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30 Aug 2005

Every Play Doesn't Count: Week 3

By Michael David Smith, with notes from the FO staff

AFC

Baltimore

Chester Taylor is looking really good. With Jamal Lewis coming off a rough off-season, the Ravens would be making a wise move if they give Taylor more playing time, even at the expense of Lewis.

Buffalo

Is it time for the Bills to be worried about J.P. Losman? He had nine completions in 18 attempts against the Bears, but the truly worrisome number is his 82 yards. Four and a half yards per throw just isn't going to get the job done. The Bills have too much talent elsewhere on the field to sacrifice the season to the development of Losman, so they have to think seriously about getting Kelly Holcomb in there if Losman continues to struggle.

Constantin Ritzmann never got in a game last year for the Bills, but the second-year defensive end has looked good with four preseason sacks. He could be a good situational pass rusher for Buffalo.

The Bills used reserve tackle Jason Peters as an extra tight end frequently in their third preseason game. He lined up on the left side of the formation in a two-TE, two-back package. And while his primary job was to block for Willis McGahee, the 320-pounder ran some pass patterns, too. Peters played tight end at Arkansas, catching 21 passes for the Hogs in 2003.

Cincinnati

The Eagles absolutely destroyed the Bengals in every respect in their meeting. About the only good news for Cincinnati is that first-round pick David Pollack, still trying to learn the Marvin Lewis defense, had a sack.

Cleveland

Charlie Frye shows good presence, like knowing when to throw the ball away. You don't always see that from a rookie QB, especially one trying to make an impression with his few red zone snaps in the preseason.

Denver

Mike Shanahan made it very clear he was planning to cut Maurice Clarett, saying, "He has no idea what hard work means." Could a coach say anything more damning about a rookie's chances to make a team? With Mike Anderson clearly established as the starter, Tatum Bell proving last year he deserves to get carries, and Ron Dayne playing well in the preseason, Shanahan needs Clarett like he needs an invitation to Al Davis's birthday party.

Houston

Outside linebacker Antwan Peek has a very fast first step. He sacked Drew Bledsoe in one of the rare sacks that wasn't Bledsoe's fault -- Peek blew past Flozell Adams and got to Bledsoe almost instantly after the snap.

Indianapolis

Reggie Wayne needs to learn to protect the ball better. He was holding it in the wrong hand when the Broncos' Lenny Walls caught him from behind and knocked it loose.

Jacksonville

Chad Owens is tiny, but may have played his way onto the team as a return man. Also made some plays in the open field.

Kansas City

Eddie Kennison is 32, but he's as fast as ever. He's still a respectable No. 1 receiver, but the Chiefs don't have a No. 2.

New defensive end Carlos Hall pushed Walter Jones back into Shaun Alexander. That's an incredible feat, as Jones has one of the strongest drives in football.

Miami

Ronnie Brown did everything at Auburn -- he played fullback and slot receiver in addition to tailback – and it looks like Scott Linehan will use him that way as well in Miami. Ricky Williams is actually ahead of him on the depth chart right now, but he'll have the first four games of the regular season to prove that he should be the Dolphins' primary ballcarrier.

Stockar McDougle is struggling. He blamed the Lions' coaches for badmouthing him when few teams showed interest in him this off-season, but it now looks like he won't even start on the Dolphins' line, which could be one of the worst in football.

New England

The Pats just manhandled the Packers with a two-tight end set, running the ball left with some serious pull blocks from Ben Watson. That's a bit of a surprise, since Daniel Graham is considered a blocker while Watson is supposed to be more of a Dallas Clark-type.

New York Jets

Shaun Ellis has played surprisingly well this preseason for the Jets, and they very much need the help on their defensive line with Jason Ferguson in Dallas, John Abraham unsigned, and DeWayne Robertson hurting.

Oakland

Marques Tuiasosopo hasn't looked good. Kerry Collins is the unquestioned starter, but if he goes down the Raiders will have serious trouble getting the ball to Randy Moss and company. Third-round rookie Andrew Walter has missed time with an injured groin, but he still might end up becoming the No. 2 quarterback.

