Lions vs. Ravens: Live Preseason Week 2 Report Card for Detroit

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Lions vs. Ravens: Live Preseason Week 2 Report Card for Detroit
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With the Lions’ second preseason game, they find themselves in a tougher situation than the previous week—the Ravens are among the best defenses in the league and have some potent members on the offense.

Tonight, we will grade the major players live throughout the night, and at the end of each quarter, I will give you my thoughts on how they did along with grades for the effort.

At the end of the game, I will give you an overview of each performance and an overall grade. This final grade will not necessarily be the average of all the preceding ones, but a feel of what we saw from him overall.
Leon Halip/Getty Images


MATT STAFFORD

OVERALL: Stafford is Stafford. You can't complain about his ability, you can't have issue with his choices. He was on point and that's nothing but good for the Lions.
 
Q2: A+ - A little sluggish in the first quarter? That’s fine - this team blows up the second. Stafford looked fantastic in the second quarter, with pinpoint passes and some help from his fantastic receivers.

Q1: A - Stafford looked pretty good, hitting his receivers for the most part and with plenty of time to throw. He even ran the ball once—a solid first quarter even without a touchdown.

Pregame: I don’t know we will see a ton of Matt Stafford tonight, but he will definitely get some good work in so he will be ready for a larger load next week.

GRADES:
Q1: A

Q2: A+

OVERALL: A+

SHAUN HILL
 
OVERALL:  B - He hada rough third quarter but for the most part Hill looked good and again, is a guy who can really fill in no problem if something happened to Stafford.
 
Q3: C+ - Not a great quarter for Hill who was a little scattered in his drives. Some of it was pressure, but for the most part he was just off.
 
Q2: B - Hill is one of the better backup QBs in the league and continues to look like a completely safe option behind Stafford. He showed good awareness and savvy as well as a nice arm.

GRADES:
Q1: DNP

Q2: B

Q3: C+


OVERALL:  B
KELLEN MOORE
 
OVERALL: C - Maybe Moore won't stick with the team and maybe he'll never be a starting caliber quarterback. He still made some strides tonight, even if he wasn't great. He can build on it, but don't focus on the stats so much you forget they happened in garbage time.
 
Q4: C - Moore had some good moments but also had some issues with reads as well.
 
Q3: C - Moore continues to struggle with his throws and reads. He made a few nice ones, but overall he isn’t impressive.

GRADES:


Q3: C

Q4: C

OVERALL: C
 
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
KEVIN SMITH

OVERALL:  B+ - I give him the extra 'plus' because my man stays healty. Really, that's all that ever held him back. He has plenty of talent. He looked good tonight and he and Mikel Leshoure could be quite a combo.
Q2: B - Smith had another pair of carries and again, did fine. He did have a great catch and run in the middle of the second which showed off some good hands and nice speed.

Q1: B - Smith ran all right, though the Ravens had great penetration on the runs. He made a nice catch as well. Looks fine. His talent isn’t a doubt. His health always is.

Pregame: With as many issues in the backfield as the Lions have, don’t expect a ton of work from Smith, because they can’t afford an injury. More than likely he’ll be a first quarter player, and then sit.

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B


OVERALL:  B+

JOIQUE BELL

OVERALL:  C - Bell can play but that fumble is a killer. That said, I expect we'll see a bunch of him next week during the all important third preseason game.
 
Q4: D - Bell had a great run where he got stripped of the ball at the one. Maybe the D is a bit harsh, but the guy has to hold onto that ball.
 
Q3: B  - Make that two decent games in a row, though not running the ball this time out. This week he caught the ball twice, both for 10 plus yards and showed good hands and determination on his run after the catch.

Bell had a great first week, against a stumbling Browns team but this will be a much tougher test.

GRADES:
Q1: DNP

Q2: DNP

Q3: B

Q4: D

OVERALL:  C

KEILAND WILLIAMS

OVERALL: A- - Why a higher grade than his overall perfomance was ranked? Because Williams keeps surprising us. We keep thinking he's going to revert to average and he plays well. Against the Ravens—even the bench depth—he was impressive. That's great news.
  
Q3: B - Williams carried the ball a few more times and once again showed solid effort and strong legs
as he fought for yards.
 
Q2: B - Williams had a few more carries and a beautiful catch and run later in the quarter. Could we have written him off too soon?

Q1: Had one run, looked fine.

Pregame: Williams also had a great first week of the preseason and will face a much sterner challenge with Baltimore. He’s shown ability in the past, but we’ll get a good look at his upside tonight.

