Detroit Lions First Preseason Game: Good, but Irrelevant
Yes, a win is a win. But in the NFL, winning in the preseason is of little, if any importance.
Every team's top priority in the preseason is to finish with healthy players. Next on the coaches preseason wish list is to see his team execute basic football strategy.
In that regard, Jim Schwartz should be pleased with how his team played against Atlanta in its first preseason game. No Detroit Lion left the field wounded against Atlanta Saturday afternoon. Furthermore, new coordinators Scott Linehan and Gunther Cunningham saw their respective philosophies succeed in live game action.
A job well done.
Also worth mentioning, Detroit won the game 27-26 on a last second field goal from the ever reliable Jason Hanson.
“I'm not sure if they put preseason wins on your resume or your tombstone,” Schwartz told reporters after the game as he continually downplayed the importance of Detroit's victory.
While walking off the field as a winner in his first game wearing the big headset must have felt great for Schwartz, the win itself, is indeed irrelevant.
The last time Detroit won all four of its preseason games (2008), it finished as the worst team in NFL history with a record of 0-16.
Steve Mariucci also won his first preseason game with the Lions. He now works as a talking head for the NFL Network.
Football games are decided in the second half, primarily in the fourth quarter.
Preseason games in the NFL come down to which team has the strongest third string unit.
It doesn't matter that Ramzee Robinson and Stuart Schweigert played lock-defense in the secondary for the Lions.
The only tackles they'll make this year will come on special teams.
Drew Stanton's game-winning two-minute-drill was fun to watch and a nice reminder of his days at Michigan State. But it, too, was all for show.
The only meaningful game on Detroit's horizon is Sept. 13 at the Superdome in New Orleans. The sooner the Lions can get their first regular season win, the sooner the pressure and embarrassment of the infamous 0-16 season will diminish.
Everything up to week one is nothing more than preparation.
Additional notes: Detroit's quarterbacks combined to complete 20-of-33 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns without the teams top three wide receivers (Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson, Dennis Northcutt) or projected starting tight end Brandon Pettigrew in uniform.
Rookie running back Aaron Brown had an impressive debut, rushing for 47 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
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