Lions vs Raiders Review: Detroit’s Defensive Line Shows Weakness

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The Detroit Lions Kicked Off Their 2018 Preseason Against The Oakland Raiders, How Did It Go? 

No more talk folks, it’s time to see what this team is all about. While this was the first preseason game of the year, and the regular season doesn’t start until September, football was underway last night in Oakland. This is where players who are looking to make the team show their presence and prove their worth. This is where rookies showcase why they were a first round pick, or to show that being a seventh-rounder left a chip on their shoulder.

Overall, the time for football is upon us and the wait-and-see game is over now. The Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders were two of the last six teams to start their preseason and now that the wait was over, it is time to see how it all went down last night.

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No Matt Stafford this week as head coach Matt Patricia went with the other Matt, Matt Cassel to start the game. Overall Cassell did average, going 10/18 for 81 yards as he would come back in the final two minutes and try and lead the team to a comeback, but ended up fumbling the football. Jake Rudock would come in the second quarter and play up until the final two minutes, going 12/19 for 84  yards. Both quarterbacks looked questionable and rough if Stafford ever goes down.

LeGarrette Blount got the start at running back and did well with five carries for 21 yards. Rookie Kerryon Johnson started off with a solid 12-yard run and would finish with seven carries for 34 yards. Ameer Abdullah looked impressive too, getting four carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. Abdullah looked improved and fighting for a roster spot and playing time. Zach Zenner had two carries for three yards

Golden Tate got the first catch of the game and would leave after he took a helmet to the knee. If it was a meaningful game he would have stayed in, but since it is the preseason, he got the rest of the night off. TJ Jones had two catches for 14 yards. Tight end Hakeem Valles had two catches for 26 yards and looked like the best out of the tight ends. Johnson joined the receiving game as well, getting four catches for 33 yards. Brandon Powell had the most receiving yards, getting five catches for 34 yards.

The offensive line started without T.J. Lang as Joe Dahl would replace him as the starter and Dahl struggled against the Raiders defensive line overall. First-round pick Frank Ragnow impressed with his strength and played well in the first half. Fifth-round pick Tyrell Crosby looked well also.

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Not a good night for the defensive line. There wasn’t much pressure given by them on either quarterback and the running game was able to get some nice holes on this defensive line. Anthony Zettel looked like the best defensive lineman out there with four tackles. The Lions overall allowed 130 rushing yards, a struggle that continues on from last season. No sacks and only one tackle for loss, that came late in the fourth quarter, just poor performance overall.

Linebackers weren’t their best either, letting tight ends and running back getting six catches for 66 yards. Jalen Reeves-Maybin showed some flashing plays where he looked solid in coverage and tackling, then other poor ones where he was exposed, but he finished with three tackles and a pass deflection.

The secondary that was dominant in camp with the Raiders, struggled to contain the wide receivers. Cornerback DeShawn Shead was everywhere on the field and tried to get involved with everything, finishing the game with six tackles. Safety Rolan Milligan finished with a team-leading eight tackles.

Special Teams saw Abdullah start at punt and kick return, getting two yards total. Matt Prater only kicked the extra point, but punter Ryan Santoso kicked the field goal from 24 yards out. Punting was a close battle as Sam Martin had four punts for 195 yards, while Santoso had three for 154 yards, with a better average than Martin, 51.3 to 48.8.

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Preseason Week 1: What It Means

Take this game with a grain of salt. This is the first game of the overall season and things will be rough and both offense and defense run vanilla type of plays. While the positives are nice, you can’t buy into the hype too much. While the negatives are bad, they could always turn around for the better.

No Matt Stafford tonight and it just means we have to wait another week to see our starting quarterback. It was interesting that Patricia didn’t let Stafford play at least one drive, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

Preseason Week 1: What To Think About

The defensive line is going to have some issues. Even with Ziggy Ansah in there, there isn’t much help overall. The Lions knew coming into 2018 that the defensive line would be the weakest part of the team. It seems that unless the Lions can make a trade or sign a free agent, this defensive line won’t see any improvement until next season when they draft a defensive end in the first round.

There were 17 penalties in the game, which just shows that this is the first game of the preseason. Both teams need to improve on discipline, but they shouldn’t have any issues with that. Detroit has had issues with penalties in the past and as per usual, the first game is always rough in that department.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and leave me your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp
Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.