Pittsburgh

For the third consecutive preseason game, the Steelers first team offense couldn't muster a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger has continued to struggle throwing accurately down the field, but this seems to be more a function of poor decision making than faulty mechanics. The only bright spots on this unit have been the solid play of a revamped offensive line and the emergence of second year running back Willie Parker. And Pittsburgh will need both to stay healthy and continue to contribute now that Jerome Bettis has added his name to the list of players not likely to see the field in the Week 1 opener.

San Diego

Memo to Philip Rivers: If Drew Brees stays healthy, the preseason is your only chance to show anyone that you deserve to be a starting quarterback somewhere. Going 4-for-11 for 15 yards isn't the way to accomplish that.

Tennessee

The Titans offensive line is porous, and the receivers who have been starting in preseason (rookies Courtney Roby and Brandon Jones, along with top target Drew Bennett) aren't getting open downfield. Good luck, Steve McNair. McNair subsisted on a diet of screens and dump-offs against the Niners. The linemen don't sustain blocks in the passing game. Rookie Michael Roos doesn't appear to be ready, but the team has few other options at right tackle.

NFC

Arizona

Rookie running back J.J. Arrington had a 20-yard run that showed off his excellent speed, but overall he's done very little to suggest he deserves to be the Cardinals' starting running back. And he struggles at picking up the blitz, which is not a good thing when Kurt Warner is the quarterback he's protecting.

Atlanta

Michael Jenkins is looking good. The first-round receiver contributed on special teams but not on offense last year, but in this preseason he looks like he's ready to take the next step.

Carolina

Brad Hoover has never been much of a receiving threat, but he had five catches for 60 yards against the Browns. If Hoover becomes yet another weapon for the Panthers, that's yet another reason that the Panthers might be the biggest threat to the Eagles for NFC supremacy.

Chicago

If Kyle Orton can recognize blitzes at all, he's clearly the right choice as the starting quarterback. Chad Hutchinson has been nothing short of awful in the preseason. Orton lasted into the fourth round for a reason, and Bears fans shouldn't get their hopes up too much, but he's at least looked competent. Hutchinson has been a disaster.

Both Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson have looked good at running back, which makes it seem unlikely that Cedric Benson will make much of a contribution, at least early in the season. You don't take a guy fourth overall if you don't plan to get him some carries, but right now he doesn't look like he'll be playing a lot.

Dallas

Terrence Newman has always been a superb athlete. Now he seems to be improving his tackling and reading of quarterbacks. The Dallas defense has a lot of good young talent.

Detroit

A lot of media types have raved this off-season about what a bunch of talented players Matt Millen has brought together in Detroit. Where have they been in the preseason? Boss Bailey is supposed to be one of the fastest linebackers in the NFL. So how did the lumbering Brandon Manumaleuna run right past him on Monday night?

Green Bay

When the Packers had the ball, the Patriots constantly pressured Brett Favre, while Ahman Green went nowhere. The Pats even stopped Green for a three-yard loss when the Packers were in their six-linemen package, which worked very well for them the past two years when the Packers had six good linemen to put on the field at once. If this is the game where the starters play like it means something, Green Bay is in trouble.

Minnesota

The loss of C Matt Birk for much of the season hurts, but veteran Cory Withrow will be an adequate replacement. Withrow has started several games in the past and can make all of the line calls. Against the Chargers, he got adequate drive in the running game and didn't make any mistakes when pass blocking. Withrow's weaknesses are his size (he's only about 285 pounds) and his quickness when teams blitz up the middle. But teams are reluctant to blitz up the gut against Daunte Culpepper, who can easily escape the pressure.

New Orleans

Johnathan Sullivan had a sack against the Ravens and might finally be demonstrating that he's going to make a contribution to the Saints. When they drafted him they thought he was going to be the focal point of their entire defense. He's nothing close to that, but his play in the preseason so far has at least been competent.

New York Giants

Corey Webster really attacks the football. Stole a touchdown pass for an interception vs. the Jets.

