Now that the weekend is over, I’m focusing on the positives I see for the season.
Looks like a very multiple offense that can mix the run and pass well. Williams won’t always have such an easy time getting 10 yards a carry, but the push is there to average 4-5 yards consistently.
WRs showed they can contribute. Benson looked legit and also not on the same page with Goff, yet. I can see Benson being a top 3 WR by the end of the season.
This is an offense that can last the season and isn’t overly dependent on the pass (AZ) or qb runs (BAL). Passing teams can’t play in the cold and wet weather later in the season. Running teams can’t keep up with the passing teams in the domes.
The offense started slow (rust/nerves) but showed against a decent SF defense they can move the ball multiple ways. The deep ball will be there once the Pass OL is playing better against lesser DLs.
The 49ers are one of the hardest assignment offenses to play against. They overload you on one side so the next time when you over pursue they beat you one on one the other side. Young defenses get eaten alive by them.
Still, adjustments were made. Faster guys were brought in (Barnes and Iffy). Blitzes were added. The 49ers players may have eased up a bit, but Shanahan claims they didn’t adjust play calling at all. The potential for a better defense is there. They will take lumps. I expect the DL to perform much better against a more standard Packers offense. Rodgers will likely expose the young DBs when throwing to Adams.
The most exciting thing was watching the defense move forward aggressively in the 2nd half. In the first half they were playing read and react and that is a killer against motion offenses. Now we see why Glenn was all over the defense to amp up their effort in practices because he wants them attacking.
I did a separate post on Joe Barry and the Packers. Rodgers will start playing better but their defense may be the Achilles that drops them from the top. Zimmer seems a decent coach but the personnel has continued to decline under his leadership. Nagy is an extremely mediocre coach and may not last the season.
The NFC-North is there for the taking if the Lions can improve and play to their potential this season. Meanwhile, teams like the Bengals and maybe even the Eagles look improved and won’t be gimmies. The path to the playoffs likely runs through the North division.
It’s the way you finish:
All preseason the Lions were behind and came back in the 4th quarter. Against the 49ers, more of the same. There is a lot to clean up and great coaches will clean up most of this stuff quickly. There are some talent deficiencies. We see the younger guys like Iffy and Barnes bring up the level of play. We see young WRs starting to get comfortable.
We’ve now seen the Lions first product put on the field and it wasn’t horrible. Ok it was horrible for first quarter but then it started to improve quickly. Can we see that improvement continue? Can we see the team not make the same mistakes twice, because there are surely more mistakes to come. Can we see the depth start to impact and improve the team because already there are 3 significant injuries.
There is a lot of football left and one game does not a season make. My dad loves the quote, “from tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow”. I saw some shoots and leaves sprouting on Sunday. It’s up to the coaching staff to provide water and nutrients for future growth.