Detroit Lions post exhibition game thoughts: The gates of Hell, 3rd round bargains and big ass asses
I try to post my Lions thoughts a few hours after the game, but who wants to put up that much effort over an exhibition? So you're getting them tonight, bitches.
1. When is the real Jon Kitna going to show up? Because the QB we've seen be nearly perfect during the exhibition season sure as Hell isn't the God warrior. Where's the drive killing interceptions? The in his own territory fumbles? The trying to make impossible plays? The inability to find the end zone? Wait a second! The inability to finish drives is still an issue! Maybe it really is Kitna, 100+ QB rating and all, under center.
I know it's only been the equivalent of one half (if that), but Kitna has looked damn good running Jim Coilletto's offense. Is it an illusion, or does Kitna finally "Get it?" It's probably a little of both. It helps he has 4 quality wide receivers to throw to as well. Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams have the ability to turn a badly thrown dying quail into a completion.
I'll admit that Kitna, when he plays within himself, has shown himself to be a very serviceable QB. It's when he tries to make the big play as everything is turning to shit around him, things fall apart. Kitna never seemed to learn that it's better to be prudent than merely courageous. Discretion is the better part of valor. To put it bluntly, don't be a dumb ass with the ball. He should realize it, as it's in the bible, right?
Take the loss, don't force the ball into triple coverage and live to try again. At least you still have the damn ball. At age 35, Kitna may finally have learned that lesson. Or possibly someone wrote it as a passage in his bible, and he took it to heart.
"Thou shall not turn the ball over, lest ye be DAMNED TO THE GATES OF HELL! The LORD hath spoken!"
Either way works for me.
2. It was quite heartening to see a Lions running back break a long run. It was even more heartening to see the run not be called back for a stupid penalty.Detroit's running game isn't running on all cylinders just yet. But it's showing signs of life. If Mike Martz were still calling plays, Smith never would would have gotten the chance to break loose. The so-called genius Martz would have given up on the run after the first couple of plays didn't net much of anything.
There's a fine line between genius and madness, and Martz crossed it long ago. We in Detroit saw it every Sunday in his bizarre play calling. Niners fans get to see the insanity up close and personal this season. Why would journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan, Martz's own pet laboratory project, be named the starting QB in San Francisco? Because Mike Martz is a fucking madman.
I was happy when Martz was hired by Rod Marinelli. I was happier when the self-styled super genius was let go.
3. We saw proof positive on Saturday. Kevin Smith is the best running back on the Lions roster. Period. Semi-colon. Exclamation point. He's the only Detroit back capable of breaking anything more than a 5 yard run.
I was leery of the Lions drafting Smith, not because of his lacking talent. Talent he has in spades. My fear was Smith had been used to the point of abuse by UCF's head coach, George "I did so letter at New Hampshire" O'Leary. But so far, so good.The 70 carries a game Smith got in college hasn't slowed him down...yet. How he holds up over a 16 game season after taking such a beating in school bears close watch.
Getting Smith in the 3rd round of the draft is looking like quite a bargain. It's fair to say, up to this point, this is one 3rd round running back pick that wasn't wasted. (I'm looking at you, Brian Calhoun.)
4. The Detroit media, especially the hosts on sports talk radio, couldn't help but notice how well Shaun Rogers played, tossing around linemen and running backs like so many rag dolls. We heard lots of raving that Big Baby was going to have a Pro Bowl season for the Browns, be the dominant player he was only occasionally in Detroit. That's one big ass leap to make, bigger than Rogers' own big ass, from playing in part of one game.
Rogers played damn well against Detroit. "DETROIT" being the magic word that had the Twinkie's biggest fan motivated. See if he's that fired up to play the Titans in December.
No way in Hell Rogers plays that well over an entire season. It's an impossibility when you weigh 4 bills and have knees buckling from under the immense weight. Rogers is listed at 350 pounds by the Browns. And I'm starring in the next Tarantino flick...
If Big Baby couldn't play consistently hard in Detroit, a team that bent over backwards attempting to keep him happy, motivated, well fed and in an endless supply of oxygen tanks, it's not going to happen in Cleveland. He'll dominate in one game, disappear for the next 2. Especially if the Browns season goes in the tank, and from what I saw Saturday night, that's a distinct possibility.
So to claim Shaun Rogers is going to have a Pro Bowl season is putting the cart before the horse...then having Big Baby eat the horse.
5. The biggest surprise of the exhibition so far has been...No, not the 3-0 start. Not Mike O'Hara predicting a 9-10 win season before doddering off into retirement. Not George "What's the Snap Count" Foster still being first on the OT depth chart.
It's been the play of the defense. It's been been fast, opportunistic and pretty damn good. Brady Quinn may be a gay icon, but the Lions defense made the Browns golden boy look limp. Flaccid, even.
As much as I ragged on Marinelli for bringing every former Bucco he could find into camp, it's those same Buccos who've made the defense better. How much better remains to be seen, as I refuse to get out the jump to conclusions mat over 3 exhibition games.
Before getting all hot and bothered, let's see how the rebuilt D stands up when the season starts. But as things stand, I give the rebuilt defense 1 thumb up! No, the other thumb is not up my ass. It's waiting for the season to start, dammit.