Lots of meandering here, but I touched on quite a few players from Detroit’s 16-10 first half win vs. Oakland.
Happy that Fairley is not starting, he’s ballooned since June. Good on Coach Caldwell for showing some discipline.
No Calvin means the Lions truly don’t give a damn about the outcome. I’m going to try and keep that in mind…
First quarter D
–Glover Quin dives past tackle on opening play. George Johnson got handled.
–Suh completely destroyed double team on the second snap.
–DeAndre Levy with a fruitless, futile blitz
–Love the outside delay blitz by Tulloch right behind Johnson, both stayed under control and got the QB pressure
–Ashlee Palmer exposed in coverage by Mychal Rivera, bad missed tackle by Mathis on the sideline
–Eight Lions played along the DL on the first series, including Fairley getting a QB pressure on the Ihedigbo INT. Mathis was all over the WR in coverage, perfect positioning.
–Outstanding pressure by Jason Jones and the front on the second drive, a 3-and-out.
First quarter O:
–Bush follows a crushing block from Warford, shows vision and burst inside
–Tate schools Tarell Brown out/up, easy TD
–Stafford throwing hard darts, love the trust in Durham on the TD. Great catch by No. 18 over a big CB in Carrie.
Enough of the play-by-play, hopefully you’ve watched it by now.
–The defensive holding is a real issue. Every flag was justified, even the play with flags on both Bentley and Mathis. Ihedigbo earned two on the same play and both were legit. Hands off, gentlemen, just like the main floor of the strip club.
–Mathis has lost a half-step from his heyday, but he once again turned in a very solid night. Facilitated the first iNT with lockstep coverage. Nearly got a pick six on Schaub’s weak throw on the hook, great read and quick reaction.
–7 penalties for 40 yards in the first half
–I slammed Stephen Tulloch all week. He responded with a very good half of aggressive, disciplined football. Good for him. Keep it up, captain!
–George Winn showed on special teams, including a great submarine tackle on the final kickoff.
Now for a little extended commentary…
The Lions have an unexpected problem with the interior offensive line reserves. Rodney Austin was supposed to step up and finally assert himself to earn a spot. Travis Swanson was drafted in the third round to fortify the position and emerge as a starter next year.
Thus far, both have been lousy. Swanson has struggled all summer with snapping, so tonight the Lions put him at LG with Darren Keyton at C. One play after I tweeted positive about Swanson drive blocking, he got embarrassed in pass protection. He’s consistently stiff-legged in his pass sets and lacks the strength to do much when he tries to recover.
Austin had a miserable final drive of the half. Twice he got beaten almost without contacting his blocking assignment, including the 3rd down sack where he failed to recognize the blitzer or see that Keyton was engaged.
Right now neither belongs as a gameday active. Keyton was okay at center but he’s not been overly impressive to legitimately challenge either guy for that spot.
I’ll go one step further: I don’t know how they justify a roster spot at all for Swanson. I know he’s a third-round pick, but he’s in way over his head and has been all camp. It would be a humiliating admission of failure, but that’s better than risking Matthew Stafford’s well-being to his ineptitude.