Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Better late than never

Well, I've been out of town ever since the game ended, traveling for business, so tonight is the first time I've had a chance to write down my thoughts on the game. Sorry for the delay. Hopefully I can deliver something that makes you go "hmmmm..." I'm not going to break down the game because it's too late for that. Too far in the past for me to bring anything meaningful to the party. But I can give my insight into the feel at the stadium.

My first regular season game as a season ticket holder was an interesting affair. We sit in the east end zone, and when the teams are in our end of the field, the game is pretty impressive. Of course when they are at the other end, it's a LONG way away. But watching from that angle got all my football senses going.

I play a little game where I try to predict what the play is and which way it's going, kinda like QB1, but a live version without automatic scoring. When I can see the field from sideline to sideline (kinda like a video game), I found I could predict with a high degree of accuracy just before the snap where Seattle's O was going with a play. Maybe it's 5 years of seeing the Lions version of the wet toast offense that taught me what to look for, but somehow, I was calling out the play before the snap a lot. Seattle's O is pretty predictable, just like most west coast O's are, in that they try to run players to spots where the D isn't, and take advantage of the position of the defender. But to predict it, the view from where I sit is very helpful. I doubt I could predict as well from the sideline - too hard to see the spacing I was seeing. But it sure was weird to call their plays as much as I was doing.

On the other hand, the Martz O was nearly impossible to read. He shifts players and puts guys in motion so much that it really doesn't give an observer (or a Defense) a good chance to see the spacing and alignments. Nice and tricky in that it allows the O to get in a formation that the D can't adjust to quickly enough pre-snap, and frequently allowed receivers to be running free. My guessing the Lions O plays was only successful based on down and distance - 3rd and 8 was easy to guess. Other than that, it was like flipping a coin. Definitely not the predictable BS we've been accustomed to.

One thing that was also readily apparent was that Martz O allowed our receivers to run free a LOT more than we've seen in years. Basically, if Kitna had wanted to, he could have zeroed in on Roy and thrown over half the balls to him and Roy would have still been wide open. Part of that was that Seattle was also still significantly more committed to stopping KJ than to stopping the pass. There were a lot of 8 or 9 men in the box situations - and I still want to see Kitna allowed to audible out of those.

The one thing that I had been curious about in preseason related to the D was answered emphatically - Shaun Rogers is a HUGE difference maker. Not in just his ability to create havoc, but that he changes the O blocking schemes. Seattle had to have two guys account for Baby on nearly every play. That freed up the other D-linemen for one-on-one matchups and kept the LB's free to make plays. That single difference is amazing in how it changes the effectiveness of our D. Our fast LB's were able to run sideline to sideline and make plays - which they couldn't do in preseason. Shaun is that big of a difference maker - and the improvement of the D can easily be placed solely on his presence.

It will be interesting to see how the game this week plays out with Da Bearz. I'm still not ready to bet on the Lions in any way because there is still too much we don't know about the team. But if I had to make one bet this week, it's take the under. Even if the number is 20. The only way either team is scoring a TD is if the D's score it. At least that's my prediction, and I'm sticking to it.

Also, I likely won't see the game in real time again this week. I'll still be out in Arizona traveling, so I'll have to catch my TiVo recording of it when I get home Monday afternoon. So don't expect next weeks' entry early either. You've been warned...


funktron said...

Whereabouts in Arizona?

That's my neck of the woods! Safe traveling and solid notes!!!

Uncle Miltie said...

Heya Funk - I'm in Phoenix right now, working with an automaker that has their proving grounds out toward Wickenberg. We get to drive cars through the desert doing all kind of bad things that you should NEVER do to a car and try to break them. We figure that if we can't break it, then you shouldn't be able to either.

Thanks for the post.