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Week-1 Lions Lose to Saints

Where does one start? When a team plays as bad as the Detroit Lions did in their first game, where do you even begin to write about them?

Matthew Stafford looked even worse than I had expected he would. Half the time he looked lost and the other half he was very inaccurate. It was a seldom play where Stafford actually threw on target to an open receiver. The highlight of the game for the rookie quarterback was when he connected with Calvin Johnson who after the catch, left the defenders in his wake and ran to the end-zone. The referees however showed how bad they could be and called Calvin Johnson out of bounds at the five, which replay clearly showed was not the case. Unfortunately for Stafford and Johnson both, the play was not reviewable. For the day, Stafford was a paltry 16 of 37 for 205 yards and 3 interceptions.

The Lions defense was far worse than I expected but I place the blame squarely on Gunther Cunninghams shoulders. After a preseason of the Lions blitzing, they blitzed only once in the entire first half and only a few times for the game. Schwartz was quoted recently saying the Lions showed a very vanilla defense in the preseason and they planned on coming at Brees with everything they had. If what they showed in the first game against New Orleans is everything they had, we are in for a very very long season.

Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. To even think for a second that the Lions have the defense to cover the likes of Colston, Henderson, Moore and Bush for more than a second or two is simply ludicrous. To play a passive pass defense against the Saints was nothing less than simple suicide. The only way to stop a passing game like the Saints have is to get to the quarterback. Get to him fast and often. The Detroit fans saw all of last season what happens when you give an NFL quarterback time to find the open receiver. It doesnt work. The Lions defense just isnt good enough to cover for very long. Their only hope was to blitz and blitz and blitz some more. Yet after all of the bravado talk the coaches gave all preseason, they came out and played a pansy defense just like Marinelli did in 2008.

Kevin Smith showed very little of what we expected from him today. Smith is a strong runner and can drag a player forward for a yard or two. He just is not quick enough or fast enough to be considered a true threat to the opponents.

Jason Hanson looked like his old self with a field goal right down the middle. As much as I like the guy, I am beginning to wonder if the Lions need to find someone else to handle Kick-offs. In recent years, Hanson has been dropping his kicks around the 3 to 5 yard line. This too often gives teams a chance to return the kicks into Detroit territory. The Lions need a kicker who can boot the ball into the endzone and force returners to take a knee.

If there was one bright spot that I saw in the first game of the season, it was in the kick and punt returns. Both, Dennis Northcutt on a punt return and Aaron Brown on a kick-off, returned one for some big gains. That is something the Lions fans have not seen in recent years.

The small bright spot was far from enough to brighten any fans heart after this week one debacle. The Detroit Lions showed the same pansy defense as they used last year. If that is all the courage the Lions coaches have then they might as well show up to the next game wearing pink tootoos. Stafford did not show me near enough to warrant him being put in over Daunte Culpepper. In fact he showed me less than any rookie quarterback the Lions have played in my life time. The offensive line was too often pushed backwards. Again, reminescent of 2008.

One cannot help but to fear another winless season after this showing. When the opposing offense moves the ball at will as the Saints did and the Lions offense looks as pathetic as they did, how can anyone think they can even beat the Rams? And to think this is only the first week. If the coaches dont take a heavy dose of courage pills, how can we believe next week will be any better?

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