I’m bullish on the Lions this year, that much is apparent after myself and Leigh Murray pegged them as a playoff team a little over an hour into our Victory Brewing Company influenced Lions Preview Podcast. I think that there’s a lot to be excited about with this team roster wise, and a lot that the national media is overlooking.
With that being said, we are now halfway through what has been two extremely disappointing preseason games. This continues a trend with the Patricia-era Lions, as last preseason they performed so poorly that the usually even-keeled and objective beat writer Dave Birkett called it the least encouraging Lions preseason he had ever seen. It’s also important to note that last years crap preseason bleed into a crap regular season, and a fair amount of questions about whether Matt Patricia is fit to be a NFL head coach.
So here I am once again trying to determine whether or not to let this so far disastrous pre-season effect my opinion on how this team will perform in the regular season.
The first thing that a Lions apologist like myself can point to that will keep the kool-aid flowing is that Matthew Stafford hasn’t even taken a snap yet. He is the most important player on the team, and most teams in the NFL would become instantly inept on offense without their starting signal caller. Yet, it’s not like Stafford is a Brady/Brees type of veteran. He’s 31, and also in the first year of another new offense. Reports out of camp also indicate he’s been inconsistent, so it seems somewhat questionable to have no game reps for him going into the 3rd preseason game.
The preseason is being handled completely differently now days by many coaches. McVay didn’t play any starters, including Goff, in the preseason last year and will do the same this year. Trubisky has played in one series in which he handed the ball off 3 times in the Bears two preseason games so far. So to end the point on Stafford, Patricia and Bevell are doing what they believe is best for the offense and Stafford by prioritizing his health over reps. Whether or not it’s the right decision will play out on the field come September 8th.
Let’s discuss what has happened on the field so far. The Patriots pummeled Detroit 31-3 in a game that had the home crowd booing the Lions as they ran into the locker room for halftime. The Texans beat the Lions the next week 30-23, which doesn’t sound nearly as bad, but with the Lions one always has to look past the box score. The “first team” defense got shredded by Deshaun Watson’s one drive, and the Lions coaching staff and players proceeded to get shredded by this Baldy Breakdown on twitter.
A lot is riding on my opinion of this year’s team for this 3rd preseason game against Buffalo. There are no joint practices, there are no travel days, thus there are no distractions. This team must go out and execute, or risk losing my playoff endorsement.
Forward down the field.