Detroit Lions Week One: The Invisible Line

Michael MrockCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Detroit Lions at the Louisiana Superdome on September 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

There was little chance the new-look Lions would have defeated the Saints on Sunday. 

Too many changes in too many aspects of the team for the chemistry to gel.  Regardless a 45-27 score is not a loss one should just pass off as opening day jitters.

To focus on one part of the team attributing to such a thumping can be seen as difficult when compared to any issues Saints may have. The Lions did have one area whose performance was nearly invisible, the Detroit defensive front four.

The starting defensive line consists of Dwayne White (seventh season), Sammie Hill (rookie), Grady Jackson (13th season) and Cliff Avril (second season). While this adds up to 21 seasons of experience, Avril was a rookie back-up last season and with this being Hill's first season, only Jackson and White have started in the NFL

They had a combined three tackles and an assist against the Saints.  Back-ups Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen added three more tackles and two assists.

Such a non- existent performance is a big reason Brees was not sacked and allowing him to throw 358 yards and six touchdowns, an NFL record for an opening season game.  The defensive line also allowed 157 yards rushing as well.  The total domination by the Saints translates into one you would normally see on the Madden NFL Game.

Next up comes Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.  Favre isn't the quarterback he used to be during his glory days with the Green Bay Packers.  He threw only 110 yards against the Cleveland Browns last week.  But when you have a running back like Adrian Peterson running for 180 yards and three touchdowns, Favre doesn't have to play the gunslinger.

The Lions D-line has to apply enough pressure to collapse the pocket of the Vikings or Favre might think he is having another Renaissance to his overdone career.  They also need to establish enough presence to plug the gaps or Adrian Peterson might become the first player in NFL history to rush for 300 yards.

The defensive line cannot be solved quickly consider the lack of experience.  The linebackers, Sims, Peterson and Foote, need to help them out in ways they couldn't against the pass happy Saints.

The Vikings do not have the receivers the Saints do that forced the Detroit linebackers into pass coverage, a big reason why Saints running back Mike Bell was able to rush for 143 yards and average 5.1 yards per carry.

The Detroit defense should be able to get to Favre.  But their greatest nightmare is still Adrian Peterson who could run wild even if the lineman and linebackers stack the line of scrimmage on every down.

The defensive line is not the only problem with these new-look Lions.  But if it can begin to establish itself little by little, that first victory this season may not be too far off.


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