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B

Q3: B

Q4: DNP

OVERALL: A-

CALVIN JOHNSON

OVERALL: A+ *infinity* - What's to complain about? He's in mid-season form.
 
Q2: A+ - How do you improve on a nice first quarter? How about a great touchdown? Johnson is Johnson—just unstoppable. Even in double coverage he looks great.

Q1: A - Johnson looked great, using his size and physicality to make some great catches.

Pregame: Like Stafford, don’t expect to see Calvin Johnson for a tremendous amount of work, if really at all. I imagine they will do a little work early, just to get the chemistry going for next week, and then take a seat.

GRADES:
Q1:  A

Q2: A+


OVERALL: A+ *infinity*


TITUS YOUNG
 
OVERALL: A - Seriously, one catch. It was like Young walked on stage, smeared Eminem in a rap off, dropped the mic and left. Young looks poised for a heck of a season and a great turnaround from where he was back in the Spring.
 
Q2: A - One catch but a catch which showed us everything Young is about now. A nice catch, took a hit and fought his way to a touchdown. He would not be denied. Great effort and a great indicator of where his head is at.

Q1: No catches . Can’t grade him if they don’t throw it to him.

Pregame: Young has pushed himself hard to take his play to the next level. There won’t be a ton of time with Stafford tonight—check back next week for more—but we’ll see if he gets some work with Shaun Hill as well.

GRADES:
Q1: No catches, no throws.

Q2: A

OVERALL: A


RYAN BROYLES
 
OVERALL: B - just getting out there is a huge victory and making those catches would be icing on the cake. this could be a ridiculously deep group of receivers.
 
Q2: B - A nice play, his first catch since he came back from his ACL injury. Great to see him out there.

GRADES:
Q1: dnp

Q2: B


OVERALL: B




OFFENSIVE LINE
 
OVERALL:  B - The starters are very solid, and the depth looks good as well. I liked what I saw of Reiff as well and think he will develop into a very good player.
 
Q4: B - For the most part a fairly solid job with very few mistakes.
 
Q3: B - Continued solid play this quarter, as the second and third stringers did a fine job protecting Moore, even if he couldn't see over them.
 
Q2: B+ - A good effort with a little more success supporting the run and a great deal of success protecting Stafford. Only a few hits on Stafford, though they were nerve wracking ones as always.

Q1: B - The line did OK in pass protection but didn’t do much in the run game. They don’t have as much practice for that I guess.

Pregame: Jeff Backus has been banged up but should see some work tonight, and Riley Reiff will see some action as well. The line has to keep Stafford upright.

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B+

Q3: B

Q4: B

OVERALL:  B

DEFENSIVE LINE
 
OVERALL: B- - Overall they played well but the early penalties worry me. Of course, the replacement officials made some gaffs but some of it is definitely on the line.
 
Q4: B - they got gashed a few more times but for the most part held and they held on some key short yardage downs.
 
Q3: B - The defensive line got some good pressure, although they were gashed a few times with the run. For the most part though, they got pressure on the quarterback.
 
Q2: B - Better tackling and more control were the way of the second quarter as they did a fine job of stalling the Ravens offense. Even when the second string got in, they still made plays.

Q1: C - They started off really well and then started getting pushed around, getting foolish penalties and missing tackles. That has to change next quarter. The Ravens were running no-huddle and it definitely gassed the Lions.

Pregame: I’m looking for some great play from Lawrence Jackson who will start at defensive end for an ailing Kyle Vanden Bosch. Jackson is at the right side after having started on the left last week. Cliff Avril will also see some work this week.

GRADES:
Q1: C

Q2: B

Q3: B

Q4: B

OVERALL: B-

LINEBACKERS
 
OVERALL: B -Not bad, not outstanding. Solid, but unspectacular. No real big complaints going into next week. Maybe I should give an extra plus for a nice interception by Carmen Messina.
 
Q4: B - Overall a strong quarter, though there were a few plays where they were either out of position or got gashed by a run. That said, not bad for bench depth.
 
Q3: B - The linebackers did a good job stuffing the run and holdiong off the short pass.
 
Q2: B - As with the defensive line, the linebackers did a fine job clogging up the middle and helping to contain the run. There were a few times the play got away from the Lions (in one case with a subtle hold) but overall, they did well.

Q1: B -  The Lions linebackers did fine at first but like the line, faded due to the no huddle. Need to improve the tackling as well.

Pregame How much pressure will they get on Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offense? How much advantage can they take of the pressure from the defensive line?