Philadelphia

In case anyone forgot while we talked about all the other stuff, Terrell Owens is an incredible football player. He might pout and get teammates, coaches, and fans angry several times this season, but that's just something the Eagles will have to get used to. He's just too good not to keep around.

St. Louis

Steven Jackson is a stud. It's hard to understand how he fell to the 24th pick of last year's draft. What did Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson, and Cadillac Williams do a year later that made them Top 5 picks?

San Francisco

Many draft observers thought the 49ers had a potential steal in running back Frank Gore. It sure doesn't look that way so far, though. When you give a guy three straight carries from the 1-yard line, and after that the ball is on the 5-yard line, you know you're having some problems.

Seattle

Marcus Tubbs was disappointing as a rookie but looked good last weekend. Seattle needs an infusion of fresh blood on defense and Tubbs could be a big part of that.

Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay looked very vulnerable against the run vs. Miami, although Booger McFarland was out following a death in the family. They got pushed back at the point of attack, time and time again. Jermaine Phillips was the reason the Bucs released John Lynch last season, but had an uneven year. He has looked very solid this preseason. Like most Buc defenders, he's a sure tackler, and created a turnover with a thundering hit on Ronnie Brown.

Bob Griese is the local color commentator for Dolphins preseason games, which means he was calling a game that involved his own son when Tampa played Miami. He has always done a very evenhanded job in that capacity, going back to his days as the No. 1 analyst at ABC the year his son's Michigan team won the national championship.

Washington

Santana Moss had two long catches against the Steelers. The Redskins have to do something to stretch the field and let Clinton Portis face something other than eight-man fronts, and Moss is giving them some hope that they'll be able to.

Patrick Ramsey had another slow start to the preseason when he tossed an interception on the second series of the game against the Steelers. But this time, he rebounded, and ended the half with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to Chris Cooley. Clinton Portis also saw extended action for the first time this preseason and ran roughshod over a Steelers unit that finished fourth in total defense, according to DVOA. And when Portis tired, the Redskins ran Ladell Betts with just as much success. This game is a huge relief for Joe Gibbs, but now the question is can Washington consistently give this type of effort during the regular season?

"The Third Week of the Preseason Is the Week that Matters"

This is supposed to be the week that matters, the week where all the starters play most of the game and we really see how teams are going to play in the upcoming season. But are this week's blowouts really strong indicators of how the 2005 season will play out? If the following three games are any evidence, Packer and Lion fans shouldn't panic quite yet.

  • In Week 3 of the 2003 preseason, Washington demolished Baltimore 24-3. Washington finished 5-11, while the Ravens went 10-6.
  • In Week 3 of the 2002 preseason, Washington clobbered Tampa Bay 40-10. Washington finished 7-9, while Tampa Bay dominated the NFC all season and won the Super Bowl.
  • In Week 3 of the 2001 preseason, Tampa Bay smothered New England 20-3. Tampa Bay barely made the playoffs at 9-7, while the Patriots won the Super Bowl.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 30 Aug 2005

53 comments, Last at 04 Sep 2005, 11:29pm by Dcalla

Comments

1
by Wes M (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 1:32pm

Re: Steven Jackson

The only thing I can figure (other than teams claiming that they didn't need to draft a 1st round RB two years ago,) is that being a PAC 10 back (non-USC division,) and even worse an Oregon State back, played a factor. Stoopid "East Coast Bias." ;-)

Seriously, the folk who man the personnel positions are paid to not have bias', these guys look for talent at the NAIA level. There is no reason for S. Jackson to have been drafted as low as he was.

2
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 1:39pm

I see that Rohan Davey was released from the Patriots today, and Cassel was named the 3rd-string quarterback.

So now Cassel is backing up his 3rd Heisman winner - Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart...and now Doug Flutie. What a unique career he's had so far given that he only played what, 50-some-odd downs total in college.

I'm happy he made the team, and that he continued to persevere in the shadow of the Heisman winners at 'SC.

T.

3
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 2:05pm

Too late, Lions fans are already in full panic mode. And after last night, it's hard to blame them. On the plus side, it looks like there will not be a quarterback controversy in Detroit this year. In fact, more than a few fans think Garcia should be cut based on his preseason (lack of) performance.

