Final Thoughts for the Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets:Rookie Jamal Agnew looking for a big return; Jets' talented D-line a test for O-line; What to look for on offense and defense; three things to carry over from last week, and three to eliminate.
Happy returns: Agnew would like to repeat what he did in the mock game at Ford Field two weeks ago when he broke a punt return 75-plus yards for a touchdown. It was one of the highlights of the mock game.
But patience is more than a virtue for a return man. It's a must, and Agnew doesn't want emotion to overrule making good decisions.
"Hopefully, I'll get an opportunity to show what I can do," Agnew said. "It's like coach (special teams coordinator Joe Marciano) always tells me: 'Let it come to you.'"
The message is clear: Don't risk a turnover by taking an unnecessary risk.
View photos of cornerback Jamal Agnew during the Detroit Lions training camp practice on Aug. 17, 2017.
Agnew did not get a good chance at a return in last week's win over the Colts. Out of five punts he had three fair catches, let one ball bounce at the one and got a seven-yard return when he had to field the ball on the bounce.
Head coach Jim Caldwell credited Agnew with a solid performance in the opener for catching the ball and making the correct decisions, but he doesn't want him taking risks.
"His job is to catch the ball, No. 1," Caldwell said. "Secure it and make the first guy miss. Then the guys have to get him started after that."
So what does Agnew envision if the right decision leads to an opportunity?
"I can do some things with it," he said. "I can't wait to show what I can do with the ball in my hands."
Jumbo Jets on D: The Lions' offensive line figures to face a tougher test than last week, when it allowed only one sack against the Colts while giving the three quarterbacks time to complete 23 of 35 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
The Jets have three young players in their front seven who were first-round draft picks and have made the Pro Bowl. Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson start on the three-man line, with Sheldon Richardson at outside linebacker.
The Jets had eight sacks in last week's scintillating (Not!!!) 7-3 win over the Titans. Williams, Wilkerson and Richardson played briefly, and Williams was the only one of the three with a sack. For however long they're in tonight's game, it will be a tough matchup.
Extend the offense: Expect more work for the No. 1 unit than last week, when it was four plays and out vs. the Colts.
It was a good start – driving from the 12 to midfield on two pass completions and a two-yard run – but it ended on an interception when Matthew Stafford's pass to Marvin Jones Jr. deflected off the receiver's hands to a Colts defender.
Stafford, Golden Tate, Jones and Abdullah did not play after the first possession. Based on their play time in last season's second preseason game, the No. 1 offense is likely to play three possessions, or about 20-25 snaps.
Defense – keep the clamps on: The Jets are as offensively challenged as the Colts were without Andrew Luck, and the Colts did not score a touchdown until the last play of the game. The Jets scored on a 53-yard TD pass against the Titans and did not threaten again.
Shutouts are hard to come by in the NFL at any time – preseason or regular season – but the Lions came close last week and should build on that performance. Something similar would be acceptable – especially with more playing time for the No. 1 defense.
Three things to carry over from last week: 1. Tempo on offense. It was a smooth operation going mostly without a huddle; 2. Kasey Redfern's punting – 48.4-yard gross, 44.6 net, 4 inside the 20; 3. No penalties in the first half.
Three things to improve on from last week: 1. Defense not getting a turnover. That was a weakness last year. 2. They're bad luck and nobody's fault, but losing Kerry Hyder Jr. and Brandon Copeland for the year hurts the defense. 3. Six penalties for 46 yards, all in the second half.