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B

Q3: B

Q4: B

OVERALL: B

SECONDARY
 
OVERALL: B - Nobody lit them up and nobody did much against them. As a whole, the defense was a bend don't break unit and the Secondary has to keep a cap on the long plays, which they did. For a group which is still a bit unsettled, they look very solid.
 
Q4: B -The secondary continued to keep the lid on the Ravens.
 
Q3: B - Again, a decent effort from the back-ups and second stringers. They contained the offense and laid some nice hits to boot.
 
Q2: B - The secondary was less an obvious factor in the second quarter, but did a good job containing the big plays and covering the receivers.

Q1: B-  - Chris Houston did well in coverage as did Wendley. Unfortunately Jacob Lacey got beat early and the only reason it wasn’t a big play was the receiver dropped the ball. Also, some bad tackling, though Eric Coleman had a great sack.

Pregame: Jacob Lacey starts at right cornerback and Bill Bentley is on the second team. Who starts next week may depend on how well either or both do. Erik Coleman will start at strong safety and John Wendling gets a look at the free spot.

GRADES:
Q1: B -

Q2: B

Q3: B

Q4: B

OVERALL: B


SPECIAL TEAMS

OVERALL: C - They seemed to get worse as the game went on, maybe because some of the players they count on were out the second half. Still even Schwartz was unhappy with their work so, besides Willie Young, there may be changes coming.
 
Q4: C - I want to give this a higher grade based on Willie Young's punt block to start the fourth, but overall the unit continued a mediocre second half. The onside kick was a bad play as well.
 
Q3:  C - Two big runs have been allowed and both were called back on flags. Luckier than good this half so far.
 
Q2: B-  - The yhad a little more problems containing run backs, but Jason Hanson made up for it with a 50 yard field goal. For a 400 year old player (that stat might be wrong) he’s a fantastically reliable kicker.

Q1: B - The had a nice return at one point and did an Ok job containing the Ravens.

Pregame - As long as they can contain the returns, they should be fine.

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B -

Q3:  C

Q4: C

OVERALL: C

COACHES

OVERALL:  A - Why an 'A'? Well I liked the decision to have the starters in on offense for so long. The offense started sluggish and it would have been a mistake to take them out before they clicked. For the most part the right players are in the right spot and as the night went on, the penalties dropped. Good effort overall.
 
Q4: B -Well, I can't complain much as the staff did a good job late, despite an onside k
 
Q3: B - no great adjustments but no mistakes. Penalties are still under control.
 
Q2: B+ - A great job adjusting to the hurry up and keeping the players under control. I like the adjustments I saw.

Q1: B - Got to get the penalties cut down. Didn’t happen in the first quarter.

Schwartz is preaching control and low penalties. Can he keep the guys in line?

GRADES:
Q1: B

Q2: B+

Q3:B

Q4:  B

OVERALL:  A

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
WILLIE YOUNG
I mentioned him above and his punt block was fantastic.  While he didn't have a great statistical day otherwise, here is a guy who makes tons of plays at the right time (like the punt block).
He continues to show he deserves to be on the field as often as possible.
KEILAND WILLIAMS
Again, a guy I touched on above. His yards per carry wasn't great but he had three very nice catches and continues to produce above where I believed his ceiling was.
STEPHON GREEN
Sure, it was garbage time, but his 92 yards contained an outstanding 76 yard run. He's unlikely to break off the bench but given the injury history of guys in front of him, they will probably keep him around if he can have another good game.
CALVIN JOHNSON
Not a surprise here but five catches for 111 yards and a touchdown? In one half? Yeah even for Megatron, that's notable.
DOUG HOGUE
Second year linebacker Hogue seemed to be in position to make a play quite often and while the seven tackles he had didn't come against the cream of the crop, he showed some tenacity and ability to get them. I'd like to see what more he can do the next few weeks.
TAHIR WHITEHEAD
Whitehead is a guy we've all been reading about during camp and he continued his solid play tonight. He may have had just three tackles, but he generated plenty of plays which resulted in other players making the tackle.
MATT STAFFORD
Like Johnson, it's not so much the numbers, but that he compiled them in a half. And this was a slow start for the offense against a very tough defense. Like Johnson, Stafford appears to be just about in mid-season form.
CLIFF AVRIL
Avril wasn't spectacular in his preseason debut, but didn't look out of shape or rusty at all and I think that's worthy of a mention. He'll only get better as the next few weeks progress and the upside is, we've seen how much depth the defensive line has while he was out.
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