4
by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 4:08pm

I know a lot of Lions fans. They are constantly in full panic mode. They know of no other mode.

5
by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 4:12pm

Yeah gibbs talked to alex gibbs about the stretch play and it worked well against the steelers. Seriously i'm glad the FO staff recognized the redskins were dominating the steelers especially the redskins defense, ramsay just f'd up and threw a interception for a touchdown, but other than that they got nothing.

6
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 4:20pm

Did you see those black jerseys? Lions' fans have every right to panic.

It's impossible to predict anything from the preseason, but if the Eagles really are as good as they looked against the Bengals the rest of the NFC might as well take the year off. Conversely, if the Bengals are that bad, Marvin Lewis might want to consider seppuku rather than face five more months of that.

7
by Aaron (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 4:54pm

Hey, I liked the black jerseys, and I don't normally like those alternate jerseys.

8
by Jere (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 5:30pm

"Rookie running back J.J. Arrington had a 20-yard run that showed off his excellent speed, but overall he’s done very little to suggest he deserves to be the Cardinals’ starting running back. And he struggles at picking up the blitz, which is not a good thing when Kurt Warner is the quarterback he’s protecting."

Isn't this a little hard on a rookie who is getting his first looks at other teams blitz schemes? Isn't that what exhibition games and further development is for? Shouldn't I not have ended that last sentence in a preposition? Will Dr. Z cut me for this infraction?
...

"Steven Jackson is a stud."

You know, there's something about calling ball players studs that just doesn't work for me. I rarely see it used in FO articles, so this stuck out. Whenever I see it, I think the guy should either be visiting a fluffer or supporting a roof.

9
by Dman (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 5:44pm

I'm a lions fan and I'm not panicking because it's not as if we're losing anything. Another crappy season wouldn't exactly be a shocker.

10
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 5:46pm

I also am a fan of the Lions' Alternate Jersey... It's not black on black...

As a Lion Fan, I'm not in panic mode...

After the Green Bay game...maybe...it's only preseason...

Okay, maybe I'm a little nervous, and my wife is keeping me away from any sharp objects, but other than that I'm fine...

11
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 5:53pm

I dislike the black jerseys for two reasons: one, they already introduced black into the "normal" home jerseys a few years ago, and two, the new jerseys take shelf/page space away from other jerseys, such as, say, a normal home Kevin Jones jersey, which seems to be difficult to find all of a sudden. (On a trip to Ann Arbor in July, I couldn't find one in the mall.)

The Lions were flat-out awful on Monday night. Jones had some good runs, and every now and then, when a ball accidentally came down near a receiver, they pulled in the passes well (actually, Harrington had one really good throw, but that was about it). Still, that sounds like my normal rationalization after a typical game.

If Orton turns out to be competent this year, and if Benson learns the offense in time (ha, but you never know), the only thing keeping the Lions out of the cellar will be if Favre's decline steepens and the Packers' offense collapses.

At least Hanson kicked a long FG. He'll be a nice backup for Akers on my fantasy team.

12
by Soulless Merchant of Fear (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:01pm

"Is it time for the Bills to be worried about J.P. Losman? He had nine completions in 18 attempts against the Bears, but the truly worrisome number is his 82 yards. Four and a half yards per throw just isn’t going to get the job done. The Bills have too much talent elsewhere on the field to sacrifice the season to the development of Losman..."

LA LA LA...oh, never mind.

My only comfort as a rabid Bills fan is that Losman hasn't thrown a pick yet. If he's a short-range dinky passer but doesn't throw a lot of pickles, it'll be painful but not the excruciating torture of Kyle Boller Part Deux.

It does bug that the rest of the Bills squad is primed for a Splendid Bowl run right when the QB situation is in such an unsettled and iffy state. Put a league-average QB in there and you've got major playoff potential. Put in an above-average QB and you've to a serious contender.

Put in J.P. Losman and you've got...

Who the crap knows?

