Cook: Despite loss, the sky isn't falling

It wasn't nearly the embarrassment of taking the wind in overtime, but the decision to fly to Oakland the day of the Detroit Lions' third preseason game appeared to backfire, as the jet-lagged Lions came out listless, falling 21-3 to the Raiders on Friday. Game notes and more from Roar Report columnist James Cook.

Don't look now, but Rod Marinelli might have just had his first Marty Mornhinweg moment.

It wasn't nearly the embarrassment of taking the wind in overtime, but the decision to fly to Oakland the day of the Detroit Lions' third preseason game appeared to backfire, as the jet-lagged Lions came out listless, falling 21-3 and turning in the kind of uninspired performance we had become accustomed to under Steve Mariucci and Mornhinweg.

Marinelli wanted to see how the Lions would react to being uncomfortable and face some adversity. All he had to do was watch game tape from the last few years and he could have gotten his answer that most of us could tell him -- that "pressure" and "Lions" don't mix well. And it didn't Friday, either.

Granted, the Lions were missing some key cogs -- Shaun Rogers, Cory Redding, Rex Tucker, Damien Woody, etc. -- but the Raiders didn't look exceptionally crisp and still made the Lions look like a scrimmage between the varsity and JV at points.

The sky isn't falling, but Lions fans are cautiously looking upward

Without using much of Martz' playbook and running a rather bland offense that won't give anything away for the regular season, the Lions actually moved the ball fairly well on offense. But the red zone wasn't kind, as well as turnovers.

The Good:

  • The running game looked very effective for the most part, especially Kevin Jones (11 carries, 43 yards). It showed, as the Lions won the time of possession battle despite scoring only 3 points.

  • Corey Bradford had 5 catches for 58 yards, and was a consistent threat the Lions need opposite Roy Williams.

  • Eddie Drummond's 4 catches for 71 yards may make it harder for Mike Furrey to see consistent playing time if Drummond keeps it up. If Drummond can earn considerable time in the slot in the regular season, Furrey becomes a backup and special teamer, and could even be in danger of not making the roster. His familiarity with Martz' offense likely keeps him on the team, though.

  • The new coaching staff adjusts to injuries and missing personnel better than previous regimes. In the Mooch era, for example, if the TE was decimated by injuries, he would just largely scrap the position from the offense. In the new Marinelli/Martz era, they simply plug someone else in, like putting backup center Dave Pearson in at TE last week.

  • Detroit was able to chew up large chunks of time on offense.

  • Kitna's second-quarter fumble was ugly, but Dominic Raiola sticking up for his QB and getting in a taunting defender's face was nice to see.

  • Some young guys looked fairly good. Bill Swancutt once again, plus Alex Lewis (caused fumble, several nice tackles).

    The Bad:

  • Jon Kitna didn't put up great numbers, but he showed poise and hung in there in the pocket -- things Martz' offense must have in a QB. Now if he can just buy some accuracy. And Aaron Brooks' mobility.

  • The Lions moved the ball fairly well, especially with its starters in the game, but couldn't put any points on the board until Dan Orlovsky led them to a field goal. Sounds all too familiar. No, wait … under Mooch, they didn't even move the ball.

  • Jones had some nice runs -- showing a nice stiff arm move on rushes to the left -- but several were called back for holding.

  • Boss Bailey finally played. OK, now make some plays. He looked purely average, at best.

  • Dan Orlovsky (7-of-15, 88 yards) had his second straight shaky performance. So much for Martz' statement that the Lions have 3 starting-caliber QBs. Not yet at least. I'm hoping that the Lions already know what they're getting from McCown and that's why Orlovsky played instead, not that Orlovsky is better than a QB that they threw decent bucks at in free agency.

  • There wasn't much anyone could do to stop Randy Moss' second TD, but he blew by Fernando Bryant on the first one.

    The Ugly:

  • Barry Stokes was cleanly torched by Derrick Burgess to stall the Lions' opening drive. Overall, the Line looked OK for having a pair of starters out, but Burgess absolutely abused Stokes with his outside speed on that play.

  • The Detroit defense was burned by draw plays again after being victimized by draws last week on numerous occasions.

  • Mike Williams didn't play in Friday's game. "Guys earn their time in practice," Marinelli said. Uh-oh. Time to invest in some No-Doz, Mikey. Or maybe ask a truck driver about how to stay awake.

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