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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Tony Romo

11/2011 Football Talk: The Detroit Lions

November 26th 2011 17:33
To me, the Lions as a team are really just like their quarterback; average and overrated. Matthew Stafford is about a league-average quarterback, and he makes a ton of mistakes because he forces throws and trusts in his ability too much. That's not to say he is a bad player, but he gets bailed out a ton by Calvin Johnson. Megatron is so talented that he is basically carrying an offense with help from Stafford. The rest of the skill position players aren't that good, although Brandon Pettigrew and Kevin Smith are about average for their positions. Nate Burleson doesn't scare anybody, but he is about an average receiver as well.

The biggest problem on offense for the Lions is their offensive line. Their line doesn't stink, but it is too inconsistent and gets manhandled when facing a dominant player. The reason being is that they don't have a top 15 player at any position on the line and can't take on the elite players on the other side of the ball and win those respective one-on-one matchups. Their blocking is subpar for the most part, and they really don't get it done as a run blocking unit. However, they are actually an average bunch in pass protection.

The defensive line is amazing and is about seven-deep. I think that's all I need to say about that unit. Stephen Tulloch and Justin Durant have provided major upgrades at linebacker; a position of immense weakness last season. Tulloch and Durant are two of the best linebackers in the league against the run, but Durant is a classic two-down linebacker who is absolutely awful in pass coverage. Tulloch was almost as bad in coverage in 2010, but he has made an unprecedented 180 in coverage this season.

The biggest area of weakness on this roster lies within arguably the most important unit for a team; the secondary. Aside from the much-improved Chris Houston, nobody else in the secondary can cover. Guys like Eric Wright and Chris Harris are excellent in run-support, but only Houston can legitimately claim to be above-average in coverage. While he isn't the greatest corner in the world and was poor last year, he can now hold is own in coverage and is really just a good No. 2 corner. The Lions need some help in the secondary.

Really, the Lions are an average team who are about 7-9 or 8-8 talent wise. They have a decent passing offense, a subpar running game, a great pass rush, solid run defense, but poor coverage.

I was looking at some of the receiving statistics at Advanced NFL Stats, and there are a couple of players who have stat-lines that caught my eye for reasons still unclear. Steve Smith goes deep on 41.8% of his passes and has been thrown at 91 times, yet he has a 61.5% catch rate and averages 10.9 yards per target. Only one other player with at least 80 targets has a Deep% of over 40, and that's Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson (who is considerably taller). V-Jax (46.3 Deep%) averages 10.0 yards per target, but he only catches 52.5% of the balls thrown his way. Greg Jennings catches an astounding 70.7% of the passes thrown his way, averages 10.2 yards per target (82 targets), and has gone deep on 32.9% of his passes.
Fine then, call me a hater
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