Ah, well. I like DRAMA! Football is all about DRAMA! Losman guarantees DRAMA! [Cue old-skool NFL Films soundtrack of bongos and flutes]

13
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:01pm

Oh, and just to frighten Lions fans more, over in the Extra Points column, I did a little toy analysis comparing preseason point differentials to regular season point differentials (that is, if you lose to STL by 30 in the preseason, if you play them in the regular season, what's the point differential?) and it looks like there is a decent correlation between the two.

14
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:03pm

Re: #8
I've never been comfortable with the use of the term "fantasy stud." Since we're talking about on-field performance, I don't get why we use such sexualized lingo.

15
by Mark (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:30pm

The Lions' new jerseys make them look like an NFL Europe or CFL team.

16
by Mark (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:33pm

"Many draft observers thought the 49ers had a potential steal in running back Frank Gore. It sure doesn’t look that way so far, though. When you give a guy three straight carries from the 1-yard line, and after that the ball is on the 5-yard line, you know you’re having some problems."

I think the offensive line might be the problem for the 49ers, not Frank Gore. Besides, he's a rookie, and he's had knee problems.

17
by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:34pm

Is it time for the Bills to be worried about J.P. Losman? He had nine completions in 18 attempts against the Bears, but the truly worrisome number is his 82 yards. Four and a half yards per throw just isn’t going to get the job done. The Bills have too much talent elsewhere on the field to sacrifice the season to the development of Losman, so they have to think seriously about getting Kelly Holcomb in there if Losman continues to struggle.
If it makes the Bills fans out there feel any better, the Bears first team defense as been playing out of their minds so far.

18
by Maynard (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:38pm

My observation from the Monday night game was that Harrington was not overly bad. From what I saw the pass protection was non-existant and the pocket was collapsing almost instantly. He managed to use his feet and make a couple nice running throws, but he was also sacked numerous times.
Of course, I can remember a time when I was certain that New England's offensive line was the only thing keeping Drew Bledsoe out of the playoffs, yet as soon as Brady took over the line was more then adequate. Consequently, I try to avoid blame poor quarterbacking on the offensive line.

19
by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:43pm

I personally believe that Kelly Holcomb has a lot of upside this year. I could see him stepping in and leading that team somewhere this year. Goodness knows that almost anything would be an improvement over Drew. Holcomb just might be the suprise of the NFL this year.

20
by buddha (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 6:46pm

As a Lions fan, I am in full panic mode. (as opposed to the general, "they're the Lions, of course they're going to suck" mode). I thought they would be decent this season! I guess that was my first mistake.

That was one of the worst games I've ever seen that god forsaken franchise play. I KNOW it's only preseason, but it's the third game of preseason, a game they talked all week about prepping for, a game they game planned for, a game they used most of the playbook for...

And they looked like a pop warner team.

Sure they didn't have their two best defensive lineman, but that wouldn't have helped their linebackers tackle or their DBs actually be in the right position to make a play. That play on the seven yard line when Bulger just waltzed into the end zone was classic.

The offensive line couldn't block. The d-line couldn't tackle. The QB couldn't throw. I like the story out of Detroit this morning that they wanted to get Drummond in on some punt returns but they COULDN'T MAKE THE RAMS PUNT! As usual, the only bright spot was Jason Hansen.

Seriously, when is Mooch going to feel some heat? If they go 5-11 again this year, he should be fired. Stop running that stupid WCO and throw the fricking ball downfield to your THREE first round draft picks!

I hate this team. I love this team. I hate to love this team.

I thought they would challenge the Vikes for the division, now I'm thinking they'll be challenging the Bears and Packers for last place. 5-11 with this team. They're pitiful. And as much as it pains me to say it, the Bears and Packers are going to kill them in week 1 and 2. Just slaughter them.

It sucks to be a Lions' fan.

21
by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 7:10pm

Aw, buddah, it ain't so bad. There's always next year. ;^)

22
by Aaron (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 7:32pm

The Lions jerseys don't look like a CFL team or an NFL Europe team. It's when a team has the shoulders in one color and the rest of the shirt in a different color -- THAT's a CFL or NFL Europe team.

23
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 7:36pm

If it makes you feel any better, Green Bay looked utterly awful versus the Patriots.

