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Lions vs Titans: Pre-game

Well here we are, facing a good team that is not doing so well. A game between two underachieving teams.

I know it is hard to call the Lions underachievers when they are 1-1 and lost to a team that was expected to beat them, but its not who beat them, but how they beat them.  The 49ers did not do anything special to pull out a victory. The Lions simply played bad in every facet of the game. Now they face the Titans and I am not so sure things will get better.

One might expect the Lions to have a field day against the Titans right? After all, shouldn't the Fearsome Four be all over a rookie quarterback? Yet I look at the fact that the Lions have a history of making bad QBs look good. Average quarterbacks continuously complete a high percentage of their passes against the Lions secondary. So far, Jake Locker has completed 66% of his passes against the Patriots and Chargers. They may not have great defenses, but I seriously doubt their secondary is as bad as the Lions. Then again, Locker has only been sacked twice so far. If the Lions D-line can lay the lumber on the rookie a couple times early, maybe they can rattle his cage enough to make some bad passes. But then, dont we hope for that against all quarterbacks?

The fact is, the Lions should be able to beat this team. The Lions have a great D-line that should make Locker very uncomfortable. THey have the talent on offense to destroy defenses. LeShoure will make his debut, though I dont expect that to be as great as many fans do. The problem is, the Lions coaches seem to have no idea how to use the talent they have.

Linehan has one of the most talent passing teams in the NFL, and cant seem to get it going until the fourth quarter when teams play bend but dont break defense. Against a run stop defense in SF, he forced the run, over and over again, with an underpowered Center and no lead blocker. He continually calls short pass plays to the sidelines. In my opinion, he is just not a very good coordinator at all.

Cunningham shows a very vanilla defense. When he does blitz, he rarely hides it. He will show it a lot, than not blitz, but when he actually does blitz, he rarely disguises it. He uses very few stunts on the D-line and just never does anything different.  He had almost a year to find a way to counter the wham play that teams used against them last season to spring their RBs open so successfully. Yet SF used it again with ease and the Lions defense used the same formations and rushes they used last year.

As I pointed out last year, Schwartz has yet to show me he is a good In-Game coach. Sure he is great in the front office duties of the coaching job. He gets great talent to sign and knows talent. But in the game, he is far too often out-coached and I have yet to see him out right out-coach his opponent. Last week, with almost a full minute on the clock, Schwartz was satisfied to run the clock out and go into halftime, down by 8 points. With Staffords arm, and the abilities of these receivers to stretch the field, there is no reason to think they could not get within field goal range inside a minute. Maybe even score a touchdown. To run the clock out is a losers mentality. He was playing "not to fail" rather than to win!  Kneeling before the half is ridiculous. Throw a bomb for God's sakes! Just throw it up there and let the best receiver in the NFL out jump his competition for a completion. If they happen to intercept a deep hail mary, the odds of them returning it are extremely slim. Whoever catches it, is likely going to be tackled right away on that kind of play. But to be happy with running the clock out and not even use your superior talent is a losers mentality.

The Lions should be able to beat the Titans, and I am even going to predict they will. But it is no sure thing. With this coaching staff, and this scheme, I could not count any game a sure win.

Lions 23
Titans 20

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