Detroit Lions Late August Scouting Report
Game 2: Lions 16, Jets 6
Game 3: Patriots 30, Lions 28
QB: It was a sharp night for QB Matthew Stafford against the Jets. He was 8 of 10 for 84 yards and a TD. He looked to be in midseason form for the most part, playing easy pitch and catch. There was a near interception where he was getting pressured by a defensive lineman coming in low and let the ball go to protect himself as much as anything. That throw was a little off target and get tipped into the air but was dropped by the defender. The New England game was a little weird because before you could blink the Lions were behind 24-0 due to an assortment of errors, but eventually things settled down and Stafford led 2 TD drives. He did throw an interception on a play where he escaped the pocket to his left and tried to throw back across his body, the type of unconventional throw he can make, but the ball was tipped and got picked off. Stafford ends the preseason 25 of 35 for 310 yards, with 3 TD and 2 INT. There’s nothing to really change my opinion on Stafford, as I have pretty much felt all along that he is a low end 1 or high end 2 in most leagues, with a low ceiling but high floor. QB Jake Rudock continues to play well with the backups and looks like a functional NFL backup.
RB: The Lions couldn’t get much going on the ground against the Jets (31 carries for 82 yards?). RB Ameer Abdullah had 5 touches while he was in, and RB Theo Riddick sat out again as a precaution. RB Zach Zenner and RB Dwayne Washington still appeared to be next in line but neither did much good or bad against the Jets. Abdullah got a heavy workload for a preseason game against New England and produced 99 total yards with 13-60 on the ground and 3-39 receiving. He even caught a pass where he lined up wide and I want to use that to emphasize that Abdullah can catch. Don’t assume that just because Riddick is a PPR monster that Abdullah won’t be involved in the passing game. That couldn’t be further from the truth, and that’s part of the reason why I think Abdullah’s ADP is too low right now. Riddick did make a brief appearance against the Patriots but only had 1 carry and 1 target that was incomplete as it was tipped at the line (the tipped ball was not noted by the Lions TV broadcast). The appearance was brief but should mean he is good to go for the regular season. Zenner sat this game out so Washington got to do some serious damage with two second half TDs, one on the ground where he showed his power and one on a short pass where he made a man miss in the open field and showed his speed.
WR/TE: The Jets game was a strong showing from WR Marvin Jones, who caught 4 passes for 34 yards and a TD and this was with the starters exiting in the 2nd quarter. Jones followed up with a nice TD catch against the Patriots where he had 4 for 62, and nearly added to that with a circus catch on the sideline where he dragged the feet but juggled the ball slightly when he went to the ground. WR Golden Tate had 34 yards on 2 catches as his targets had more depth than Jones in the Jets game, which will not usually be the case. He added 5 for 62 against New England but lost a fumble. I’m getting the feeling that these guys could be equal fantasy producers this year, but Tate seems to be rated much higher than Jones. I like Tate but if you can get Jones late you’ll have a steal! WR Kenny Golladay has been very quiet after a big first game, but with the other backup WR T.J. Jones hurting his hamstring, Golladay could get more opportunities. I’m tapping the brakes on his hype train because this offense is designed to spread the ball around so much, and my gut tells me Stafford doesn’t quite trust him yet. TE Eric Ebron (hamstring) sat out both games and you have to wonder if this is going to linger into the season. At the very least he’ll be rusty when he returns. He is barely draftable right now.
K/DST: Speaking of midseason form, PK Matt Prater nailed a 50 yarder to ice the game against the Jets. He was 3 for 3 for the night but didn’t have any attempts against New England. He is a kicker that should get drafted. The Lions defense shut down the Jets but let’s be honest here. It was Christian Hackenberg and the Jets. The Lions defense actually had two chances at turnovers and couldn’t capitalize on either one. They must start generating more turnovers at some point. They got one interception against Tom Brady but were otherwise badly exposed by Brady while he was in there. Rookie LB Jarrad Davis struggled in coverage, but he did have 8 tackles. He’s the guy to target in IDP leagues. The Lions have now lost a third defensive lineman to IR, not to mention the two defensive linemen that have to serve suspensions to start the year, plus DE Ziggy Ansah is still on the PUP list. The Lions are going to have a lot of rookies in that defensive line rotation and it could get ugly. Do not draft the Lions defense.
Next up for the Lions will be the preseason finale against Buffalo, followed by the cut to 53 and the regular season opener against Arizona.
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