24
by Will (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 8:41pm

The Greatest Show on Turf returns this season!! (Although it may be the 2000 version)

Eternally in Defense of Mike Martz...

25
by NYCowboy (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 9:22pm

DeMarcus Ware.

'Nuff said.

26
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 10:03pm

Black jerseys only work when your team colors are, well, black and something--e.g., Steelers black and gold or Raiders black and silver. When teams like the Lions or the Eagles show up in black jerseys, they look like poseurs. End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it indicator: if the Packers or the Cowboys adopt a black jersey, we're in trouble. I'm no fan of either franchise, but in this respect at least they've shown a little class.

27
by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 10:03pm

Strap yourself in Will, it's gonna be a fun season.

28
by Athelas (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 10:46pm

quote:
My observation from the Monday night game was that Harrington was not overly bad. From what I saw the pass protection was non-existant and the pocket was collapsing almost instantly. He managed to use his feet and make a couple nice running throws, but he was also sacked numerous times.
Of course, I can remember a time when I was certain that New England’s offensive line was the only thing keeping Drew Bledsoe out of the playoffs, yet as soon as Brady took over the line was more then adequate. Consequently, I try to avoid blame poor quarterbacking on the offensive line.

::Maynard — 8/30/2005 @ 5:38 pm

Gee, while we were watching the Lions Mon. night, my husband and I yelled out "Happy Feet" at the same time about Harrington (we have had a lot of practice watching Bledsoe).
But Hanson looks good. The only thing that looked good.
Poor Lions fans.

29
by Ruben (not verified) :: Tue, 08/30/2005 - 11:58pm

As a passive observer of the Lions for the a short while (4 years at UM can do that to you...Chad Henne for Heisman!), I've noticed that Hansen is the only consistent talent on that team (even Rogers the DL is up-and-down due to injury). Does anyone else here think Hansen might eventually pull a Barry Sanders, and jump ship in frustration?

As a child of the Desert, I remember Aneas Williams doing something similar after 9 long years in Sun Devil Stadium...

30
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 1:19am

Mark, you got confused -- it's not the Jerseys. It's just that the Lions look a lot like a CFL team.

J.P. Losman, as Bills fans are about to painfully discover, pretty much IS a poor (rich?) man's Kyle Boller. He won't be as bad as Boller is, I don't think, but I'd consider myself a lucky Bills fan if he turned out to be as good as, say, Jay Schroeder.

31
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:03am

I find it crazy that the author says Kennison is a respectable #1 receiver. On Many teams in the NFL he would be the #3, heck on the Colts he would be #4 on the depth chart. Granted with teams stacking the line to contain the Chief running game (or atlest trying to) combined with the attention that Gonzalez draws, the receivers can put up OK numbers. However, in no way is Kennison a respectable #1 or most likely even a good or decent #2

32
by jebmak (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:47am

Please, the Lions don't look like a CFL team. CFL teams complete passes and score points.

33
by Moe (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 5:54am

I know full well that preseasons are a mirage but....

Culpepper being a combined 28/33 for over 400 yds and no picks (only one TD however) has me feeling very optimistic about the Vikings O even with Birk being out for the season and the loss of Moss.

Like I said last year - if the Vikings D can just not suck they should be OK. Then they should be able to pass GB (then lose to Philadelphia).

34
by HLF (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 11:50am

Good thing WCF locked up Millen for another HALF DECADE before anyone could steal him away... the hire of the century, even by Lions' standards. (As an aside, could "even by Lions' standards" replace damning with faint praise in our vocabularies anytime soon?)

35
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 12:22pm

Re #31 -

I think you need to take a look at Kennison's numbers for last year. He's not Holt or Harrison, but he's a better #1 than, say, Moulds - and I'm a Bills fan.

36
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 12:22pm

I heard that Ford has "involuntarily seperated" 400 managers from thier jobs. I guess Millen wasn't one of them.

