The Detroit Lions Win A Low-Scoring Snoozer Against The Arizona Cardinals.
The Detroit Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday 17-3 in one of the most excruciatingly boring NFL games that I have watched in recent memory. Nothing seemed to click for either team, and it certainly seemed to be leaning more toward bad offense than good defense. It was a tough one to make it through, but there were a few things that I took away from the game.
Lions Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter still has to go. I think that most Lions fans were hoping to see the departure of Cooter after last week, but the Lions retained his services another week. At this point, it seems unlikely that the Lions make a move at offensive coordinator before the year is over, so the generic, predictable, lifeless offense may just be something that we are going to have to deal with for what is left of a lost season.
Safety Quandre Diggs is a lot of fun to watch. In a secondary that has really struggled to perform up to expectations this year, Diggs has consistently shined and looks to be a nice piece of the defense for the future. With the continuing struggles of cornerback Nevin Lawson, the disaster of a season from cornerback Teez Tabor, and the decline of safety Glover Quin, the Lions secondary will probably look very different next year, but Diggs looks like he will be a solid returning starter.
The Lions need weapons on offense. The defense has plenty of holes on it and probably is the top priority for the Lions in this upcoming offseason. That said, this offense needs weapons in the worst way. Yes, wide receiver Marvin Jones is hurt. Yes, running back Kerryon Johnson is hurt. This team cannot afford to be one injury away from being completely useless. That is what it is right now, useless. The Lions need a receiver who can separate. They need a running back that can handle some work in the absence of Johnson. They need a tight end that can find literally any way to contribute. The play calling has been bad all year, but at least to start the year there were some exciting plays. This offense is just hard to watch with the current personnel.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis had a really nice game on Sunday. He’s had his struggles throughout the year and didn’t show significant improvement from last year, but games like this give you hope that he can become a player that was worthy of the first round draft capital that GM Bob Quin spent on him. Tabor already looks like a lost pick, but there is still hope for Davis. Even if he never lives up to his draft slot, which he likely won’t, there is certainly hope that he can grow into a solid contributor that can support the defense consistently and not be a weakness to exploit. His play exceeded that level on Sunday.
Injuries. This isn’t much of a takeaway, but injuries happened. They will continue to happen. They always happen. This team is not built to weather the injury storm right now. It should be. Quinn has had plenty of time to bring in all of his guys and shape the roster the way that he wants. This team just doesn’t have depth in many places. It’s unrealistic to expect teams to have studs backing up studs, or have players that can jump in and perform at the same level as their starters, but they should be able to play. The Lions are not prepared to deal with injuries, and that is something that will need to be addressed in the offseason.
Running back Zach Zenner is more effective than LeGarrette Blount. This is shocking for me to say. I was really happy with the Blount signing at the beginning of the year, but it has become clear, time and time again, that Blount is not the same player that he used to be. He is simply ineffective and at this point is detrimental to the success of the offense. Zenner looked like he single-handedly breathed new life into the Lions rushing attack on Sunday. I still believe that Zenner seeing significant snaps is a sign of a failing offense, but he has certainly made his case for making the roster next year and perhaps, once again, carving himself out a role as a relief back.
The Lions are not going to be getting a top draft pick. Everyone has their own opinions on tanking, or whether they should be hoping a team wins or loses, but the reality of the matter is that what we want doesn’t matter and does not affect the outcome of games. Whether we hope they win or lose, the team is going to do what they do. After the victory over the Cardinals, the Lions will not be picking in a top spot and probably played themselves out of a top ten pick. For all the draft enthusiasts out there, it might be time to start looking at prospects in the 12-18 range, probably edge rushers, and secondary players.
The Lions are bad, but the Cardinals are worse. We can take comfort in the fact that, no matter how bad this season has been, the Cardinals are worse. That’s what I’m choosing to make my main takeaway from the victory on Sunday.