The constant stream of high quality work by the social media and digital teams for the Detroit Lions is pretty much indisputable at this point. In just the past 48 hours, we got two splendid season highlight videos: one featuring rookie Penei Sewell and another remembering the most entertaining trick plays of the year.
When it comes to digital content for the fans, the creative folks pump out much more than just great web videos. Lions superfan Sweta Patel posted on the bird app that she noticed the wallpaper on her mobile phone hadn’t changed in a long time. The official team account pinged the digital design team, and one heroic graphic designer answered the call right away. Thank you, digital designer Dom Veurink:
In two separate replies, Veurink embedded some unused work that he still had in work folders on his computer. The first of the two posts featured four images flattened to a few colors in each: a player catching a ball, a side profile with “DET” in the center, a shot with Ford Field in the distance, and one with a big cat perched atop the stadium.
The second post had some really nice stuff. A clean blue field with the team’s main logo, one with Amon-Ra St. Brown, one with head coach Dan Campbell, and a 2022 schedule wallpaper. Thank goodness there are skilled professionals who can make fantastic looking stuff like this, because it sure as heck ain’t us.
Perhaps more is on the way? If creative director Ashley Strauss’ tweet is implying the fans might get more cool stuff to gawk over, we’re all for it. In the meantime, thanks very much Dom! Check out his site to see all the great work he’s done for the Lions.
Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Trevor Sikkema at Pro Football Focus posted a mock draft earlier this week that sent an edge rusher and safety to the Lions in the first round, both from Big Ten programs.
- The latest Women in Football feature from the team spotlights Ford Field director of operations Kristin Dale:
Our Women in Football segment, presented by @PriorityHealth, spotlights some of the women in the #Lions organization. Today's interview is with Kristin Dale, Director of Operations. pic.twitter.com/fqiqSTymyc— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 28, 2022
- MLive’s Kyle Meinke was not enthusiastic about how Detroit’s defensive backs played in 2021. The position group grade he gave them is... not good.
- MLive’s Ben Raven identified 10 players still scheduled to play in the postseason this week who might be of interest to the Lions later on when free agency hits.
- This is not Detroit Lions-related, but really fascinating stuff for anyone who just likes general football knowledge. Here are two related tweets. The first has a video of Pro Football Focus’ Seth Galina breaking down film on what the Chiefs and Bengals do against single-high safety defenses. In the video at about the 1:18 mark, Galina looks at what the Chiefs do underneath against the middle linebacker when they see two high safeties.
Both the Chiefs and Bengals have eviscerated 1-high defenses so teams are saying umm no we're gonna make you work against 2-high— Seth Galina (@pff_seth) January 28, 2022
Here's how each offense has won against 1-high defenses and how they've adapted versus 2-high: pic.twitter.com/z52hMT87NV
The hi-lo stretch on the linebacker in coverage gives the offense an easy short throw down the middle for quick yards regardless of how the Mike plays it. In a different post, Galina (and Nate Tice) point out how this shows up in the advanced passing data heatmap:
The blue areas are where the team has thrown more and the red is where they have thrown less. What this is showing against two high safety looks is that in 2020 the Chiefs used to distribute where they attacked all across the field in underneath zones (blue all the way across the field). On the right side for 2021, though, the blue is concentrated near the line of scrimmage just outside the hashes or in the deep cover 2 hole.
That’s why he’s saying “they’ve started attacking the Mike linebacker, basically”: the throws are either behind or in front of (or immediately to the left or right of) that player. The big red blob in the middle is where the Mike should be sitting. All Mahomes needs to do is check which way the Mike moves and throw away from the coverage. Remember the hi-lo in the video? That’s the inside two route combo on the right hash drawn onto the right side chart by Nate Tice. Just a really neat presentation of the data with film to see the data in action.
- Tim Twentyman at the team’s official site gave his recap for the year on the Lions’ special teams units.
- The Dungeon of Doom podcast had former Lions tackle Lomas Brown on the show to reminisce about the last playoff win for the Lions in 1991. You can listen to the entire episode on Spotify.
- If you were wondering why there are so many commercials featuring a random celebrity endorsing an online sports gambling site, there’s 1.8 billion reasons for it. According to CNBC, all those gambling sites with Jamie Foxx, Kevin Garnett, or JB Smoove trying to get you to place bets were the big driver of the NFL’s sponsorship revenue growth in 2021:
Agreements from betting firms and technology companies helped the NFL lure a record $1.8 billion in sponsorship revenue, sports partnerships consultancy firm IEG told CNBC. The NFL’s figure is a 12% increase year-over-year from $1.62 billion it made in the 2020 season. It pulled $1.47 billion from sponsorships in the 2019 season.
Sports gambling companies, casinos and lotteries saw the most significant spike in NFL sponsorship agreements. DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars became sportsbook partners in 2021 after the companies struck five-year pacts worth just under $1 billion combined. The NFL also landed secondary deals with BetMGM, WynnBET, Fox Bet and PointsBet.