You know I’m a dreamer, But my hearts of gold, I had to run away high, So I wouldn’t come home low…
Oh, sorry. After the beat down the Detroit Lions took on the road against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in preseason week 2, the 1985 power ballad by Motley Crue came to mind — Home Sweet Home.
The Lions will be hosting QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for a preseason week 3 regular season primer at 7:30pm EDT on Thursday, August 22, 2013 at Ford Field in Detroit.
The third preseason game in the NFL is usually the only preseason game coaching staffs game-plan for and the game that the starters see the most action in during the preseason. After they play the third game, coaching staffs begin game-planning for the regular season and week 1.
There are a few reasons teams don’t normally use the starters in the final preseason game. The coaches need to finalize the roster and want last looks at the backups in game action to help decide who to release and who to keep on the final 53 man roster. Another reason is to give the starters as much rest as possible so they go into week 1 fresh. If the starters played the majority of the final preseason game they would risk missing the first real game with minor injuries, but if they get injured in the third preseason game they will have more time to get healthy.
Tom Brady’s knee injury — the knee injury heard around the world — didn’t keep him sidelined for long. He returned to practice the next day and two days after the injury he completed 11 of 12 passes for 107 yards and a TD in two series of action during New England’s last preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Lions might be home sweet home, but they will be tested in every phase of the game against the Patriots and need to have a strong showing to build confidence after their embarrassing loss to the Browns. Players need to show they can be coached and learn from their mistakes. Coaches need to show they can respond to the previous rather ugly defeat and actually field a team ready to play.
It seems Detroit QB Matthew Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson, and RB Reggie Bush are pretty much the Lions version of Obi Wan Kenobi on offense — You know, our only hope — but most particularly Calvin Johnson. It is apparent from the Browns game that if Johnson isn’t playing there are no real offensive threats and the Lions are easily shut down. Vanilla offense is one thing, but poor execution, dropped passes, and mental mistakes are completely different. It is time for the offense to respond with solid contributions from starters as well as role players. Time to prove they want to continue to live their dreams of playing in the NFL.
Defensively the Lions will be facing arguably one of the best QBs to ever play the game and the back seven will need to bring their A games or this will be another embarrassing route. Newly acquired SS Glover Quin has looked like an absolute upgrade and LBs Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy have been solid, but S Chris Hope, S Don Carey, CB Bill Bentley and CB Ron Bartell have all struggled and looked basically pedestrian to horrible in coverage. Missed tackles and mental mistakes are plaguing the entire defense and neither LB Ashlee Palmer nor LB Tahir Whitehead are making a clear case why they should be awarded the final starting LB spot. This will be a chance for these players to step up and match their skills against a top flight QB and a high powered offense.
A win and confidence will be soaring. A loss and the starters on both sides of the ball might need to play the final preseason game after all in an attempt to plug the holes on a sinking ship.
Other Interesting Facts
The last time the Lions met the Patriots in the preseason (2011) Detroit won handily 34-10 at Ford Field
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick joined the Lions in 1976 as their assistant special teams coach before adding TEs and WRs to his coaching duties in 1977
Patriots QB Tom Brady and P Zoltan Mesko both went to the University of Michigan
Patriots rookies OL Chris McDonald and DT Anthony Rashad White both went to Michigan State
Patriots rookie LS Mike Zupancic went to Eastern Michigan
- Detroit Lions’ starters embarrassed in preseason loss to Cleveland Browns (mlive.com)
- Detroit Lions Recliner Report – Cleveland Browns (thesilverdomeblues.com)
- Lions @ Browns Preseason Week 2 (thesilverdomeblues.com)
- 10 Questions with Twentyman: After two preseason games what do the Lions need to work on? (detroitlions.com)
- Tom Brady Dominates First Quarter of Preseason Game Two (musketfire.com)