37
by zach (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 1:47pm

i agree that the story of the lions/bengals game was the lines. the lions' O and D lines were absolutely embarrassed. it doesn't matter how good your QB and WRs are when you can't get off a pass, and it doesn't matter how good your RBs are when the defense is in the backfield as soon as the ball is snapped. the lions' DBs did a respectable job, but all the bengals needed to do was hand off the ball and it would be an automatic 5, 6 yards.

if this is indicative of the way the lions' lines will play in the regular season, i propose that the NFL temporarily exempt the lions from its steroids policy, to at least make it interesting.

38
by zach (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 1:50pm

sorry, rams, not bengals. i'm still high on that eagles game, i guess.

39
by HLF (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 2:05pm

No apologetics, please, Harrington had time to throw, she just either pulled a Rob Johnson or clanged the ball with Mirer like accuracy into the ground. I'm tired of the endless apologetics for absurdly substandard NFL quarterbacking play. It's always the line's fault or the receiver's fault until you put in a competent NFL caliber QB; then those problems mysteriously stop being so critical.

40
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 2:59pm

Who woulda guessed so much discussion about the Lions? FWIW, I think Harrington has looked decent this preseason. Of course, he benefits hugely from the comparison with Garcia.

Another point, when the Rams offense is clicking (like it was Monday night) they can make any defense look terrible. I'm inclined to think the Lions won't be nearly as inept as this game made them seem.

Of course, if I'm wrong Millen and his contract extension are probably history.

Put me in the favorable camp regarding the new jerseys.

BTW, that line about the steroids was hilarious!

41
by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:02pm

I stand by what I said about Kennison. Is he the best receiver in the league? Of course not. I said he's "respectable" and he is. He's not great in the red zone or over the middle, but the Chiefs use Gonzalez and the running backs for that. He's a nice deep threat who still makes some big plays.

42
by HLF (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:18pm

Oh, and I HATED the new afl2 jerseys my Lions were wearing Monday night. I wish they'd switch full time to those Thanksgiving "throwback" jerseys -- they look tough in those. Regardless, the new ones are u-g-l-y and goofy.

43
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:20pm

I don't know if anyone remembers but there used to be the Eddie Kennison effect. Every time he would leave a team they would win more games the following year and IIRC make the playoffs. I remember this because he sucked on the Bears and we were all just waiting for the time he would be cut/leave and the Bears would be the benificiary of the effect.

44
by buddha (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 3:39pm

"Of course, if I’m wrong Millen and his contract extension are probably history."

Given the history of the Ford's, he'll get ANOTHER extension...

45
by MDS (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 5:09pm

When I wrote in Extra Points and the New York Sun about how bad a decision it was for the Lions to re-sign Millen, some people got on my case and said Millen had brought a lot of talent to Detroit. Where are those people? And more importantly, where is that talent?

46
by zach (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 5:23pm

re #39: i wasn't defending harrington in general. i agree he leaves a lot to be desired as a QB, and i agree it's not always the line's fault if a QB is struggling. i was talking about what i saw in that game specifically.

47
by buddha (not verified) :: Wed, 08/31/2005 - 8:00pm

"When I wrote in Extra Points and the New York Sun about how bad a decision it was for the Lions to re-sign Millen, some people got on my case and said Millen had brought a lot of talent to Detroit. Where are those people? And more importantly, where is that talent?"

We were duped. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled. We didn't land in Ford Field...Ford Field landed on us!

Guilty as charged. I take it all back. They stink.

Although I will say they have a lot of talent at the offensive skill positions. Kevin Jones is very good. But outside of their Shaun Rogers, their D-line stinks. James Hall is ok, but he's no world beater. Their linebackers can't tackle and are always out of position. They're cornerbacks are overpaid, undersized and can't tackle. They're safeties are always out of position (was Kennedy "good" in Denver?).

Their offensive line sucks. They haven't been a physical line since Millen took over. Heck, I haven't seen the Lions have a really good line on either side of the ball since Doug English and Bubba Baker.

Thanks MDS, now I'm depressed again.

BTW: Was that you on the SCORE with Murph?

