Chuck House drops his thoughts on the Lions first exhibition game!

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Defensive weakness?   

I enjoyed watching the Lions play the other night. It is good to see football back in town. Like most of you, I was frustrated at the defensive weakness, giving up lots of first downs. That said I saw a lot of blitz packages in the opener. I remember a quote or two from Marinelli about when the Cover 2 is used properly you do not need to blitz. (I think this was a part of the reason Donnie Henderson left town.) Was Rod just blowing smoke? Did he game plan for Cinci to see how effective his various blitz formations were against a throwing QB? Did he not want to tip his hand on how effective the Cover two is working? I don't know, but I doubt the Lions will blitz nearly as much in the regular season as they did in game one.  

   

I think the real reason we saw an unusual Cover 2 was that Marinelli is closely evaluating his defensive secondary, and wants them challenged as much as possible in the preseason, so he is confident he has the best players. I think there is a huge dogfight in the CB and DB positions.  

   

On the other hand, I think Marinelli has more confidence in his D line. (I did not say I did, I said RM did.) As such, he is not making them display their strength yet. I expect to see our D line show what it is made of in game 3. That will be against the Colts, so it might be a really good game.  

   

Offensive strength? Definitely!  

I certainly enjoyed our air attack. 497 yards, 213 yards in the fourth quarter alone was a nice sign that the guys are buying what Marinelli is selling. That shows the ability to score points rapidly, skill with a no huddle offense, desire to win a game when the chips are stacked against you and finishing a game strong.  

   

Was it a close game? Sort of, but it should not have been.  

I did not like that we were in a hole, and needed to come back to win, but there were several plays that made the game closer than it needed to be. The fumble at the goal line by TJ Duckett and the interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter, that was ran back for a TD, when we had moved the ball down to the Cinci 13. Those two plays were a turnaround of 21 points. I do not expect Duckett to fumble at the goal line, and I certainly do not expect a DT to intercept a pass and run it back for a TD. (If I see either of those things happen next game I will get worried.)  

   

Things I am looking for next week.  

Mostly repeat performances. Orlovsky, Baldwin, Moore, McDonald and Walters are easy picks, and they are all depth level players. They are not supposed to be our studs. Troy Walters needs to keep it up and he will have his second best reception yards ever - just in our pre-season). I am also looking forward to seeing Edell Shepherd get more reps. I saw him in the spring and he looked very good. Thursday he went 1 for 1 for 24 yards.  

   

All in all...  

I am upbeat about the first game. We showed a lot of potential in several different areas. Hopefully I see a few more good things this week and a few less mistakes.