My take on the Lions first exhibition game: Lions vs. Bengals.

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  • The Lions defensive starters looked bad. They were out of position and finally got pressure on Palmer on a third and six and they gave up four yard forcing a field goal. I know that White and Rogers were not playing, but let’s be honest by saying neither was available last season so this is what we have to evaluate. Also don’t forget that the Bengals had neither starting tackle. I will say that the #1 safeties were the most productive.
  • Eddie Drummond, who is playing to keep a job that many people feel he won’t keep, had two great kick returns. It was nice to see Eddie start the season like he played 05’ and last season at Dallas. I love him, but I stand by what I have said all off-season that he won’t be here to start the season.
  • Big Ed Mulitalo struggled. He is a road grader but he has to improve now that he is in a pass-oriented system. I have a lot bigger issues with the OL than him, but the OL (#1’s) look terrible.
  • On the Lions first punt, Nick Harris did a great job as he always does but the two Lions with the chance to down it inside the three ran into one another and the Bengals got the ball at the 20. After both teams first drives, the Lions #1’s didn’t look good against the Bengals #1’s. Go ahead and call me Mr. Obvious but sadly that is a fact. The Bengals looked like the much better team. If this Lions team is a 10-win team, than that can’t happen.
  • Fernando Bryant and Stanley Wilson did NOTHING to give Lions fans any hope. To be honest however, nickel back Travis Fisher didn’t either. He got a penalty that was just inexcusable. Again, it was only the first pre-season game but it was ones on ones and we didn’t stack up.
  • The Lions defensive line through the first two Bengal drives was manhandled. In fact they only had one decent play and I don’t want to hear any excuses, look at my first note again.
  • Paging Bailey? Boss? Anyone seen Boss?
  • On the last play of the first quarter, the Lions had a crucial second and three at their own 43. The Lions ran right and Damien Woody and George Foster were burned and the Lions lost two.
  • On the first play of the second quarter the Lions OT George Foster allowed the Bengals to get to much pressure on the play and they blocked a pass. That play really didn’t matter because the Lions got a procedural penalty for an illegal alignment. Not excusable from the starting unit early to be in a wrong formation. Spartan fans will remember those penalties under JLS.
  • Johnny Baldwin just leveled the Bengals QB Brad Johnson with a great blitz. He played well tonight. He has so far to go but he played well and even though he wasn’t perfect, he certainly played better than many of his teammates. He displayed the instincts I told you about after the draft. He is so young but his athleticism was very evident. I am still really excited about that young man.
  • 11:50 in the second quarter was the first Boos of the season from the Lions fans! EPIC!
  • Anthony Cannon played well. In fact the Lions second string defense far out played their first string counter parts. I don’t want to hear that it was twos against twos, this is the NFL and your two deep are what plays in the regular season.
  • The Lions would love to see Peterman really blossom and I love the guy but he struggled tonight.
  • Corey Smith, Langston Moore and Gerald Alexander all looked raw, but all looked like football players. I am really looking forward to seeing more.
  • Keith Smith looked like the best Lions CB. His technique was good and when he did struggle he was able to make up for it. He has had a good camp. He has always shown glimpses, but he then reverts back. If he can stay consistent you will hear a lot about him.

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Here are some general overviews and grades:

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1.     Redzone TO’s are inexcusable. Two of them can’t happen. Chalk it up to nerves or whatever you want but that can’t happen again. Who cares if you can move the ball if you can’t score. The redzone grade is a D.

2.     Offensive line couldn’t get a rushing game. In the fact the best rush of the night was when Duckett dragged guys to the goal line. Emphasis on dragged. Here is a split grade. Starting OL: D. Backups: C.

3.     Kitna: B. Looked crisp and got completions. Was not right on accurate with a couple of them, but they moved the ball and he isn’t a blocker for running plays. He also had a quick delivery and didn’t hold the ball forever. He had to deal with a lot of pressure and to me, I came away encouraged with how he did.

4.     Dan Orlovsky and JTO: B. Backups fighting for a job played well.

5.     Defensive line starters: F. Have we not heard about how much pressure they will get? I do not blame Redding for that grade. Dude couldn’t get a break. They just stuck two big uglies on him. EVERYONE else just kind of bought popcorn and watched. That grade is not for Redding.

6.     LB’s? Sims: B. Bailey and Lenon? F! Did Bailey and Lenon show up? Exactly.

7.     Nearly 500 yards passing and one sack? That has to encourage you until you look at the rushing yards…ouch. In football you saw it with MSU under JLS, there are times you have to be able to run the ball. At this point, the Lions are struggling. I am not saying you have to have 500 yards in rushing with 500 yards in passing. That isn’t the point. The point is that you have to be able to run the ball when it is time, it isn’t the yards it is the situation.

8.     Starting CB’s including Fisher? D Starting safeties? C

9.     Backups DB’s: B-

10. Backup LB’s: B-

11. Coaching: B You can see the Marinelli stamp of never quit coming through. Some key units struggled and I give you that, but it was the first pre-season game. Marinelli puts them in adversity and he wants to see what happens. If this were the third game I would be having a nervous breakdown. Let’s let Coach do what he does. Remember that the first two and fourth pre-season games are not game planned per say. They are more situational. I will be much tougher after the third pre-season game. What does excite me is that we saw depth guys, #2’s and #3’s step up and play better and it does not matter how good your first units are, in the NFL if you don’t have depth you don’t have anything.

12. Remember that in the fourth quarter the Bengals had essentially their third and fourth string in the game. The Lions had Orlovsky that is fighting to be a backup and a bunch of players that are fighting for a #2 spot. I am not being negative, I am pointing out some reality so as to enjoy the win, but not read a lot into it.

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Overall grade for the entire team? A win that showed that some depth is emerging and two starting lines that are struggling in the FIRST pre-season game is a C