I haven’t written in a long time, although I keep thinking about it. I am just not as excited about this team as I wish I was. Quinn was so bad as a GM, this is now a complete overhaul, which it shouldn’t have to be. But it is.
I did renew my season tickets this year. The pandemic had seemed to end, I felt very safe and vaccinated, and I called them one day to see if I could still get my same seats, even though I did not renew last year. I couldn’t, but before I had seats 7 and 8 in row 3, now I have seats 3 and 4. Same section, so really close. Now I am a little more leary about going, but I’m sure I’ll go to most of the games.
I went to the first practice, the one for season ticket holders, and I meant to write about it. But 2 things happened, First, I’m lazy. Second, I went to the practice to have 2 things happen for me. The first one, I needed to get reenthused about the Lions. I did. There are some players to be excited about, just not enough of them. But the coaching and enthusiasm of the players was contagious. Coach Campbell was giving a pep talk to the fans right in front of me as I walked in, really cool. I thought the practice was a mix of Schwartz and Caldwell styles, not like Matty at all. That was nice, the whole thing was fun. But the lack of talent at some positions was brutally obvious. I’ll go over each group, give you my meaningless opinion. But the second thing I needed was to find something, anything, that I could find as a positive about Goff. I’ve seen him before, and I felt he was the worst I ever watched start a game. So, I thought, I’ll see something to build off of. NOPE! He was awful. I’ve never watched a QB who was indecisive in drills with no defensive players out there. On one deep pass drill, no defenders, the QBs were taking turns throwing fairly deep sideline passes to receivers, no defenders. Goff’s passes were so bad, I started watching only the receivers and the ball, didn’t know who threw it. I could tell each pass who threw it. All of Goff’s passes wobble and hang. He isn’t particularly accurate, and he is very indecisive. I think we will all hate him like I do, and like all Rams fans do. He is like Blake Bortles without the talent, and Bortles has no talent either. Boyle, on the other hand, is way more talented than our other 2 QBs. Arm strength, poise, pocket movement are all pretty good. Blough just lacks a little everything. I know that Boyle has struggled so far, I think he hurt a leg a little in the first game and is playing through it. But he will make the team. He has a lot of Aaron Rodgers mannerisms, even walks like him. He played great for the Packers last 2 preseasons, I hope he picks it up. He is our only hope on this roster at QB. He will get starts this season.
‘Our WR group is far worse than any of you imagine. I have never seen so many drops in a practice, or missed receivers. And these were drills where they are basically playing catch. A few guys drop,a lot of passes, but everyone dropped some. St Brown seemed lost at this practice, but it was the first one, so not that surprising. #11, Raymond, is by far the most dangerous player I saw, Swift was out, . Raymond will be a much bigger part of this offense than most realize, he is quick. But he is really thin, might not last. I think they are hiding all the plays they have for Raymond. Kennedy is what he has always been, pretty good at lots of things but not dangerous at anything, yet he could make this team. The Lions have a major weakness here.
‘The RBs at the practice I saw were also weak. Williams you have to like. Full of enthusiasm, having fun, definitely a good guy to have on the team. Jefferson was not as quick as I had hoped, but might work out.#35 Igwebulke had a horrible practice when I saw him, really bad. But it was just that day, he has been average at least in games. To me, Reynolds is the obvious 3rd best back, but he may end up on the practice squad.
The TEs are Hock and no one else. None should be an NFL first teamer. But Hock looked spectacular. Hope he gets to play a full season, we need him.
The linemen are always hard to judge without pads, both sides of the ball. But in the light scrimmage, we could not run the ball at all. I think most Lions fans overrate our oline right now. It has never been good, and while there is some talent, to call them top five seems a huge stretch to me. The potential to be top 5 next season? Yes. Right now, nope.
The defense did not practice as close to us as the offense did, harder to judge. I thought McNeill looks like a nose tackle should, and sure talks a lot. The LBs looked bad in this practice, mostly trying to cover. Except for Pittman, who to me was the best we had all day. He made several plays. To me, the Lions 2 3rd string LBs might be our best 2. Barnes did not practice when I saw them, disappointed me. Our secondary did not stand out to me, especially considering who they are covering. Okudah got torched deep by Raymond. I thought Price played himself off the team vs Pittsburg, he was horrible. But many still have him making it.
Our place kicker is no where near the level we are used to in Detroit.
Now a few random thoughts.
I think Sewell will be a really good tackle. About as good as Decker, maybe even better. But we will regret passing on Fields, who is going to steer for the Bears. Seems like we broke the obvious rule of drafting to me, if a QB is the best player on the board, and you don’t have a great QB, you pick him. We didn’t. And we are the NFL’s weakest QB room. Our starter is terrible, and our backups are worse.
what if?! What if we didn’t trade Stafford, and we kept Golladay and maybe Jones too. And we then added this draft. We would all be talking playoffs right now, and the chance would be real. Instead, we are wondering if we will pick top 3 or just top 10. Also, by passing on QBs this year, wil we end up having to trade all our Stafford picks to get a QB? Might have to.
I would consider a 1-4 start a success for this team. I don’t see where they aren’t 0-5.
Right now, I think the Lions are bottom 3 in the NFL, in these overall position groups. QB, WR, TE after Hock, Safety, and maybe LB. LB will improve as Barnes plays, and he will. He is our best hope there, I think he is really good. If I was buying a jersey, I would get a Barnes jersey. He will start for a long time in Detroit, I hope.
I don’t see elite in Okudah, never have. Pretty good, maybe someday. But he has a long way to go.
‘Last, get used to watching the Lions run the ball into 8 man fronts. Because that is going to be a lot of what we do. That and play action to Hock or a RB. Short passes, short runs. Imagine Chicago’s offense last year but with. qB less talented than Trubisky. That’s us.