Keys to the Win: Lions Coaching Staff Impressive

Detroit's coaching staff alertly noticed the Texans crowding the line of scrimmage and tried to throw the ball downfield, the problem was the Texans Jason Babin, Kailee Wong and Jay Foreman were getting pressure on Lions quarterback Joey Harrington. They corrected the problem. More analysis inside.

(ALLEN PARK) - With three number one draft picks and one second rounder, you'd expect the Lions to be able to rely on their offensive line to consistently spring holes for running backs Artose Pinne and Kevin Jones.

That hasn't always been the case, in fact, the offensive front really struggled to find running room for their backs against Chicago last week when the Bears committed eight men up front to stuff the run.

The Houston Texans took a similar route, walking up an eighth man to stuff the run lanes and take away the short passing routes, but this time things were different.

But things were different against the Houston Texans on Sunday. The right side of the offensive line consisting of guard Damien Woody and tackle Stockar McDougle began to assert itself against the Houston 3-4 alignment.

Detroit's coaching staff alertly noticed the Texans crowding the line of scrimmage and tried to throw the ball downfield, the problem was the Texans Jason Babin, Kailee Wong and Jay Foreman were getting pressure on Lions quarterback Joey Harrington.

So rather than continue to put Harrington in harms way against that pressure, the coaching staff simply adjusted the wide receivers to run intermediate routes between the linebackers and the safeties and called plays that got their running backs out in space.

Case in point, first series of the second quarter; Lions quarterback Joey Harrington connected with fullback Cory Schlesinger for 12 yards and a first down. That caught the Texans linebackers off guard and slowed their reaction to the run.

This allowed running back Kevin Jones to gash the Texans for an 11-yard gain. Two plays later, Harrington kept the defense off-balance by connecting with Az-Zahir Hakim on an intermediate crossing route for a key third down conversion.

Jones followed with another 11-yard carry, with Artose Pinner chipping in six and five yard carries respectively. The drive culminated in a play action fake freezing the linebackers enabling fullback Cory Schlesinger to be wide open for the one yard catch.

When the Texans tried to go back to their crowding the line of scrimmage philosophy in the 3rd quarter to slow Jones, who was beginning to gain momentum, Harrington hit behind them deep.

"They were agressive, the safeties were [walking up] they were hitting the run game hard with the linebackers," said Detroit head coach Steve Mariucci, "that's why we threw the post [pattern pass] behind them."

The game within a game turned in the Lions favor when Detroit's coaching staff made that key adjustment.

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