The much anticipated Matt Patricia era mostly officially begins tonight! The Lions have made their way out to Oakland to take on the Raiders in their first preseason matchup under new head coach Patricia. We all know that these are mostly scrimmages, but here are some things that I’ll be watching out for tonight.
Kerryon JohnsonJohnson was the 2nd round pick of the Lions in this past draft. He’s a running back out of Auburn, and man, have the reports been good on him coming out of camp. Anyone who’s watched a Lions broadcast in the past year or two knows that the Lions haven’t had a 100 yard rusher in a trillion years.
Could Kerryon be the one to break that? As of now, it looks pretty good. He’s been hardworking, playing different roles, such as pass catching, and pass protection. He’s also gotten tips from former Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. Hoping we get to see some of that tonight.
It’s July now, and finally, the speculation can turn into reality. Will linebacker Jarad Davis be a bust? Will rookie running back Kerryon Johnson be the Detroit Lions first 100-yard rusher in about a jillion years? AND…the one that’s been on my mind for the longest: Do people feel that Matt Patricia can make a difference with this team?
No, I’m not doubting the hire at all. I guess what I’m thinking is this. Back in April (pre-draft), I was at an event, and as tends to happen when I meet people, the topic of conversation turned to football.
We started talking Lions, and he asked me if I felt that the Lions are really going to be THAT much improved with this hire. I, of course, said yes, and he looked at me a little funny.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 100th consecutive start was at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota to take on division rival Vikings. The road historically hasn’t been great for the Lions, and the Vikings were coming off of a big Week 3 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To win, the Lions would have to slow down rookie running back Dalvin Cook and stop wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, especially after the team got late word that rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis was going to be out due to a concussion.
Despite the tall order the Lions stood firm. Going into the game it was thought that it was going to be an offensive show down. However it turned into a defensive struggle and the Lions were able to shut down the high powered Vikings offense. The Vikings had three turn overs, including one that sealed the win for the Lions thanks to safety Glover Quin batting the ball out of wide receiver Adam Thielen‘s hands.
For this edition of #PrideReport, I decided to try something new. Can’t say that it will happen every game, but I figured I’d try it out and see how you liked it. Hit me up and let me know what you think!
Aaron Freeman (@Falcfans) who is the host of Locked on Falcons Podcast and co-host of the @FalconsPFC podcast, was nice enough to chat with me, and let me ask him some questions about Sunday’s game against the Falcons. It is early, but at the same time, it’s a pretty good test for the Lions to see if they really are who we think they can be!
Me: What one thing do you think the Falcons have to do to get a win??
Aaron: Stick with their identity. Which is being aggressive on both sides of the ball. They have an explosive offense that thrives off pushing the ball down the field with play-action passing. And their defense is as fast and athletic as they come in the NFL, so not being afraid to get physical at the line of scrimmage with the Lions wide recievers and also mixing in a healthy dose of blitzes to help offset the absence of [linebacker] Vic Beasley are good ways to continue that aggression on defense.
Me: Yeah, good ol [Falcon’s Head Coach Dan Quinn] DQ is really turning your defense into a machine out there. The Lions defense really came around Monday night against the Giants. We know that the Falcons are a little but better, but…Do you see the Lions defense taking [quarterback] Matt Ryan off his game and maybe losing some of that identity???
Aaron: It’s possible given some of the question marks the Falcons have on the right side of their O-line. [Right tackle] Ryan Schraeder might miss the game with a concussion and the Falcons already were trying to overcome new starting [right guard] Wes Schweitzer after a rough performance in Wk 1 vs. the Bears. If Schraeder misses the game, his replacement (either right tackle Ty Sambrailo or right tackle Austin Pasztor) could cause the right side of the OL to be an area where the Lions choose to exploit with stunts and blitzes to catch the two least experienced starters on the team unaware, pressure Ryan and slow down this Falcons offense.
After a Jekyll and Hyde start to the Campaign for Super Bowl 52 with another come from behind win for the Lions, the team took their talents to MetLife Stadium in New York to face the New York Giants. The Giants were coming off of a loss to their division rival Dallas Cowboys. Their Diva wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was still dealing with an ankle injury from preseason, and cornerback Janoris Jenkins would be out for the game as well. Could the League’s highest paid player lead his team to victory in hostile territory? Well, he did. quarterback Matthew Stafford showed leadership and wheels. He got the Lions ahead, and the defense and the rest of the team, did what they needed to do to secure the 24-10 Victory.
King Of The Pride: While Stafford has done some big things, last night belonged to the defense and defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah. While battling injuries last year, and not having the best first game of the season, the Lions first pick from the 2013 draft had a beast of a night. He had 6 tackles, 3 sacks and 1 forced fumble. Not a bad day! Honorable mentions goes to rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis androokie cornerback Jamal Agnew. Davis had 3 tackles, and 1 sack. Unfortunately, he had to leave the game with a concussion. Jamal Agnew had an 88 yard punt return for a touchdown that put the Giants away. That was the first punt return for a touchdown since Eddie Drummond did it in 2002. It’s been a long time Lions fans!
The 2017 NFL Draft has come to a close. How did the Detroit Lions do? Well, according to me, I think they did pretty well. Draft grades can be sort of misleading, because to truly grade them, you’d have look at their whole season of work, where they were picked, etc. But if I had to give a grade, I’d say a B.
General manager Bob Quinn addressed most needs in the draft, which were defense. Out of the Lions nine draft picks, only 3 were on offense. The linebacking corps definitely improved with the addition of first round pick out of Florida Jarrad Davis and 4th round pick Jalen Reeves-Maybin from Tennessee. He also added to a slightly deep secondary by drafting CB Teez Tabor and Jamal Agnew, though Agnew may be used more in special teams. Last year showed the depth, or lack thereof, with the Lions defense. This draft, I do believe, addressed some of it.
Offensively they took wide receiver Kenny Golloday, tight end Michael Roberts and quarterback Brad Kaaya. I’m most impressed with Michael Roberts. Glad to have an addition to the tight end group. Eric Ebron has been rather underwhelming, but if all goes well, Roberts will be a good blocking tight end, and also a reliable red-zone option.