48
by keivn (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 5:16pm

I find it hard to comprehend why ANYONE is defending Harrington's preseason play . . . are you watching the GAMES?? Who cares if you are 9 for 9 or almost perfect (as some announcers were saying during their first two games) . . . how many TDs did the first team score this preseason????? The OL has been leaky, but when Harrington had time, he always checked down . . . 3rd and 14?? no problem, I will throw a 5 yard out and HOPE that he gets 9 YAC . . . 3rd and 10?? Hey no problem, I see a guy open 3 yds downfield, I will throw it there . . . LOL . . . funny stuff . . .

49
by HLF (not verified) :: Thu, 09/01/2005 - 8:15pm

Amen, Brother Kevin. So sayeth Hopeless Lions Fan, so sayeth the Flock.

50
by Matt (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 1:48pm

It sounds like those stupid redneck jokes but, "You might have a bad run defense if... Mark Bulger is running for touchdowns against you."

51
by MDS (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 12:46pm

Yep, Buddha, that was me with Murph on The Score. He's an extremely nice guy. Being on his show is a blast.

The thing that kills me about that Bulger touchdown run is that Testaverde ran for a key first down on fourth and three last year against the Lions doing the exact same thing. Do they never learn? When two of the slowest players in the NFL are running right up the middle on you, does it occur to you that your defensive scheme has a big hole in it?

52
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 4:41pm

Last night I went to an actual preseason game. One of my best friends is a Colts fan, and got some free tickets to Indy at Cincy, and since I live right by Cincy now I got to go. Now I will of course never pay for a preseason game, and last night's was a perfect illustration of why.

The first projected starter for the Colts who stepped on the field? That would be the punter. I don't think a single projected starter ever got in on offense (not entirely sure about the line, but definitely the small guys were all on the bench), and not many more on defense ever got in, and even then only for a few plays. And even the backups didn't play Indy's normal gameplan - I only saw the zone stretch run three times, and they never ran play-action off of it, and the defense made the schemes at the Pro Bowl look complex. The Colts played the game with their alternate helmets, which instead of a horseshoe have a postage stamp on the side (normally reserve for week 17 vs. Denver, to guarantee they get to stomp them in the playoffs the next week). We were openly wondering how much less they would have to try before the NFL would fine them.

The Bengals, on the other hand, played their first-string offense for most of the first half, and their defense had some starters playing in the fourth quarter. Oddly enough, the final was 38-0. If I was a Colts fan, I'd be real worried - if they suffer 20+ major injuries, and call plays using the Madden "suggest a play" method, they're in for a long year. I wouldn't read too much into the game for the Bengals either - against a team like that, I'd hope they could dominate 38-0 (which means they should beat Cleveland by about 50).

I was amazed by several things though. First, the stadium was pretty much packed. I knew the season-ticket areas would be full (since you have to take those tickets to get the real games), but I was surprised by how many people actually payed for just that game. Wow. The NFL has some serious drawing power, if even their phony games are sellouts.

I was even more amazed at how seriously into the game people were getting. I mean, how excited can you get when your team's best scores against the opponent's backups who aren't even trying all that hard? Yet there were standing O's, loud crazy cheering, even some taunting. I guess when you haven't been to the playoffs in 15 years and spent over a decade as an absolute laughingstock (and the Reds suck ass too), you actually get excited about these things. No need to save any enthusiasm until January, I guess.

Amazing insight repeated by numerous Bengals fans - "wow, if Manning gets hurt, these guys are in big trouble!" First off, really? You think? There's a drop-off from Manning to his backup? Wow! You figure that out all by yourself? Who ever would have thought?

Still, if these fans had any knowledge of the Colts at all, they wouldn't be so quick to judge. It's not like they were running their full team, except subbing Sorgi for Manning. Highly visible on the bench were Harrison, Wayne, Stokely, James, Clark, the starting line... Even the offensive coordinator took the night off. They were one injury away from getting volunteers from the stands to go in, and were drawing up plays using electric football (OK, you spin around four times then fall over...). Losing Manning would definitely hurt, a lot, but they wouldn't exactly become the Browns if it happened.

This is way too much writing about a completely meaningless game. I'm done.

53
by Dcalla (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 11:29pm

Not completely meaningless.

Craig Krenzel - not cut.