Detroit Lions: Highs, Lows and Question Marks After the 1st Quarter
The Lions didn't sail into the bye week, so much as they stumbled, flailing. And on fire.
OK, it's not that bad, but things sure haven't gone the way many in Detroit hoped or expected it would.
It's not all bad in Motor City though and as we hit the quarter mark of the season, it's time to take a look at all of it—the good, the bad and the unknown.
Admittedly he followed a very good debut with a flat-out bad game against the Vikings. However, we should consider that the Vikings are tied for seventh against the run and allowing just 85 yards a game and one touchdown on the ground.
Considering Frank Gore had a bad time as well and wasn't in the second game of his career post-Achilles injury, Leshoure deserves to be cut a break.
While he looked a little lead footed against the Vikings, he also got hit a ton behind the line of scrimmage and there just wasn't much room for him to move and unlike the 49ers, the Lions ditched the run as they fell behind.
Still, Leshoure looks like he can carry the load and give the offense a dimension it's lacked and sorely needed. If the offensive line can get more push for him and open a few more holes and Leshoure can break some nice sized runs. We're just seeing the surface of Leshoure, and it's only going to get better.
The offense has had its issues, but Burleson is not one of them. With the exception of the game against San Francisco where everybody sucked, Burleson is hauling in a high percentage of his passes and is a very reliable option for Matt Stafford.
While Titus Young has struggled and Brandon Pettigrew has dropped a bunch of passes, Burleson has been the guy in the offense who Stafford can look to when he needs yards.
The Slow Starting Offense
It's a curious thing to watch the Lions stumble out of the gate nearly every game these days, and it's hard to pinpoint where it is all going wrong. This is an offense which is built to explode out of the gate and it just isn't.
Teams are playing them very physical and making things tough for the receivers coming out of their breaks and getting after Stafford as quickly as possible.
As we enter the bye week, the one thing the team needs to take a long look at what is misfiring and causing slow starts because when they come against a big time offense, they will fall behind quickly and become very limited.
After a preseason filled with promise and momentum, Young began the season with a stupid personal foul flag in week one and pretty much disappeared over the following weeks.
With the exception of the game against Tennessee, when things were desperate, Young has been a complete non-factor. Why is a good question worth looking at, but whatever the reason he has been invisible.
Special Teams—Not so Very Special
Holy Moly. I didn't think the special teams gaffes were that big a deal after the Titans game, but after the Vikings game it sure seems like one.
What's the saying? Once is an accident, twice is happenstance, three times is enemy action? The Lions need to do everything they can to make sure there isn't a third time.
The Vikings said they exploited a hole on Harvin's 105-yard return that they'd seen on tape in the Titans game.
The Lions better get hold of that tape.
Where is the defensive line?
Seriously, what happened to this front seven, specifically the defensive line? Allegedly they had a bunch of new plays and were moving players around to keep quarterbacks guessing but the results have been—at best—mediocre.
Maybe the new plays ARE the issue though and this will right itself. The Lions have talent there, and perhaps also the loss of Corey Williams is bigger than we thought.
The line has to step it up though with some potent offenses on the docket after the bye.
Can the secondary step up?
So far the answer appears to be no, but it's very early. Other than Chris Houston, nobody has been able to be truly effective in coverage. Part of it is the youth of a guy like Dwight Bentley, the loss of Louis Delmas and perhaps losing Aaron Berry.
The team needs to find some answers for the same reason they need the defensive line to wake up, as some tough offenses are right around the corner.
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