Perspective from Live at the Lions Game
Stream of consciousness from game:
How in the heck could the Lions have given Matt Millen a contract extension as GM? The team has stunk and continues to stink, yet they extend his contract. Using his first round pick on Mike Williams? A good player, but they already had players like him on the squad, they had many other needs. Think they could use DeMarcus Ware, Shawn Merrimen, Derrick Johnson, or Thomas Davis? With all the Martz bashing, Mariucci has done nothing with the Lions.
Ok, to the game. Since the TV would be showing all the skill positions I focused on the big boys mostly, and other stuff that would be out of the frame.
Views of the OL. Played well, but surprisingly Pace got beaten a couple of times on the rush. RTís played fine, mostly hold your position type of play, I think it was mainly Tucker at RT. Lotís of chipping with the TE. The line gets in trouble when they try to use the inside guys to do a lot of pulling and trapping. Our current OGís just arenít that athletic. When it works, can spring a big game, but saw lots of penetration on those plays. Barron sure does look the part. He and Pace look like big and little brother. Barron also is amazingly fast for a lineman. When he drops back to past protect he gets back much faster than anyone else, including Pace Ė nice feet. I donít think his problem will be outside speed rushers. However, he got beat twice on inside moves where the guy swims under him. This is where his lack of strength hurts, and how they use his speed against him (get him going back and duck underneath). He is not ready, and is not a force on run offense (kinda a lean into him blocker right now), but you can see the gifts. He was also very attentive even when he wasnít playing. Listening in huddles, watching the play, I was impressed by he and Terrell.
Speaking of Terrell, I never thought I would say this about a man, but he has an amazing backside! He looks like a traffic cone with legs.
Other O thoughts. I canít see Collins being more than a practice player this year. He looked tentative and lost on O, and just okay on special teams. Maybe its the new position, but no instinctive moves or spark. Seemed to be a concentrated goal to use the TE more in the game. TEís were open all day, even when they werenít thrown the ball. BM had a couple of good plays in the pass game and a couple of lost opportunities. If he can become even somewhat consistent he will have a huge year. That is the position that defenses are giving up to cover the WR's plus Faulk.
Some D thoughts. Green may have started but Hargrove got most of the first half play. So much so that I wondered whether Brandon had gotten hurt. Hargrove still has one move Ė the bull rush, but if you give him time, he will beat you. He was the most animated guy pregame and on the sidelines. Hargrove isnít an around the edge speed rusher right now, but he is the type of guy that will get a consistent push and if the QB holds the ball for that extra tick he will get in. Little looked fine, but lots of double teams. Inside play was solid, still space up the middle with Lewis.
While Claiborne was hired for run support, he seemed most comfortable blitzing and applying pressure. In the run game he seemed to give a lot of ground playing off of blocks. I think heíll make plays, but I think Marmie has to pass and run blitz him to get productivity. Thomas was soft Ė just too small to hold point of attack. Dexter was quiet, Pisa played a nice game. Right now I think the Rams are an average run defense team, to even slightly below. Will come down to philosophy. When they run blitzed the team did well, but when the played vanilla Ė lots of holes (Detroitís mistakes and penalties covered up a lot of them). I think if Marmie plays aggressive this defense will be fine and good enough to go far in the playoffs, when the defense is basic Ė it is a below average unit right now.
The defensive backfield was solid but really hard to judge in this game because both Harrington and Garcia were horrid. Receivers were open and they couldnít get them the ball. I donít see the Rams signing Archuleta after this year unless something drastically changes. He made a couple of plays, but was not a force. Hawthorne seemed ok. OJ seems to be still in the rookie mode. Just a step away from making good plays, but always a little off balance. Bartell is not ready, he played off the receivers more than any of the other CBs and still got beat several times. The WR (I canít remember if it was Rogers or Williams) also ran by him on a fly pattern and the ball was overthrown. Still early, but Iím thinking heís moving inside at some point.
Oh, and Brandon Green is a demon on special team. He was the wedge buster, and I think he almost knocked himself out twice. Great guy to have on his team, and another reason why he is a valuable backup. Everyone saw the special teams still weren't special. What was amazing was that even in warm-ups Hodges had a tough time with directional punting. When full punting he was booming, but when going for inside the 20 he was terrible. Almost like a golfer trying to hit a half swing shot and shanking it. Had the same problem both first and second half warming up.
Iím not trying to be negative. These are my critical thoughts. The Rams overall looked great Ė but I wouldnít overweight the performance as the Lions were just hapless. I had a great time, and watching in the Lion's den made me appreciate being a Rams fan and the excellence that they have had over the last few years.
Couple of other non-football thoughts:
People were booing the Lions from the first play from Jackson. Lots of angst and it was hilarious hearing the doom and gloom from the fans around me. [warning: inappropriate comment coming up]. Detroit may not have a lot of skinny model women running around, but there were lots of tall and largely endowed women in the crowd (my wife commented on this during the game and I made sure I hadnít noticed). The stadium was a nice place to watch a game, good site lines even up high. They need to upgrade the food choices by Superbowl time - ugh!
Re: Perspective from Live at the Lions Game
Excellent report ramhard!!
It's always great to get a Rams fan's perspective from their attendance at the game.
You indicated it was hard to judge the defensive backfield. I thought the front seven attacked the lions well, which took some pressure off the D-backfield, and led to the bad showing by harrington.
Um - Is your wife going to read this? Regardless, women have a way of noticing whether you think they do or not. I have learned that their comments often stem from them noticing what they see you noticing....lol
Re: Perspective from Live at the Lions Game
Nice report. Its always good to get another perspective on things. However, I agree with Ferter that our front 7 contributed to Herrington and Garcia looking bad. Of course that is what we want to see all season long.