Final thoughts waiting for the kickoff of Saturday night’s Lions-Browns preseason game, featuring the Johnny Manziel Traveling Circus, at Ford Field:
Even the untrained eye – or the slightly trained one at least – should be able to notice a change in the Lions’ offense.
“I would think so,” Stafford said. “For sure, I think it’ll look different to people.”
The change isn’t only cosmetic. The object is to get better matchups for both the passing and running games.
“We’re going to make it tougher on teams to understand where guys are going to line up – what their splits are going to be -- if there’s going to be motion or not. On the outside, it helps guys with releases, and in the run game, it helps with angles.”
However, expect to see a small fraction of what the Lions will run against the Giants in the regular-season opener.
“It’s preseason,” Stafford said. “We’re not going to go out there and unload the playbook.”
Six things to watch:
Ebron returned to practice on Friday after missing two days with an unspecified injury. He went through a full practice, without pads, on Friday. There are high expectations that Ebron can create matchup problems for defenses who have to decide whether to cover him like he’s a wide receiver or a tight end. He has the ability to beat both.
3. Running backs:
4. Blitz: New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has promised a defense that will attack more. That means more blitzes from a unit that has been reliant on its front four to get to the quarterback.
This should be an opportunity for rookie linebacker
5. Offensive line:
6. Johnny Manziel: No doubt, the curiosity index for the Browns’ rookie quarterback is off the chart. A large contingent of national media was present for the game, and Johnny Football was the attraction.
Brian Hoyer deserved the starting job, but in the eyes of most fans, his role is like being the warm-up act for the Beatles.
The show starts when Manziel takes over, probably sometime in the second quarter.