Tim: I’m ready for football to mean something. I’m ready to start seeing the Lions smack somebody else in the mouth a little bit for a change.
The best part about the regular season is the scheming and game planning that goes into it - the chess game between coaches. They work all week for a 60-minute showcase on Sunday. Who’s the better chess player? It should be interesting this week with teacher vs. pupil in Jeff Fisher and Jim Schwartz.
Mike: Schwartz wouldn’t bite when he was asked about that matchup this week. He gave his standard answer – the Lions are playing the Rams, not the coaches playing each other. But it’s always special to have a rivalry against a good friend.
But shouldn’t Schwartz have the edge over Fisher? The Rams were 2-14 last year, and Fisher was hired as the front office cleaned house.
Tim: He should on paper, but that’s why they play the game. It’s the same reason you don’t see a whole lot of people living off betting slips at the casino. You never know.
The Lions are a better all-around team, no question about it. I expect the Rams to show they are much better than last year’s 2-14 record. Sam Bradford is going to be better and Steven Jackson has averaged 114 yards rushing in three career games against the Lions.
That being said, the Lions should win by at least a touchdown if they take care of business.
That will be made a lot easier if the Lions have safety
Mike: Hey, knock off the casino cracks. I like going there.
The Rams have Sam Bradford back at quarterback, and that should be a concern. He played well as a rookie but missed most of last season. He has a quick, accurate arm, and if he hits receivers in stride and they break tackles, the result could be a quick score or two. That changes the game.
Penalties are another issue. Not necessarily the total, but keeping drives alive with late hits on the quarterback and jumping offside. Both can be killers.
Good point on Houston and Delmas. You expect them back?
Tim: It’s still up in the air at this point but I’d be surprised if at least one of them wasn’t back Sunday. Houston looked pretty good yesterday jogging away from the media in the locker room. He wasn’t dodging questions, just in a hurry to get to a mandatory team weight lifting session. I think he would have beat me in the 40-yard dash by the looks of it – bum ankle and all.
Delmas has been on a steady progression back and has begun working out. That’s a good sign. He has to get on the practice field Wednesday, Thursday or Friday in order to get the nod Sunday, according to Schwartz.
I think both players are getting closer and the next three days are crucial for both.
Enough about the defense though, Mike, everybody knows the offense sells tickets. The Lions offense seems to have hit the ground running from the very start of training camp. Do you expect a big week from No. 9 and Co.?
Mike: I have to disagree with one thing about the offense. I’d say they’ve hit the ground passing, not running. But that’s not a bad thing. The strength of the offense and the team is the passing attack. It has to be sharp, and it will be. The concern about the running game is overstated and overrated.
How can anyone think it’s a bad thing if a running back gets stopped for a yard or two and Stafford has to throw the ball to
Someday, a witty defensive coordinator will find a way to give up just enough yards against the run to make a team think it really can run and go away from its strength.
You think I have a future in coaching?
Tim: Don’t quit your day job, let’s put it that way.
You make a really good point about the run game, though. Schwartz said today in an interview with “Karsh and Anderson” on 97.1 that he didn’t care how the ball crossed the goal line as long as long as it crossed it. He's right. He even used the line he’s used with the local media, when he said: “You don’t get any extra points for a rushing touchdown vs. a passing touchdown.”
The Lions are a passing team and will always be a passing team as long as
What do you think?
Mike: I think you’re right about keeping my day job. Besides, the hours are too long in coaching.
Leshoure can be a solid, productive player, but probably not a game-breaker. He has a good future in Detroit.
Enough strategy talk. You picked the Lions to go 10-6. My pick is 11-5.
I like the Lions to get it started Sunday: 30-13.
Agree or disagree?
Tim: We definitely agree on this week.
I think it’s one touchdown closer at 31-21, but the Lions start the year 1-0.