Now let's do what you're supposed to after one of these win things ...

Monday, September 28, 2009

... analyze where you can still get better.

The last two weeks (Lions losses) I posted lists of positives from the game, despite the result. Now that they've won (wow, strange thing to type) it seems appropriate to go the other way.

It's great that the Lions won, but...

* It came against a VERY flawed Redskins team that doesn't seem to have much heart. As noted here.

* The lack of a consistent pass rush still plagues the Lions. As the Redskins forged something of a comeback near the end, the inability to get to the quarterback was ulcer-inducing. Jason Hunter again looked good at the beginning of the game, but at the end he kept trying to speed rush around the tackle, who simply forced him long and Jason Campbell stepped forward in the pocket. Pass after pass after pass. Make an adjustment!

* The Lions' defensive secondary still leaves you feeling as if it can be gashed for a huge play at any moment -- and again it was. Part of that is a lack of cohesion and playing together; part is the aforementioned lack of a pass rush.

* Stafford played his best -- and smartest -- game as a pro. I absolutely loved the way he protected the ball and avoided turnovers in a game that ended up being close.
But anyone watching the game on Fox who heard Brian Billick's analysis knows that a lot more production was left out on the field by Stafford's continuing issues with accuracy. He seems to be very good with the zipped throw to the sidelines, but still has issues with over-the-middle throws that require some touch.
Calvin Johnson is the team's best weapon. He can make catches if the ball's just in the vicinity of where it needs to be. (Did you see that last catch of his in the fourth quarter? A yard behind him with speed and he snagged it?) But Stafford and Calvin still aren't connecting with consistency. Stafford needs to have confidence to look Calvin's way more, throw the ball over the top and let him make plays over and through smaller DBs.
One hopes that that simply will come with time and repetition.

* The Redskins' drive for their second TD in the fourth quarter was awful from the Lions' perspective. They let the pedal off the floor, went into a "prevent" and didn't prevent a thing. Indeed, it let the 'Skins into a game the Lions had pretty much dominated.

You need to adjust the strategy in those situations, Gunther. That clearly didn't work.

Share your thoughts in The Den!