It can be difficult for the average fan to understand just what to take from these preseason games.
On one hand, fans want to build up the good plays as indicative of what is to come in the regular season. On the other hand, fans want to minimize the bad as being "just the preseason" and therefore not indicative of what is to come.
There is truth in each perspective.
You don't want to get overly excited over what you see in the preseason, but there are some things Lions fans can feel encouraged about following the first preseason game.
Even against two-man teams, they were pushing the Jets' linemen back two to three to five yards in the backfield and that gave the quarterbacks far less opportunity to step forward. Then if they decided to step right or left, they were stepping into the path of the pass rush -- guys coming off the edge.
I thought it was really, really effective.
They also closed lanes up the middle, making it predictable where the running backs had to run. That helps out the linebackers and the secondary to come up and make plays.
On the outside, the rookie Ziggy Ansah showed up with a pick-six. Obviously you don't want to herald the guy a Hall of Famer after one play in a preseason game, but he deserves credit for what he did.
For one, Mark Sanchez did not throw the ball to him. Two, he jumped up and made an athletic play. Three, that was just good play recognition … period.
I don't know what his assignment was, so that makes evaluation limited, but I was looking for whether he would play with confidence and speed over the course of multiple series.
I wanted to see his endurance and how the rotation would work -- whether that would be helpful or hurtful for him.
I think rotating him in and out will play strong for him. In college, a lot of these players don't get to come off the field. They have to stay out there and just go through it -- the good, the bad and the fatigue.
But with these guys, there's enough depth to where I think all the players can become better players with less time on the field if they bring the same aggressiveness and discipline across the board.
This devensive unit also plays together -- they are in support of one another -- which is a coach's dream. They want to be one of the most -- if not the most -- dominant defensive line in the NFL.
I think this unit could be pretty special.