Lions Preseason Week One Thoughts

I watched the first half of the Lions first preseason game and all of Brad Kaaya’s throws. I understand that all of this was after one preseason game. I’m not at all planting my flag and dying on the battlefield for these opinions. They are subject to change, but nonetheless here are some of my thoughts.

I think Ameer Abdullah looks to be back to the explosive athlete he’s been.

On the first drive of the game, Stafford dumped it off to Abdullah on a check down, and he made the linebacker miss en route to a 11 yard gain and first down. What a joy it would be to watch this guy play for a full season.

I think Kenny Golladay is the real deal.

After I saw him at training camp I got excited for his potential. The hype train is really rolling now after he caught 3 of his 3 targets and hauled in 2 TDs, all catches contested and of high degrees of difficulty. Don’t forget that Ochocino started all of this.

I think we may see some more of the same out of Marvin Jones.

On Stafford’s first and only drive, he fired the ball to Jones on a slant route that ricochet off Vontae Davis and landed in the lap of linebacker Jon Simon. It would’ve been a tough catch, however on the replay you can see the ball just go straight through Jones’ hands. He needs to get something on that ball, and he struggled with drops and Stafford’s velocity last year. Clearly it was one play, but still frustrating to see.

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I think it’s time to cool the jets on our expectations for Michael Roberts.

The fourth round rookie tight end got a lot of hype after draft day, but he had a tough outing Sunday. He dropped a ball, and caught a lucky break from the officials who had ruled his forward progress stopped before he fumbled. It was a close call and looked like a fumble to me. Darren Fells has shown more ability in the passing game during training camp than previously expected, so even though I believe Roberts will make the team I think Fells will be the starting in-line TE.

I think the linebackers look like a group ready to compete this year.

Rookie first round pick Jarrad Davis didn’t make any spectacular plays, but was solid in the run game and had some nice coverage on a 3rd down Jack Doyle corner route, a player who had his way with last year’s middle linebacker Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead has moved back outside and will be more effective when he doesn’t have to worry about calling out the defensive schemes. He’s athletic, and with some taken off of his plate I think he can have a bounce-back year. Antiwone Williams looked pretty good as well, most notably he had a TFL on a run play where he shot through a gap like a freight train and clobbered the runner. He also put a pretty nice shot on Jack Doyle after he caught a four yard out route.

I think Greg Robinson held his own.

The former second overall picked looked decent in his first outing as a member of the Pride. Abdullah had a long run early in the game that was aided by a Greg Robinson hold that wasn’t called. Other than that he only allowed one pressure in 25 passing snaps and made a few nice blocks on runs to his side. As for the rest of the o-line, it was good to see Rick Wagner out there after it was reported he got nicked up a bit in the joint practices. T.J. Lang didn’t play which wasn’t a surprise. Joe Dahl looked a bit shaky to me and I’d be concerned if he had to enter the lineup as a starter. If everyone stays healthy, Robinson looks like a half-decent bridge to Decker’s return.

I think the Kerry Hyder and Brandon Copeland injuries suck.

It was so sad to see Hyder go down. He was a locker room favorite and seemed like a real good guy who was finally getting his shot. He’s out for the year with a torn Achilles. His replacement Brandon Copeland tore his pec in the game and is also out for the year. The d-line depth is nauseating.

I think A’Shawn Robinson will be a dominating force on the interior this year.

Maybe it’s just the new uniforms, but Robinson looks a bit meaner and leaner this year. It’s bittersweet, however A’Shawn Robinson has officially replaced Tahir Whitehead as my favorite Lion. He had two qb pressures where he just bull rushed a guard and put him in the QB’s lap, as well as 2 pass deflections. I don’t think the majority of Lions nation is familiar with Robinson, but they will be pleasantly surprised by his play come the start of the year.

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I think Jake Rudock showed us that he will be the second string QB.

It’s a tough blow for all of us in camp Kaaya, but Rudock definitely looked like the better quarterback. He made some nice throws and impressed with his legs as well. If he continues to play this way I’d expect him to be behind Stafford. This isn’t to say that Kaaya played poorly because that wouldn’t be true. He went for 8 of 11 with a touchdown, his three incompletions included 2 drops and a batted down ball. However with Rudock’s strong play it’s hard to see Kaaya surpassing him. After watching some of the QB play from backups across the league (including former Lion Kellen Moore) it was nice to see that the Lions have their affairs in order when it comes to the #2 and #3 spots.

I think that the corners behind Slay showed well.

The first quarter was almost over before the Colts had completed their first pass to the perimeter. Slay didn’t play, but he had two interceptions on the first day of joint practices. 2nd rounder Teez Tabor had some nice plays including an open field tackle after a 4 yard completion, and he showed no hesitation running up to stop a sweep to his side. D.J. Hayden also had a nice PBU on a deep ball.

I think you’re allowed to start getting excited about Anthony Zettel.

Last year’s 6th round pick who in case you forgot tackles trees looked damn good. It was especially exciting to see him be so effective after Hyder went down. He was letting us and the coaching staff know that he is ready to fill in that spot and for now you can call me Smash Mouth because I’m a believer.

I think I really like this team as a whole.

When I watched the first half of this game I really got the feeling that this team loves playing together. Maybe the Colts looking dysfunctional amplified this, however the Lions just looked like a team to me. I can’t even point to anything tangible to say why I feel this way, but Lions football is all I’ve ever known so I’m trusting the feeling in my gut. Quinn and Caldwell have done a fantastic job bringing in guys that not only are fantastic human beings but pretty good football players as well, and I hope they all succeed.

Lastly… I think the uniforms look clean.

Especially in the sunlight. Whenever I see footage of the Lions in the previous garb I shudder a bit inside. It takes a change to truly realize how bad the uniforms were before the re-do this year.

Just to re-iterate, I understand that this was only one game. Maybe Kenny Golladay will have four drops against the Jets while Michael Roberts has two touchdowns. It’s football. To conclude, it’s nice to get a win even though it’s preseason, and I’m happy with the way the team performed.

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