Stillers vs. Lions Post-game:
The Stillers opened at Heinz with a nice 20-7 win over the Lions.� Detroit came into this game somewhat beat-up but then they were short-handed against Indy and Cin-City too.� The Lions split those games and, what is more important, the Lions led both at the half.� Yesterday though, the Stiller starters dominated on both sides of the ball; that�s all good, these players had looked very poor in their first two games.�
Detroit had totaled 31 points 1st half points against the Bengals and Colts; yesterday, they didn�t score and managed just 101 yards in (4) possessions.� The Stiller 1st unit D-side had allowed (5) scores in (7) possessions; yesterday, they allowed (0) in (4).� That is something to build on.� The Stillers out-gained the Lions 397-217, the 1st/2nd half split was, essentially, equal.� Though wins and losses mean little in preseason, it was good to see that both the Stiller top units and future warehouse workers could outclass their opponents.� Turning to the units:
Quarterbacks:� Overall, an outstanding 27/37/307 with (1) TD.
Stewart:� 12/15/135/0 INT.� Kordell played effectively yesterday over (3) possessions spreading the ball to (3) WR, (2) RB and TE Mark Bruener.� On the first drive, he hit Spike for (15) and a 1st down and came to Ward twice for +10 each time.� Kordell�s finest moment was on the (5th) series when, under pressure from LB Aldridge, he made the hot read hitting Bruener on a 13 yard catch and plow.� That play demonstrated poise and that is something we�re all eager to see from this man.
That first drive was a thing of beauty; some (17) plays covering (96) yards.� More really, the Stillers committed (2) penalties during this possession; in fact, the O-side put up about 110 yards over 11:39.� On the downside, the Stillers first (2) possessions in this game did follow the Viking paradigm.� In both games, the Stillers had impressive opening drives; in both, they began their 2nd possession inside the 50 but went 3 and out.� The O-side is showing promise but the league�s elite capitalizes on field position; the Stillers haven�t done that, yet.
Stewart came back strong on the 3rd possession hitting Toy for 23 and a 1st down and, later, executing some decent play action on a screen to Amoz.� This drive fizzled on a debatable penalty and ended when Stew under-threw Spike on a flag route.� Yesterday�s 3rd possession was much superior to Vikings 3 and, while in that game, Kordell completed just (1) +10 yard pass to a WR, at Heinz, he completed (4) of those missing on (2).� Well done.
Maddox:� 11/17/144/1TD.� The count stands at (2) solid games, (1) horrendous.� Maddox showed poise and a nice touch yesterday.� Had a 44- yard completion to Shaw where he dropped the ball over a LB and between (2) closing DB.� Was on-time on a sideline hook-up with Brown for a 33-yard TD when the Lion safety ran by the play, out of the stadium to the banks of the Ohio, threw himself in and began stroking towards Cairo.� Mistakes happen, Maddox did take advantage.
Graham:� 4/5/30 or so.� Showed good pocket presence on one play, tearing himself loose and hitting a middle route.� A nice close to this man�s brief career here; Tee Martin didn�t play yesterday because he had been excused last week to attend his grandmother�s funeral.� Tee is back now and, likely, will take a lot of snaps against the Bills.� Assuming Tee functions effectively, and I believe he will, Kent Graham will be elsewhere shortly.� Adios.
Running Backs:� The Bus ran hard and effectively; he looks to be in better shape that any time in the last (2) years.� Amoz came on as a change-up in the 1st possession and made a couple impact plays then and through-out this game.� Little-A showed some explosiveness running the screen and, while his rushing totals weren�t overwhelming, did run hard and with awareness.� Fu was fine; Witman was a scratch for the 2nd time in (3) games.� Big Jon may, or may not, be an effective FB when he is healthy; however, his back seems to be in about the shape of Dawson�s hamstring.� This man looks like a part-timer.
Spike:� Two balls thrown in his direction; (1) catch with the 2nd, a deep sideline badly under thrown.� If this man is the #1, then he has to be targeted more often.
Ward:�� Another solid performance: (2) balls thrown in his direction both caught for about 23.� Ran for about 20 on a double reverse that was negated by Bruener�s holding penalty.� Off this play, I�d like to see a pass option for Hines.
