, and it’s hard to find much optimism. Best we can do is take our lumps and hope this is an aberration. In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you agree with my serious takes. Obviously I don’t care if you agree about the joke ones, but hey, feel free to throw some humor into the comments as well. We could all use some.