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A Letter to Linehan

Mr. Linehan

Sometimes in life, we all find ourselves in situations where nothing is going how we expected them to. It is in those trials, when it becomes most important to put our pride aside and listen to what others have to say. Good advice can come from the most unlikeliest sources.

The Lions have supreme talent at QB and at receiver this year. The world expected the Lions offense to be explosive. Yet in the first two games, they have done hardly more than sputter. You have shown a desire to build a running game, and yet the running game has been well below average. I ask you, please put your pride away and listen to what I have to say. Nobody says you have to do what you are told, but it always helps to at least listen with an open ear.

It is obvious that todays NFL is a pass first NFL. However, that does not mean you have to set the team up to pass only. The best running backs in the NFL, even in todays game, still use a lead blocker. Why? Because todays linebackers and safeties are too fast and strong, and they fill holes too well. To have a consistant running game, it is imperative to use a lead blocker. Someone who leads the way into the holes the O-line creates, and blows the linebacker or safety out of the way. Without that, it is too often the case we see for the Lions where our running backs hit a hole and are stopped before they spring free.

Now I understand the Lions do not have a good Fullback on their roster. That does not mean they cant use the lead blocker. Why would it be so hard for someone like Pettigrew to line up as a TE as usual, then move inside to the FB spot to lead block a dozen plays a game? Even when he does shift over to the FB spot, he could still be sent out to catch passes or stay in to block. Would this not help the running game as well as add a new wrinkle for D-Coordinators to worry about?

A few other ideas....

Speaking of Brandon Pettigrew. As good as he is, why does he only catch short to medium route passes? Why is it so rare to see him force the defense back as he runs a deep route down the middle?

When the Lions were bad several years ago, they had one particular play that was very exciting and helped them a lot. All of the receivers would bunch together on the right side of the line. When the ball was snapped, they would all run out and break into different patterns. It was harder for coverage to double up one player, or prepare for how to beat it because nobody knew which receivers would break in which directions and secondaries had a tougher time defending it. With the talent the Lions have, would this not be yet another interesting wrinkle?

As I mentioned about the TE going deep, it makes me wonder, when was the last time we saw a RB run a deeper route? Why not send him through the line to run deep down the middle sometimes? Have him run a deeper post route now and then from the RB position.

I noticed that the most effective run play against the Lions seems to be the Wham play used by SF. I believe the same play was used by other teams against the Lions as well. This play has worked so well in fact, that Gunther Cunningham has not been able to counter it, even with a year to prepare. Can I ask why the Lions offense does not implement this play into their scheme?

All I am saying is that there are many other things an offense can do that can cause havoc for defensive coordinators. It takes a genius to invent things that nobody else has and make them work. It doesnt take more than average intelligence to look at what others do and see what works. But even the mentally challenged can continue to do something that is not working. Lose your pride, use your intelligence, and add some wrinkles into your offense that can mess with defensive coordinators minds.

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