Lions-Giants Final Thoughts: Rookie runner Kerryon Johnson does and says the right things, with a teammate's view; showtime not a focus for head coach Matt Patricia; Pass rush needs to ramp up, regardless of whether Ziggy Ansah plays; Random thoughts – Stafford's snaps, O-line shuffle, looking for clues in the kicking game and a better start needed for the Lions.
On the run: Kerryon Johnson was impressive with what he did on the field in his preseason debut in last week's road loss to the Oakland Raiders. He showed that he can be a key part of what should be an upgrade of the running game.
Johnson also was impressive with what he said before departing the stadium. He was looking ahead to the next game.
The Lions' second-round pick rushed for 34 yards on seven carries, with a long run of 13 yards. He also had four catches for 33 yards with a long reception of 19 yards. His most spectacular play was a 57-yard run that was reduced to a two-yard gain because of a holding penalty.
Before he left the locker room he was asked how he felt about doing it the next week against the Giants at Ford Field.
"It was fun; I'm looking forward to hearing our crowd now," he said. "It's one thing to be cheered against. It's another thing to be cheered for."
Players are fans of what their teammates do, and Kenny Golladay, who's primed to add to the receiving corps in his second season, was excited by what he saw in Johnson.
"He went out there and played real good," Golladay said. "At the same time, that was the first preseason game. I know he's not going to be stuck on that one game. He's going to keep working, keep pushing.
"The fans are ready to see everybody nowadays. They should be excited. He has a lot of talent. He shows it. That game, he showed a lot of balance, a lot of speed. I'm excited for him.
"I feel like this coaching staff's pretty much excited for him."
Head coach's view: Matt Patricia's reaction was predictable when asked if there might be any temptation to showcase Johnson for the benefit of the fans.
"I think the big thing for us will be – for all of the players – to just get better than they did last week," he said. "I think, hopefully, all of us can improve a little there."
Bottom line: It's not showtime in the preseason. The real show starts Sept. 10 – the regular-season opener against the Jets on Monday Night TV at Ford Field.
Rush to judgment: It's not a news flash that Ziggy Ansah makes an impact in the pass rush. He did not play last week, and the Lions had no sacks and just one quarterback hit on 29 drop backs by three Raiders quarterbacks.
Ansah had three sacks against the Giants in Game 2 of the regular season last year. If he plays tonight – and that's not a certainty – don't expect three sacks in Game 2 of the preseason.
Whenever he's in there, it looks like Ansah will move around on the defensive line to take advantage of mismatches with his physical dimensions and elite athletic ability.
"He's a really long guy," Patricia said. "He's very strong, and he has a real quickness about him too. When you can match him up against different offensive linemen across the board, you can get some advantages there."
On Matthew Stafford: After not playing in the Patriots' first preseason game last year, Tom Brady played 16 of 76 offensive snaps in Game 2. Brady also did not play in the Patriots' first game this year.
What does that mean for Stafford tonight, after not playing in the opener? Probably nothing.
Patricia no doubt is influenced by his experience with the Patriots, but he's his own man with his own plan. I'd guess, but wouldn't bet, that Stafford gets some snaps tonight. Some. Not many.
On O-line rotation: The interior rotation – center and guard -- is something to watch as the Lions prepare to adjust the best way possible when injuries strike.
Frank Ragnow could get some snaps at center tonight in addition to left guard, his regular position since the Lions' drafted him in the first round. Ragnow played center at Arkansas and practiced at center Wednesday when Graham Glasgow was limited by a leg injury sustained on Tuesday.
Glasgow and Ragnow were at their regular spots on Thursday.
On kickoff rules: This is another week to speculate which side – returns or coverage – will benefit more from the rules changes on kickoffs.
There is more space for the returners, which puts a premium on speed vs. size. Countering that is strategy on kickoffs – boom it deep or drop the ball in open spots for the coverage units to beat the blockers to the return man.
Charting kickoffs isn't the most exciting exercise in the world, but one slip can win or lose a game.
Just for starters: This doesn't mean players, but how the Lions start the game. It took them a quarter to get into it last week.
They gained only one first down in the first quarter, and caught a break when a 60-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch on the third play of the game was called back on a holding penalty. They were down, 10-0, in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
They have to do better tonight. It would be hard not to.