Toy:� Definitely a factor yesterday, 6/45 including a nice sliding grab for 23, (2) PR with (1) 30 or so break-out.� Ticky-tack penalty on Stewart�s scramble; had a drop from Maddox on a ball somewhat behind him.� Overall, gave his usual maximum effort and, this time, got results.
Bobble Shaw:� Seemed to be the 4th WR in this game and that�s okay.� Came free in a deep seam and made a good 44-yard catch between (3) defenders.�
Brown:� Looks smooth, had a late TD.
Baker:� No receptions but contributed on kick coverage.
OL:� The starters played effectively as a unit in the 1st half.�
Marvelous:� Got a stand-off with Porcher in the 1st half but gave a sack on the opening possession of the 2nd half when he set up too deep to defend Porcher�s �inside rush.� In Minnesota, Marvel set up short and so gave up the outside to Sawyer;� Smith has the tools and, while he has made some glaring errors, he remains the Stiller�s best option at the position.
David Bobo did not dress for the third game in succession; rumor has it that the staff likes this player.� Keydrick Vincent didn�t dress either; Vincent has road-grader size.� As I recall, the Gibbs Era Skins used the injury lists to stockpile players.� Russ Grimm is a graduate of Gibbs University; I�m guessing that the Stillers will try to sneak Vincent and/or Bobo �through to the practice squad.� This year, that�s the place for these men; it remains to be seen whether the Stillers have more success now than they did with Fraley last season.
Defense:� Gave up a meaningless TD in the last 25 seconds, otherwise, outstanding from top to bottom.� The Lions played without Crowell and Herman Moore; the Stillers without DW and, after the 5th play, Chad Scott.� That�s about a wash; the D-side dominated and that�s all good.
Aaron Smith:� Got his 2nd sack of the preseason; it seems to me that this man has progressed about as much this off-season as last.
Kendrick Clancy:� Consistently whipped Eric Beverley and got penetration; Clancy is no immovable object but, in the right scheme, may be an effective player.
KVO:� Disruptive, as usual.
Hampton: �Had a couple of stuffs, nothing outstanding.� Got pancaked by McDougle (I think) once.
Bailey:� Active and energetic, this rookie may be functional in a platoon rolethis season.
Bell:� When the Stillers sent (4), he was the guy rushing with the DL.� Got home and sacked Batch in the Lions 1st possession.� An impact player.
Holmes:� Solid run-stuffing.
Porter:� Continues to play under wraps in the pre-season.
Haggans:� As Holmes above; Haggans does not have the athletic ability to be an impact player.� This suggests that he is ill-suited for the 3-4 since OLB is the feature spot.� However, Haggans looks to be a solid stuffer and could function as a 4-3 LOLB in, say, the Ryan Phillips mode.� His top end seems to be as a supporting player but, IMO, he could be effective in that role.
Kurpeikis:� Had a couple ST stops; this man is my 8th LB.
Fiala:� Continues to lead the 2nd unit.
Jones:� See Gildon above; on the plus side, Mike seems to be more than willing to accept his role as a mentor for Bell.
Scott:� Preliminary diagnosis is a sprained right medial collateral ligament; in �98, Scott tore his left ACL.� MRI today or shortly; hold your breath.
Townsend:� Solid effort against Mortan; well done.
Poteat:� Had a FR, his 2nd turnover in (2) games.� This man is looking like a player on the D-side, not just a PR specialist.
Logan:� Active and effective.
The Stillers closed the 1st�half with Kris Brown kicking a FG of about PAT length.� Pointless; you�ve got to believe Brown can make a PAT.� What is not known is this; can Spike get up and get a red zone fade in the EZ?� Can Fu act as a plow-back and punch it home from the 1?� Preseason is for finding out; Coach Cowher blew his chance here.
On the 1st drive, the Stillers had (7) series; on 1st down, they ran (6) times and screened once to Bettis.� On the 2nd possession, they went three and out; running Amoz on 1st down for about 5. �On the 3rd possession, they had (3) series; Amoz packed it each time and got, pretty much, nothing.� In sum, with Kordell under center, the Stillers ran on 1st down 10/11.� This tendency did the home team no good; they got good 1st down yardage early but nothing late.� This won�t flush in the regular season but maybe Coach Mularkey is just setting up the Jags and Browns.
Summary:� A good effort by the starters and an encouraging win.