The Detroit Lions miraculously managed to tie with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, already dousing some of our expectations for the team in the 2019 season. Here are a few takeaways from the horrible loss:
The coaching staff is bad, actually
Game management was a problem for the Detroit Lions coaching staff last season, and it looks like it has carried over into 2019. Early in the fourth, Detroit had a chance to put away the game with half of the fourth quarter remaining. Their corners were playing well in man coverage, but the team decided to shift to prevent defense way to early and allowed the Arizona Cardinals to walk down the field for a touchdown.
Detroit had a chance to put away the game again on the next offensive possession, but Matt Patricia decided to call a timeout cutting off a potential first-down conversion. Stafford was incensed walking to the sideline, and a blocked punt put the Cardinals is position to tie the game late.
This was an issue for the team last year, as well. Matt Patricia was a poor game manager last season, and often made key mistakes that cost the Lions points. Detroit is a much more talented team than the Cardinals, but they have one of the worst coaching staffs in the league. No matter what talent they have on the field, the talent will always need to overcome the people making the decisions.
The Hock flies in his NFL debut
Fans were not overwhelmingly positive about the team’s selection of T.J. Hockenson eighth overall in April. The rookie only needed one game to endear himself to fans, though.
Hockenson set an NFL record for tight ends with 131 yards in his debut, breaking the previous record on a fourth quarter touchdown catch. It is clear that the Lions were resting him this preseason knowing he could make an impact in the regular season from Day 1.
The Lions have found themselves a new offensive weapon.
The offensive line may have more problems than we thought?
You’ve heard about the Lions problems at guard all offseason, but no one expected the team to have problems at tackle this season. Taylor Decker—the team’s first-round selection in 2016—had one of the worst days of his career protecting Matthew Stafford blindside. He was matched up against all-time great Terrell Suggs, which does buy him some slack, but he was outright awful on the day. He will need to be better going forward is he expects to keep his spot guarding Stafford’s blindside long term.
The interior of the offensive line was poor as well. The team could not get going on the ground and things were harder than they should have been for Matthew Stafford. Detroit does have a few younger players and new starters up front, though, so hopefully there are kinks they can work out in the coming weeks.