Time for our regular '5 Questions' installment. This week we check in with Sean from our Detroit Lions blog, Pride of Detroit.
Big Blue View: Jon Kitna predicted the Lions would win 10 games this season, and most people thought he was nuts. Yet, the Lions are 6-3 and have a legitimate shot at doing just that. How did this happen?
Pride of Detroit: I'm still wondering the same thing. The difference this season is that in the close games where Detroit used to fold under pressure, Kitna and his teammates have come up with the plays to win. Last year's record of 3-13 easily could have been up around 6-10 or even 7-9 if the Lions hadn't had so many 4th quarter collapses, so that is why they are 6-3 right now. In the most crucial parts of the game, mistakes have been limited, allowing this team to win. I still don't know if 10 wins is possible after last week's game, but if they limit mistakes in the form of turnovers, then I could see it as a definite possibility.
BBV: The Lions set a record for futility last weekend, rushing for -18 yards. How did that happen, and what makes you think they run adequately against the Giants?
POD: Coming into the game, I believe that Mike Martz had a game plan of passing the ball to open up the run. Martz figured the Lions would have no problem passing, and when that stopped working, the run game went nowhere as well. Rod Marinelli blames the lack of a rush offense on the fact that Detroit was trailing for the final three quarters, which was true in the second half, but I still think it was a game plan issue. As far as things go for the Giants, it all depends on if Mike Martz has the same balance that he did during the winning streak we saw in the three games before the Arizona debacle. If Jones can get things going early on, then the running game shouldn't be a problem. But if it is stuffed and Martz goes to the pass only, it'll end up as another low output of yards.
BBV: The Lions seem to take a wide receiver with their first pick every season. Did they finally get one right with Calvin Johnson?
POD: The right one was drafting Roy Williams, so I consider Calvin Johnson as an added bonus. If he can stay healthy, then he will turn out to be a great player. He's got the right mindset about things, which means he is no Mike Williams, and although it leaked that he tested positive for marijuana before the draft, he hasn't smoked himself slow like Charles Rogers. As a player, C.J. is already making some great plays. The physical strength and athleticism that he has gives him the ability to go up for a ball or to dive for a catch. Like I said, if he stays healthy, he'll be one of the best for a long time.
BBV: Many Giants fans are probably not too familiar with the Lions. Tell us who the best players are, particularly guys who might not be household names?
POD: You all probably know about Jon Kitna, Roy Williams, Kevin Jones and Shaun Rogers, but there are two that will be important on Sunday. The first is wide receiver Shaun McDonald. He is the fourth receiver on the depth chart yet comes up with big plays in nearly every game. He is the type of player that will make a catch and take off to run afterwards. The reason I think he has been so good is because he is overlooked. Defenses look at Williams, Johnson, and Furrey and then sometimes allow McDonald to be open.
The other player that has made a huge impact this year is defensive end Dewayne White. White was quietly brought in as a free agent from Tampa Bay because Marinelli knew he was a great player from when he coached the Bucs. So far this year, White has not only been great during the game in general, but he has made big plays when it counted most. Just look at the season opener for that example. Needing to get a couple of stops to finish off the Raiders, White had a one-handed interception and then forced a fumble to end Oakland's hopes of a win. Only problem is that White is now injured and his status for Sunday is up in the air. I hope he plays, but right now it's looking doubtful.
BBV: If you could have one player off the Giants roster, who would it be? Why?
POD: I would have to say Jeremy Shockey. Even though Jon Kitna has plenty of targets to throw to, he is missing an athletic tight end. I don't want to hate on Detroit's current tight end (Sean McHugh), but he was a fullback before switching to this position. Mainly, he is used for blocking purposes as the Mike Martz offense doesn't really utilize the tight end anyways, but I think that would change if Shockey was on the team. He would allow Detroit to mix it up more and not run the ball 90% of the time a TE is in the game.
Thanks, Sean! Be sure to check out Pride of Detroit for info about the Lions.