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Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals Week 1 stock report

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The Lions went conservative early and it cost them a win, but how did the players and coaches do individually?

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Watching the reactions to a tie on opening weekend has been quite an endeavor. It’s games like these that really get me excited to write the stock report, because you wouldn’t expect it to be very lopsided. That’s not how the game really went, though, and that makes this a tough one to run through. I’m sure the outcome will get the most discussion, but even if it were a win or a loss that’s not what this one is all about. So let’s get started with our week one stock report!

Stock Up: Devon Kennard, OLB

I’ve been very critical of Devon Kennard since he came to Detroit. Though he put up decent sack numbers last season, his ability to actually cause consistent pressure was poor the entire year, and it didn’t look good coming into the season either. He put a lot of doubts to rest in his 2019 regular season debut, however, with 3.0 sacks and was constantly in Kyler Murray’s face.

Stock Down: Taylor Decker, LT

No Lions player had a worse day than Taylor Decker on either side of the ball. Decker was unable to provide any real protection the whole game, didn’t get any push as a run blocker, and was responsible for multiple sacks as the game progressed. Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs aren’t easy draws, but his job won’t get any easier in the coming weeks, and if he can’t get it together quickly, then I would be worried for Matthew Stafford. All that before I even mention the four penalties.

Stock Up: T.J. Hockenson, TE

If you draft a tight end eighth overall, you’re telling the world you think they’re a special player. T.J. Hockenson rewarded the Lions trust by putting up the best debut in the history of the NFL by a tight end. That’s none too shabby, and portends good things for Matthew Stafford and his offense.

Stock Down: Jamal Agnew, KR/PR

The muffed punt was obviously a low point for Jamal Agnew, but it wasn’t his only mistake on special teams. He would finish the day with negative punt return yards and averaged only 16 yards as a kick returner. Sure, his blocking wasn’t doing him any favors, but he also made poor decisions repeatedly.

Stock Up: Danny Amendola, WR

Danny Amendola is a reliable slot option, but he’s never been a flashy player. While not critical of the signing, I wasn’t excited for it either. He came out in this one hot, passing the 100-yard marker and pulling in one of the team’s three touchdowns. Stafford passed to eight different targets, and Amendola was able to be a mismatch throughout the game.

Stock Down: Trey Flowers, DE

The biggest free agent signing of the year, Trey Flowers has gotten almost no practice with the Lions as he rehabbed from an offseason surgery. It makes sense that he would have some rust to knock off, but the result of that is a showing like this. While not terrible, an untimely penalty was the only real impact he had on the game. He’ll need to get back to form quickly.

Quick Hits

Stock up

Nick Bawden, FB: Bawden is a guy I was high on and I watched him closely. The run game never got going, but it wasn’t due to having a poor lead blocker.

Mike Daniels, DT: Daniels played very well as a pass rusher, and while he didn’t get a sack he had the assist on several pressures and hits.

Rashaan Melvin, CB: He faltered a bit late, but Melvin had an amazing game for much of the contest, making eight tackles and deflecting three passes.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB: JRM had a fantastic showing for much of the game. He did give up a TD in coverage, but it was the sole blot on a good day.

Darius Slay, CB: Slay was lock down for a majority of the game and looked back to his top-five CB play.

Matthew Stafford, QB: Stafford was sharp in this one until late in the game when the team played far more conservatively. He made no notable mistakes, which is big.

Jahlani Tavai, LB: For much of the game, Tavai bounced between good and bad, with some miscommunication leaving him out of position. His sack was really nice, though.

Tracy Walker, DB: Walker pulled in a very difficult interception early in the game and helped set up the Lions early lead. He continued to ball for the rest of the game.

Kenny Wiggins, LG: Wiggins wasn’t great, but he was an improvement over Dahl once he came into the game.

Stock down

C.J. Anderson/Kerryon Johnson, RB: Both rushers played pretty much the same. Little flash, little flare, but few mistakes. They were collectively unable to close out the game.

Justin Coleman, CB: Coleman started out the game doing very well, and I was expecting to grade him well. He closed poorly, so he lands here.

Joe Dahl, LG: Dahl started the game, but he didn’t stay there. The team went to Kenny Wiggins, who showed improvement. Unfortunate this spot isn’t locked in yet.

Kenny Golladay, WR: Golladay got a TD, which is nice, but he also only managed four catches for 42 against the third best CB on the Cardinals. That’s no bueno.

Jesse James, TE: James had a doozy of a catch, but it was his only one of the game. His ability as a blocker was certainly not on display in this one.

Christian Jones, LB: Jones wasn’t very bad in run support, but he looked very slow in coverage and that was a problem.

Marvin Jones Jr., WR: Like Golladay, I would have expected far more production against a depleted secondary. Most of his production came in overtime.

Damon Harrison, NT: I’m not sure Harrison played poorly, but I do know the team gave up nearly 5 yards per carry to running backs, and that’s his bread and butter.

A’Shawn Robinson, DT: Robinson did very little to impact this game from what I saw, both as a pass rusher and in run support.

Coaches

Matt Patricia, Head Coach: Stock Down

Matt Patricia had his team with a sizeable lead late in the game. They had thrashed the Cardinals on both sides of the ball through the first half and that continued into the second. I asked a single question about this team, though. Would they take their foot off the pedal?

That answer was yes, which is why he’s down after this one despite a ton of positive progress. He definitely knew better than to start taking it easy and milking the clock with only a two-score lead at that point.

Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator: Stock Up

Bevell made the dumbest mistake of the night, calling a timeout when there was no need for one and taking the wind out of the Lions sails on a drive they were moving. Dumb as it was, and crushing as it seems considering the game’s outcome, Bevell actually called a good game for almost its entirety.

Like the defense, he got too conservative late, but his design and execution put the Lions out to an early and sustainable lead had they just stuck to it. Pre-snap movement allowed Stafford to find easy targets, and the Danny Amendola touchdown as well as the Kenny Golladay score were both examples of scheming guys open and finding points. I’m excited to see how they follow it up.

Paul Pasqualoni, Defensive Coordinator: Stock Up

Matt Patricia makes the calls on defense, Pasqualoni the design, at least that’s how I’ve understood the past two seasons. To that end, I hold the defensive collapse on Patricia, as it was a schematic approach more than a play design foul up. The defense when they weren’t playing soft zone late in the game was aggressive and confusing. Multiple fronts and blitzing from different platforms made Kyler Murray skittish and inaccurate and the run game was stifled. Once the approach was changed and the play calling became predictable, it was a different monster, but that’s on the head coach for me.

John Bonamego, Special Teams: Stock Down

This special teams unit was a complete mess in this one. Sam Martin looked crisp to start the game, but botched protection led to a blocked punt later. There was precisely no blocking in the return game in either phase. Matt Prater is still automatic, but that’s just him being great.