While any loss stings, it's critical to remember that in preseason, wins and losses don't mean that much. It's the individual performances which carry weight.
Let's not pull any punches though—there was some ugly tonight.
But, we here at the NFC North blog feel that positivity is where you have to start, so we'll hit the upside first.
Dwight 'Little Bill' Bentley
He got burned badly early, but after that, Bentley had Browns receivers blanketed. He picked off a pass meant for Greg Little and nearly got one meant for Josh Gordon but couldn't quite hold it.
Bentley was beat by Travis Benjamin but didn't let it phase him. Quarterbacks and defensive backs have to have very short memories to be successful in this league, and Bentley definitely has a short memory.
It's a bit premature to crown him as the starting corner opposite Chris Houston, but this was a hell of a start.
Defensive Line Shines
I could call out any number of players individually. Ndamukong Suh got pressure on rookie Brandon Weedon, Willie Young (who has had the camp of all camps the last few weeks) caused Weedon to fumble the ball, which Young recovered. Everette Brown had 1.5 sacks.
I look forward to rewatching this to see what shifts they might have done, but overall, the line looks as good as—perhaps even better than—the 2011 version.
The former LSU back looked pretty good taking snaps in place of the long list of banged up running backs the Lions have. While he lacks the talent and skill set that Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best have, he plays very well when given a chance.
He bears some watching as we finish out the offseason.
While he didn't play a ton of time, I thought Whitehead looked good. It nothing earth shattering, just a guy who looks to be well on the path to a lot of playing time.
The rest of the running backs looked serviceable, though not spectacular. Besides Bill Bentley, the rest of the secondary was uninspiring. I don't believe they have the answers they need at safety at all.
The offensive line was OK, nothing horrible, nothing incredible.
It's no cause for alarm, but the offense looked off to me. It's the second high-powered offense in a row (the Packers being the first) who sputtered first game out.
The starters didn't play near the whole game, so had that been the case, maybe they look better.
But they seemed out of sync, which was surprising.
Where was Nick Fairley?
I know he was on the field, but he wasn't really a factor. Again, one game does not start a trend (or panic), but I was surprised they didn't get him more involved.
Or, he didn't involve himself. Here's another guy I want to watch more closely on Game Rewind when I can.
He should take a jump forward. Maybe, the distractions will catch up to him, but I hope not.
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