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Posted by Aug - 18 - 2011 0 Comment

Tomorrow night a Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Browns will host the Lions in their second and final home game of the 2011 pre-season. The Browns, cautiously confident after their 27-17 win over the Packers last Saturday night will face a 1-0 Lions team fresh off of a 34-3 pummeling of the Bengals last Friday. Here are a couple quick tidbits on the Motor City Kitties, NFL version:

  • Matthew Stafford, the 3rd yr QB out of Georgia, was 6 of 7 for 71 yards and two TDs against the Benglas. More importantly, he wasn’t hurt during the game. Stafford is the china doll of NFL quarterbacks, having finished his first two seasons on IR. Last year against the Browns Stafford was 13 of 17 in the pre-season contest at Ford Field, with a TD.
  • The Lions come in boasting arguably one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL, anchored by 2nd year monster Ndamukong Suh. Suh has made a name for himself with both his incredible talent and his tendency to put forth a little extra effort in wrestling QBs to the ground. Browns fans are familiar with this as he attempted to twist off Jake Delhomme’s head last August, earning the first of his three fines in 2010 for unnecessary roughness. In efforts to maintain his consistency, he was docked $20k for rag-dolling Bengals rookie QB Andy Dalton last week, raising some justifiable questions through the national media as to whether or not he’s a dirty player. He disputes it, but obviously doesn’t care what he is considered outside of his locker room. Take a handful of questionable plays out, and he’s still noteworthy as a play busting force on the front line of Detroit’s defense. He’s complimented by former Brown (and perpetual talker) Corey Williams, as well as the venerable Kyle Vanden Bosch. (The Lions have also drafted DT Nick Fairley with their first overall pick in 2011, but he has been sidelined with a foot injury. Perhaps from stepping on bones of people Suh has crushed.) That highly regarded Browns offensive line will have quite a test in dealing with the Lions front four, and a formidable challenge to keep Colt McCoy’s jersey clean.
  • Most people not named Cris Carter think Calvin Johnson could arguably be one of the top ten wideouts in the NFL. The 6’5″ 236 lbs. WR out of Georgia Tech makes some spectacular catches, can stretch the field, and is typically a mismatch for defensive backs given his Lurch-like stature. Look for Stafford to try and hit Johnson often as the two are developing some solid chemistry, when Stafford can manage to stay on the field.
  • Along with Corey Williams, other former Browns now in Detroit include CB Eric Wright, (though he may miss this Friday’s game with a pulled groin – hopefully his own), RBs Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell, and CB Brandon McDonald. With the exception of Bell, each former Brown showed momentary flashes in their tenure in Cleveland, but just couldn’t make plays consistently enough to stay. Apparently, that’s good enough to get a job in Detroit. (I bet Wright can still see Anquan Boldin catching TD after TD on him in his sleep.)
  • Like the Browns, the Lions had the dog days of traning camp manifest themselves in fisticuffs this week. For the good guys, it was LB Titus Brown versus TE Alex Smith. The Lions tilt was between Vanden Bosch and LT Corey Hilliard. We’re at that point in training camps where these things happen. It’s probably a good bet then that you’ll see some of that frustration exercised between the teams Friday night. If they are willing to pound a team mate’s skull in camp, they sure as hell won’t think twice about giving a guy sporting a different color jersey the what-for.
  • The 2010 Lions finished 6-10, good enough for a last place tie with Minnesota in the NFC North. However, they finished the year strong with 4 straight wins including a 7-3 upset of divison rival and eventual Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers. They are one of the teams some national pundits and talking heads are picking to be a surprise team in 2011 and possibly vie for a wild-card berth. The Lions are certainly an up-and-coming team in the league, and you’ll get their best game week in and week out. But unless Matthew Stafford can find a way to stay on the field and allow his offense to develop consistency week in and week out, they Lions will have a hard time winning more games than they lose. But make no mistake about it. Come Monday mornings this season, teams will know they have played the Detroit Lions, as I guess plenty of film study will be done from the trainer’s tables. Their defense is ferocious, and the offense has weapons of mass potential. If second-year coach Jim Schwartz can start off 2011 the way he finished off 2010, the Lions may not win many games, but they will earn plenty of respect. Something they have lacked in Detroit since Barry Sanders was there.
Categories: Cleveland Browns

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