Q. Start with the outcome. It didn’t count in the standings, but what did it mean for the Lions to win their first preseason game?
A. I’m sticking with what I thought and wrote before the game. It was one of the few times that a preseason game had some meaning. It wasn’t win-or-else, and it doesn’t set up the Lions for a run to the NFC North title.
But after ending last season with an eight-game losing streak, the Lions get a little relief from winning a game – any game. At least they could talk about winning, not losing, after a game.
It won’t mean a thing by the opener against the Vikings on Sept. 8, but any relief, even temporary relief, is good for a team that had a long losing streak.
Q. There is a new look to the Lions this season, with the personnel changes they made in the offseason. Who made the biggest first impression?
A. It’s an easy choice.
Ziggy Ansah made the biggest first impression with an interception return for a touchdown. Ansah wasn’t in the game very long, because the first unit was on the bench early, but the play showed what the Lions saw to draft him fifth overall.
The Jets had first and 10 at their 21 on the fourth play of their first possession, and Mark Sanchez made a routine throw to his left. Ansah leaped, caught the ball at the 14 and ran into the end zone for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The coaching staff will look at the tapes and see how Ansah graded out in all areas, but that was a game-changing play. Sanchez made a comment to the effect of some athlete jumping through the roof to intercept the ball.
Ansah also had a tackle for loss. It was a good start, but just that – a start.
Q. What about Martin? Can a punter make a difference?
A. Yes, he can make a difference, especially if he combines a strong leg on kickoffs to go with his punting. Martin kicked off three times, and all three kickoffs went into the end zone for no return. That eliminates any problems covering kickoffs.
If Martin can kick off consistently in the regular season, and there is no reason he shouldn’t, it will take pressure off
Martin punted three times in the first half. Two punts were good – 54 and 46 yards for no return. Between those two he had a 31-yarder.
Martin can solve two problems with one leg – punts and kickoffs.
A. Obviously, he looked good throwing the Johnson, but he was a little off. He missed a throw early when
Q. What about Bush’s first game as a Lion?
A. He had the crowd roaring on his first carry by slipping a tackle in the backfield and jumping over another would-be tackler for a six-yard gain. He had two more carries, for minus three yards and a two-yard gain.
The six-yard gain is what the fans remember, and they should. There will be more plays like that, only longer.
Q. Aside from Ansah, evaluate the rookie class?
Q. Strategy: The Lions had fourth and one at the Jets’ 43 in the fourth quarter and went for it instead of punting. The Lions had a 23-17 lead. Right call by Coach Jim Schwartz?
A. I’m not sure it’s something the Lions would do on Thanksgiving Day against the Packers, but it was the right call in the fourth quarter of an exhibition game. And it led to a 50-yard field goal by
He won’t beat out David Akers, who made field goals from 35 and 47 yards, but Rugland has the ability to kick in the NFL.