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Wednesday Breakfast with Tim and Mike: Is all well after Sunday's win?

Posted Oct 31, 2012

Tim and Mike discuss whether the Lions win over Seattle kick-started a streak.

Is everything all well again in Allen Park after Sunday's victory?

Tim: I'll never say things are all well when the record remains below .500, but Sunday was a big win, all right. Not just because it improved their record to 3-4 and got them one win away from .500 -- which was an early goal after their bad start -- but it was a game that quarterback Matthew Stafford needed, too.

The confidence in his ability was never lacking, but it's always nice to get reassurance that what you're working on in practice and what you're scheming in the classroom translates to field.

That hasn't been the case a lot of the time this year. Things seemed to come together for both Stafford and the offense this week. He put on a clinic during that final 16-play drive and I don't think there should be any more debate that he's the franchise.

Sunday's win was the first notch in an important three-game stretch with the Jaguars and Vikings up next on the road.

Mike: All's well that ends well, and the journey hasn't ended.

What the Lions have to do is something that has been lacking all season, and that is stacking good performances on top of each other. That isn't just game-to-game, but series-to-series and quarter-to-quarter in games.

The immediate schedule is set for them to get to 5-4, with the Jaguars this week and the Vikings next week.

They should go to Jacksonville Sunday with the intention of not letting the Jaguars take a deep breath all day.

Is this the performance the offense needed for a kick-start the rest of the season?

Tim: Mike with a Shakespeare reference answering that last one. Strong effort.

As for the offense, they’ve been preaching all season that they needed other players to step up and take advantage of some one-on-one matchups against looks they were seeing. They received that help from a number of different guys Sunday.

Receiver Titus Young stepped to the plate with a 100-yard, two-touchdown performance. Tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler combined for 11 catches for 120 yards. Receiver Ryan Broyles had a touchdown in his second consecutive game.

The Seahawks played more single-high safety than the Lions have seen all season, but they also played some two-deep and rolled coverage over to Calvin Johnson. The Lions made them pay for it. It’s what they’ve been waiting for.

If they get some gash runs mixed in there, they’re really onto something.

Mike: Like Jim Schwartz said, it was the best game of the season for the offense, and it was accomplished against a good defense. Don't forget to include what Brandon Pettigrew did, either. It was his best game in a month, and it came at the right time. He could catch a hundred passes a year in this offense.

After a flurry of defensive penalties, the Lions settled down and had only five for the game.  Was that a good sign?

Tim: I’ve never seen defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham that animated on the sideline. He got the whole defense together on the sideline after that first defensive series and laid into them after having five penalties (two were declined) on that first series.

Cunningham obviously got through to them and that was good to see. They didn’t jump offside the rest of the game. It shows they can play disciplined.

Mike: I'm in the minority, but I’ve never gotten weirded out by a team's total penalties. It's the big ones that count -- offside on 3rd-and-1, defensive holding on 3rd-and-long. There isn't a real correlation between winning and total penalties.

Discipline on the field means executing assignments correctly. Much better to have a lineman jump offside and give up five yards than have a player blow a coverage and give up a touchdown or a long gain on third down.

Big question: does Louis Delmas return to the healing environment of his home state of Florida and play Sunday?

Tim: Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said he was day-to-day during Monday's presser, but I’d be very surprised if he plays Sunday. When you start talking about an injury to the same knee that was surgically repaired a little over two months ago, that’s a red flag in my book.

I'm no doctor, but it’s probably something he’ll have to deal with the rest of this season and I’d take the cautious approach and sit him this week and give him two weeks rest. They’ll need him for the stretch run.

Mike: I'm disappointed to learn that you aren't a doctor. Someone needs to cure the headache I got from gritting my teeth waiting for the Tigers to score runs in the World Series.

But the Lions took care of the scoring load downtown Sunday.

No disagreement about needing Delmas for the stretch run -- except for the timing. It started early because of the 2-4 start and two blown games with the Titans and Vikings.

The stretch run is on, and Delmas is one of their best horses. He'll be missed, even for one play, let alone a game.

What do you make of the trade with Jacksonville for wide receiver Mike Thomas?

Tim: It's not a bad move for depth. Thomas had 48, 66 and 44 catches in his three seasons in the league. He plays primarily in the slot, but can also play outside and return punts. If you look at the Lions right now they only have one true slot receiver on the roster in Ryan Broyles.

He's been the Jaguars' primary punt returner since they took him in the fourth round in 2009. It just so happens the Lions face the Jaguars this week, and Thomas might be able to give them a leg up on their preparation.

Mike: It looks like a depth move to me, with the possibility that Thomas can help on the return game. He has more experience on punt returns than kickoffs, and there is more of a premium on punts because of the kickoff rules that have reduced the number of kickoffs.

It's a move to add depth in the slot, where there is nobody behind Titus Young and Ryan Broyles.

It doesn't hurt that the Lions play at Jacksonville Sunday. The coaches will pick Thomas' brain for any tips, although it should be obvious. The Jags are 1-6 and have the worst offense in the league.

I can tell them that.

I just did, in fact.

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