Friday, August 28, 2009

Manning Visit Not Exactly Recipe For Confidence Boost

There is an uneasy feeling for the Lions heading into their preseason game Saturday against Indianapolis at Ford Field.
Peyton Manning is coming to town. He will play a half because it is the third preseason game. And he has lit up the Lions’ defense like a pinball machine in the past.
If the Lions have made any improvement defensively, it is not noticeable. Their defense was awful in their first two preseason games. The fact they won the first preseason game late only masked just how bad they were defensively against Atlanta. If anything, it was worse last week at Cleveland.
Maybe Jim Schwartz can come up with a little something to derail Manning and the Colts - even if it is the preseason. He did see the Colts a couple times per year when he was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator. Running vanilla defenses is normally just fine in the preseason, but the Lions have to do something to gain cohesiveness and confidence defensively. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees posts numbers that are just as impressive as Peyton Manning, and literally toyed with the Lions’ defense last season. The Lions will face him in the regular season opener.
Everybody talks about the Lions run defense - and it is the major concern. But they have to start doing something to stop elite-level passers, too. With Brett Favre back in the NFC North, and the Bears acquiring Jay Cutler, more of a premium will be put on secondary play and the pass rush.
While the Lions’ run defense has been, as expected, dreadful in the preseason so far, their pass rush and secondary play hasn’t been any better, either. That part has been disappointing. Saturday will present the stiffest test so far. Doesn’t seem like the defense is up to passing it.

Random Thoughts

- Keep waiting for Aubrey Huff to break loose and pay dividends for the Tigers? Me, too.
But the odd part, it hasn’t really been needed. Huff has two singles and one RBI in 24 at bats since joining the Tigers. His batting average is .083 and his on-base percentage .154. Yet, the Tigers are 5-3 with Huff in the lineup.

- Team I expect to fall off the face of the earth this college football season: Purdue. There just isn’t a lot there. Not sure if Purdue will win a conference game this season.



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