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Lions Preseason Week-1: Like a Breath of Fresh Air

Going into Friday nights game, the Lions fans were not sure what they were going to get. Most believed the Lions were an improved team, but after all, it was their first game of the preseason with a short training camp. Their were injuries on both sides of the ball. And to some fans, they are still the Lions, so how can you expect too much?

After winning 34 - 3, many fans were handed a taste of what it is like to watch a good team for once, and it was like taking a breath of fresh air after stumbling out of a burning house. Make no mistakes, this is only preseason and the win means nothing. To get a better idea of the Lions potential, you need to look into the game rather than the final score.

On offense the Detroit Lions starting unit was impressive to say the least. They moved down the field with their first drive and scored on a 26 yard Touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. Their second drive started soon after that (due to a turnover) and with a shortened field the Lions scored again. This time with a 7 yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson. Jahvid Best only carried the ball four times for a total of 12 yards, his longest scamper was for 7 yards.

In a sense, the Lions starting offensive unit had their way with the Bengals. The running game was not so bad with Best in the back field, and the passing game looked like the Bengals forgot to send out their back seven.

The Lions new and improved defense was good, but maybe not as good as the first glance might tell you. One could look at the score and say they were great. Giving up only three points in an entire game? That is awesome! Now look a little deeper. The Bengals have Chris Dalton as their starting QB. A nobody with no experience in his first preseason game. Dalton completed 11 of his 15 pass attempts. That is 73% if you don't have a calculator handy. Cedric Benson, the Bengal's starting running back ran 6 times for 37 yards. That is over 6 yards a carry. Neither of those stats are great.

Yet the fact remains, the Lions defense did only give up 3 points. They did not let Dalton complete a pass of more than 11 yards and the defense made plays when they needed to.

The Defensive Line was the same as last year. Constantly pressuring the QB on pass plays and sometimes making plays on the running game. The new Linebackers were not great but they were not horrible. It will take more time for that unit to learn to play together. The player who stood out to me was Amari Spievey.

Spievey was drafted as a cornerback then turned into a safety early on in the season last year. He looked completely out of his realm in most of the games last season and I was hard on him for everything, including his tackling. He very well may be the most improved player of the year and possibly has made one of the greatest jumps of improvement I have ever seen in a player from one year to the next.

Spievey was all over the field making plays and his ability to make open field tackles was impressive to say the least. At least a couple times he took the outside route on a ball carrier to force the player to cut back inside. When it looked like he had done his job to direct the runner back to the middle where others can get to him, he was still able to lunge sideways and wrap his arms around the players feet to take him down himself. Spievey took down players that were much larger than him with arm tackles. If he continues to play as he did in the first preseason game, the Lions might end up with the best safety tandem in the NFL.

Yes the Lions looked great. Yes they give us a reason to be excited. As hard as it may be to do so, I have to at least say, step back and look at one major point. After all, it was only against the Bengals. Let us see the Detroit Lions play strong against the Browns for two good games in a row before getting too excited. Let us see them handle the Patriots in the 3rd preseason game to show they can do the same to a good team first. Even then, keep in mind that this is only the preseason. Remember the last time the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason? Those four wins were their only wins the entire season. That shows how much a win means in the preseason.

Still, it is nice to feel hope when they play is it not? After so many losing seasons, this team gives us that fresh air to breathe and I plan on enjoying it.

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