A fast start on offense vs. the Patriots Thursday would ease some minds

Posted Aug 19, 2013

When asked Monday if the Lions' offense getting it going would help him sleep better, Jim Schwartz said yes ... but that it wasn't a prerequisite

During the dog days of the preseason – and mid-August qualifies – coaches are looking for peace of mind.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said he'll sleep a little better come the end of the week if his first-team offense gets it going against the New England Patriots in Thursday's tune-up for the regular season.

"It would help you sleep a little bit better for sure, but I don't think it's a prerequisite," Schwartz joked after practice Monday.

Thus far, the starters on offense have been less than stellar. Not to a point where Schwartz is having nightmares or anything, but it's not that deep sleep he's looking for.

In seven series over the first two games, the starting offense has run 39 plays for 151 yards (3.8 yards per play). They've had just six first downs and six points, while punting on five of those seven drives.

The final drive vs. Cleveland last week was more what Schwartz and Stafford are looking for this week. Stafford orchestrated a 14-play, 47-yard drive that took almost eight minutes off the clock and resulted in a field goal.

"It's important every game," Stafford said. "Every game you play you want to start fast. We didn't execute as well as we needed to last game, but we have another chance to go out and do it this week."

But even if they don't, Schwartz isn't about to hit the panic button on preseason performances.

"I don't want to go too far in the past, but when I was in Tennessee, you'd always watch Indianapolis every year and it seemed like they were always 0-4 in the preseason and they couldn't gain a yard on offense," he said. "Then every year they were the No. 1 offense in the NFL. We have some known qualities on offense; we have some unknowns.

"I think the more important thing is seeing how the unknowns fit in. One of the things that was particularly good last week was to see how Reggie (Bush) fit in and make plays."

Bush caught five passes for 44 yards and racked up 32 yards on the team's last 47-yard drive.

Stafford is getting more reps in practice this week as the team is simulating a regular season week and looked particularly crisp throwing the ball Monday. He says it's always the goal to start fast and it is important, but even if they don't again this week, he's still not going to worry.

"Anytime you step out on the field you want to put points up, there's no question about it," Stafford said. "But this is the time of year where we're still trying to gel and get better and we'll continue to do that throughout the season.

"You're always trying to get better. Hopefully you're not at your best Week 1. You're getting toward your best and peaking the end of the year. Playing well throughout, but (not peaking)."

Signs of life in the preseason would be good, though. Maybe even a touchdown from the starters for good measure.

"There's a lot of excuses I could give, but that's really not my thing," receiver Nate Burleson said, when asked about the slow starts by the offense the last two preseason games. "Let's just say this Thursday, we'll answer some of those questions."