What a difference a year makes for Detroit Lions special teams.
Last year, the Lions ranked near the bottom of the league in punting, touchbacks on kickoffs and covering kicks.
One preseason game is certainly a small sample size, but those units certainly passed the eyeball test, especially the kicking portion.
"Yeah, much improved punt game," Schwartz said. "Very good hang time by both Blake and Sam. Coverage sort of went hand-in-hand with that. It's a lot easier to cover when they're hitting the roof with those punts."
Martin and kicker
"Even when they brought them out, some of them on Havard in the second half, his hang time was good enough, it gave guys time to get down there and cover," Schwartz said.
"We were at the bottom in just about every kickoff category last year from kicking, touchbacks and depth and things like that. Same thing with the punter. It looks like we'll be much improved in both of those positions."
The offense struggled at times last year to finish drives inside the 30-yard line. The Lions converted touchdowns 45 percent of the time they crossed the opponents 30-yard line last season, which ranked 16th in the NFL.
Their passer rating in those situations was 88.8, ranking 24th.
"You want to finish those with touchdowns," said quarterback
"I feel we moved the ball great from the time we got the ball to the end of the drive then just kind of stalled out. Whether it be a missed throw or a good defensive play, or whatever it was, it was something we have to work on. It's something that you get better at as you keep playing."
The defensive line has been retooled this offseason and the first test drive seemed to be a success.
Rookie defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and
"We always want to be a defense that's disruptive and one that obviously gets the ball back to the offense," Suh said. "That's how we want to be aggressive, make plays and be able to get our offense the ball back."
One of the biggest question marks heading into this new season has been the offensive line. With three new starters upfront, how would the new faces gel and how quickly would that take?
The Jets and their attacking 46 defense was a good opponent to get a dry run against.
"You never get a free pass when you play Rex Ryan and the Jets," Schwartz said. "I mean their 46 defense and four weak and all kinds of blitzes and stuff like that.
"Quarterbacks had to hang in there, offensive line had to do a good job. We took a couple sacks, quarterbacks had to move around a little bit, but I think we held our own on the offensive line."
"They lined up all over the place and brought a lot of blitzes," Stafford said of the Jets defense.
"Sometimes when you have new guys upfront, communication is tough. A key component to us playing well tonight was how well they played upfront. I thought we ran the ball well against a lot of bad looks to run the ball against."
When it came to throwing the ball, the line kept most of the quarterbacks clean.
The running part was so-so. The Lions averaged only 3.0 yards per carry on 27 attempts. But when it came to pass protection, Lion quarterbacks were sacked only twice and hit three times.
Not a bad first game for the big fellas.