Tuesday, November 3, 2009
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OFFENSE?
Everyone knows that the defense is still a wretched wasteland, burned and pillaged by every army that storms through on their way to glory, but earlier this season, the offense looked like it was capable of hanging in there against other teams. I mean, for a while anyway. Last season, the defense sucked, and everyone bitched about it, but the Lions wouldn't have gone 0-16 without the offense taking a giant shit every Sunday. This season, the defense still sucks, but the offense has at least been capable of getting off some shots of their own. Sure, those shots are coming from an old six shooter against a dude with a howitzer, but fuck it, at least they've been firing back this season.
That's all changed in the last couple of games. The offense has once again reverted to the same bunch of fuckups that conspired with the awful defense to make 0-16 possible last season. Our six shooter is empty and now all we have is a slingshot that keeps breaking and a couple of throwing stars and that shit might work in the garage against a cardboard cutout but it doesn't play too well when you've got a nine hundred pound gorilla with hatred in his eyes and a machine gun that shoots acid tipped bullets standing across from you. You're gonna die, and die ugly and brutally.
But how has it fallen to this? There was so much promise and now I am starting to have flashbacks to Dan Orlovsky's Magical Mystery Tour of the Metrodome and that shit is too terrible to have to relive.
It's pretty simple really. I mean, when your best players can't stay healthy, you're going to struggle. I know, a gigantic revelation, right? This becomes especially true when those players are your rookie quarterback, your lone big play receiver and your starting running back. It's hard to maintain a rhythm on offense when no one actually plays together. It becomes impossible when no one even practices together. It is a recipe for absolute disaster when one of those players is a rookie who has barely played or practiced with the one receiver whose mind he must almost be able to read on every play. Everything and everyone is disjointed right now. You can't force this shit, no matter how much you might want to - or hell, in our case, need to. You just have to give it time, let these dudes get onto the field together and allow them to develop a rapport. It's the only way it's going to get any better.
Of course, there are other problems. It wouldn't be the Lions if there weren't. The offensive line is still pretty fucking bad. Not exactly a surprise when you consider they did virtually nothing to make it better in the offseason. There was some hope that another year of playing together as a unit would produce some consistency, but the only thing that has been produced is consistent mediocrity. Really, every player on the line is fatally flawed. Dominic Raiola is too small, Stephen Peterman isn't athletic enough, Gosder Cherilus appears to be kind of dumb(Not Lennie Small or anything, but man, that's not a high bar to jump.), Jeff Backus is, well . . . Jeff Backus is Jeff Backus. The name is synonymous enough with inadequacy that it serves well enough on its own as an indictment of his ability. Meanwhile the left guard position is manned by somebody new almost every game. At this point, I'm pretty sure the team is just going to start stealing grizzly bears from the zoo and sticking them at the position. They are strong but they have a reputation for being uncoachable. The last thing this team needs is a rebellious grizzly hanging around, fucking everything up.
And then there is the playcalling. No one agrees more than me that it was really, really smart to install an extensive screen and short passing package to the playbook. With a rookie quarterback and an offensive line who should all just wear white flags pinned to their uniforms, it was obvious that the offense needed some safety valves. Unfortunately, it seems like that's just about all there is to the offense right now. I mean, last time I checked, it was still within the rules to throw the ball downfield. I know, I know, the forward pass is risky business and Coach Lombardi has his reservations, but it is the 1950's for fuck's sake. I even heard that they are talking about sending a man to the moon one day. I know, craziness!
Okay, sure, a lot of this has to do with Calvin Johnson being out and the team not wanting to put Matthew Stafford in a position to have to thread the needle in order to win the game, but at some point you do need to make plays. Otherwise, drives will eventually bog down and you will see a whole lot of games like the one we saw against the Rams - a lot of 20-30 yard drives that stall out and end in a punt. Field position battles might be okay when you've got the defense to keep your team in it. They're kind of suicidal when you have the defense from the local Community College out there disguised in your uniforms.
For the 11,000,006th straight game, the Lions special teams gave up a huge play that ended up playing a big factor in the team's overall demise. Usually, it's a combination of poor kick coverage and a non-existent return game, but not this week. Oh, no. This week, Stan Kwan apparently took the criticism that has been mounting over the past few weeks to heart. He was no ordinary failure. No, he would show everyone that no one fucks up like Stan Kwan. No one! The Rams scored the first of their two touchdowns - in a game decided by a single touchdown - on a fake field goal that made the Lions look utterly stupid. After the game, the Rams revealed that they had noticed a tendency by the Lions to make a big push on one side of the line when attempting to block a kick, leaving the other side wide open. Sure enough, the Rams exploited this vast hole and turned a 50+ yard field goal attempt into a touchdown. Well done, Stan. Well done.
HELLO - LO - LO - LO - LO - LO(THAT IS A SORRY ATTEMPT TO ILLUSTRATE AN ECHO. WHAT? LEAVE ME ALONE.)
Just before the game started, I remember watching the announcers do their usual spiel, going over their keys to the game and all that shit, and I remember looking behind them and noticing that the stands were virtually empty. It looked like one of those shots done a couple of hours before the game is scheduled to start, when the production crew is there by themselves, with maybe a few die hard fans already there too. And then I realized that the game was set to start within five minutes and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to cry. Good Lord. What a debacle. It looked like someone just spliced in footage of the crowd from Major League. Sure, I became excited for a second that we had signed Cerrano and Willie Mays Hayes, but that shit was just sad.
After the game, I was over on ESPN's website and they had a poll asking if you would attend the Lions-Rams game if you were given free tickets, free airfare and a free hotel room. It was humiliating. Thankfully, most people still said yes, but there was a decent minority that said fuck that shit. When people turn down what is essentially a free mini-vacation because your team is so ass ugly, well . . . yeah, things aren't going too great. On the other hand, was this poll really necessary? I mean, haven't Lions fans suffered enough? This shit is out of hand. By season's end, they will probably be importing prisoners to fill out the stands. Oh well, at least the crowd will be rowdy.
This is what I said after Zack Follett straight up murdered a fool on a kick return. I have been waiting for this ever since we drafted him and I know it made my boy over in Berkeley happy. It was fucking brutal as hell too. I think he may have shortened the dude's life span.
COME BACK, I BEG YOU.
I have written a lot of weird bullshit lately about Calvin Johnson. This is because he hasn't actually played for almost three full games and yet he is really the only dude on this team that I am ever excited to write about. The result is a bunch of gibberish about Shakespeare, Dr. Manhattan and Doc Brown. For my sanity and that of all those foolish enough to pay attention to the words that I write, the dude needs to start playing again soon. Of course, this would require his scandalous knee to get better, but I have faith in the healing abilities of The Man of Steel. There will be time for defiling Lois Lane later, noble warrior. Now is the time to get back on the field and show everyone why I devolve into an idiot(well, more so than usual)whenever I talk about you. The world needs to see your grandeur so that it can heal itself. The wicked will perish in the blinding light of your magnificence and the sick shall be healed in the warm wondrous glow of your aura. We will all hold hands and sing into the night and the universe will know love and joy and . . . and . . . I think I need to change my pants. I'll leave it up to you to imagine why. Let the answer teach you something about yourself.
On that disturbing note, well, yeah . . .