Observations from Saturday's win

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Lions' preseason winning streak continues! We all learned last year how meaningless preseason victories can be. Still, there were encouraging signs in the Lions' last-second, 27-26 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, and Den members are buzzing about them:

Matthew Stafford: The top pick in the draft gave a microcosm of what Lions fans can probably expect the entire season: Very solid throws made possible by a very strong arm; a veteran-like poise and calmness in the pocket -- and the occasional boneheaded rookie mistake like the pick-six. Overall, though, Stafford looked very good and left fans wanting more.

Daunte Culpepper: The veteran QB who's trying to hold off Stafford didn't look shabby himself. He's clearly in better shape and more mobile than last year.

The O-Line: Again, lessons learned from last preseason say don't put too much stock in August results. But the Lions' offensive line gave up no sacks to an Atlanta team that made the playoffs last year. In fact, the quarterbacks didn't even seem hurried all that much. And the line seemed to enjoy being able to tee off and do some power run-blocking, with three different Lions backs -- Kevin Smith, Allen Ervin and Aaron Brown having some success.

Aaron Brown: It was a coming-out party for the Lions sixth-round draft choice out of TCU. Brown staked a very strong claim for third RB, and looks like he will be a small, speedy, change-of-pace from Smith and Maurice Morris. Brown also showed receiving ability out of the backfield, and already looks far better than the guy the Lions tried to give this kind of role for years, Brian Calhoun. Lions coaches have said they want Brown to learn to run between the tackles, but he showed talent that certainly can't be ignored. Stop the presses -- have the Lions finally gotten a player from Day 2 of the draft??

On a less positive note ... The Defense: They gave up one of those awful, long, breaking-weak-arm-tackles TDs to Michael Turner that instantly took Lions fans back to last year. They generated no sacks or turnovers. Still, the defensive backs didn't look ridiculous in pass defense (hey, after last season, that's progress). Anthony Henry and Chris Roberson in particular came to play.

A very intriguing start. Can't wait to see more of Stafford and Brown -- and to see how Stafford does with Calvin and Bryant Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew catching the ball instead of Keary Colbert dropping it.