Tag:DeAndre Levy
Posted on: December 11, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 5:47 pm
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Officials miss face-mask call, Lions beat Vikings

The no-call on this face mask ended the game and now Detroit is 8-5. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Lions are 8-5 after a wild finish to Sunday's game against the Vikings, and remain in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Detroit's modus operandi this season has been to get down early in games, usually by two or three scores, and look completely lost in the process. Then, as if they suddenly remembered how to play football, get it together in time to pull out the victory.

We saw it frequently during the Lions' 5-0 start, less so in their ensuring 2-5 stretch. Against Minnesota it was just the opposite: Detroit went up 21-0 in the first quarter, and then held on for dear life, eking out the victory, 34-28, after the officials missed a face mask as time expired.

The Vikings had a chance to win it on the game's final play, but a Joe Webb fumble and an uncalled Lions' face mask (see the photo above), ended things with Minnesota just one yard short of the end zone.

We'll be hearing all week about that face mask by linebacker DeAndre Levy, especially since a penalty would've given the Vikings one more shot from the Lions' half-yard-line.

But the play before, one that saw Webb rush for a first down, almost made Detroit linebacker Cliff Avril the goat. With no timeouts and with Webb scrambling to get his players to the line of scrimmage to spike the ball and stop the clock, Avril inexplicably jumped offsides stopping the clock in the process.

(We wonder if Avril's momentary lapse falls under head coach Jim Schwartz's zero-tolerance policy for stupid plays.)

But these aren't Matt Millen's Lions; this team was able to overcome mistakes and even got some breaks along the way. And with three weeks to go in the regular season, they're right in the thick of things.

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Posted on: October 26, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 9:43 pm
 

Film Room: Broncos vs. Lions preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



It’s impossible to avoid the Tim Tebow coverage at this point. Since you’ll be hearing about the Broncos-Lions game all week, you might as well make the best of it and be familiar with the two teams. Here is a five-point rundown of the matchup, starting with a quick ode to You Know Who.



1. Tebow
The argument is no longer whether Tebow can become a more conventional quarterback; it’s whether the Broncos can win without him becoming a conventional quarterback. The elongated throwing motion probably isn’t going away. The flawed footwork may improve, but no guarantees. The arm strength will likely always be what it is: middling.

At this point, the Broncos coaching staff is limiting Tebow’s reads with simplified gameplans. That’s common with young quarterbacks. But usually young quarterbacks have more passing tools to work with. Tebow has running tools, which are hard to successfully incorporate into an NFL gameplan.

Tebow worshipers love to tout his “It Factor”. Twice now we’ve seen that “It Factor” late in the fourth quarter when the trailing Broncos have been compelled to cut loose Tebow’s inner sandlot soul. And it’s worked. So why doesn’t John Fox have Tebow play this way for all four quarters? Because he fears that if he did, the Broncos would trail by 30 late in the fourth instead of the usual 15 or 16.

Let’s look at the rest of this matchup.

2. Broncos offense
As we highlighted in last week’s Finer Points analysis, the Broncos have severe limitations at wide receiver. None of their targets are vertical threats. Eric Decker gets off press coverage well but is restricted to underneath stuff. Eddie Royal is an uninspiring slasher. Demaryius Thomas is solid and has upside, but only in a possession sense. And undrafted Matt Willis is untested.

Because of this, the Broncos are a throwback offense that operates out of traditional two-backs, one-tight end sets and abides largely by the laws of run-run-pass. That’s not a winning formula, but if the run game is working, it can at least be a “not losing” formula.

The run game has worked the past two weeks. Though Willis McGahee rushed for 103 yards against the Packers in Week 6, 125 yards against the Chargers in Week 5 and 76 yards against the Dolphins this past Sunday, he's out for for at least the next month with a broken hand. That means, Knowshon Moreno -- last year's first-round pick who is a mechanic, finesse-based back who has been relegated to third down duties -- will take over. Like McGahee, at least Moreno has the benefit of operating behind an offensive line that is well sized and, for the most part, athletic.

3. Lions defense
The Lions run defense is not nearly as bad as its ranking (28) indicates. A few missed tackles have led to big gains on the ground. Missed tackles are the type of mistakes that can quickly be corrected. The Lions have one of the deepest, most athletic defensive lines in football.

The line’s ability to win early in the down allows speedy linebackers DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch to play untouched and downhill – something all three are doing extremely well. Safety Louis Delmas is also outstanding at locating and quickly filling the point of attack against the run. He’ll see plenty of time in the box given Denver’s nonexistent downfield passing game.

Denver needs to forget about running outside and instead attack Detroit right up the gut. That may seem problematic given the presence of Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams, but in the last two weeks, the Niners and Falcons, two other power-run teams, have taken a clever approach to this.

Instead of trying to stop Ndamukong Suh’s initial penetration, the Falcons, taking a page out of the 49ers’ playbook, found a way to use it against him. Right guard Garrett Reynolds let Suh get his amazing jump off the ball.



Center Todd McClure swept around to shield Suh backside, while Michael Turner carried the ball right to the spot that Suh vacated. Reynolds stepped to his right to take care of the defensive end (an easy block given the angle of the hole it was creating) and right tackle Tyson Clabo was able to immediately work up to the second level and block the linebacker (also an easy block given that the linebacker had virtually no time to diagnose and react).



The 49ers used a similar tactic the previous week (see the video here), only with different players. They let Suh get penetration and blocked him backside with motioning tight end Delanie Walker. Center Jonathan Goodwin went cleanly to the second level to block the linebacker, while right guard Adam Snyder handled the left defensive tackle that Goodwin left behind.



This concept did three things for the Falcons and 49ers:

1. Eliminated Suh from the play without costing the offense an extra blocker in a double team, and without asking the right guard to win a one-on-one matchup that few, if any, right guards could possibly win.

2. Opened a natural hole in the A-gap, which is the easiest hole for a running back to hit quickly.

3. Allowed an offensive lineman to immediately reach a linebacker without being touched (a run-blocker’s dream).

Expect the Broncos to try a similar tactic this Sunday. It will be interesting to see what adjustment the Lions will have made to combat this (it’s doubtful they’d ask Suh to NOT penetrate off the snap).

4. Lions offense
This unit has had the chinks in its armor exposed the past two weeks. At this point, Matthew Stafford and the Lions are overly dependent on Calvin Johnson. That’s fine when Jahvid Best is in the lineup. But with Best out, the Lions don’t pose much of a run threat out of shotgun (overwhelmingly their favorite formation).

They also lose Best’s outside presence on bubble screens. This allows defenses to be more aggressive near the line of scrimmage against Titus Young, Nate Burleson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, all of whom struggled last Sunday.

This puts more pressure on Johnson. He’s an otherworldly talent, but he’s never been inspiring against intense double coverage (he was nowhere near as impactful against the Niners two weeks ago as his 113 yards suggested).

Also, as we saw against the Falcons, with the passing game’s quick-strike element suppressed, this unathletic front five gets exposed.

5. Broncos defense
The Broncos have the resources to exploit Detroit’s pass-blocking. Von Miller is the AFC’s answer to Clay Matthews. Elvis Dumervil has had a quiet season but will still a handful for Jeff Backus. And last week the safeties and linebackers timed their blitzes extremely well.

The Broncos also have the resources to keep up with Detroit’s passing attack. Champ Bailey is still a top-tier cornerback, shadowing the opposing team’s No. 1 receiver week in and week out. Bailey will need rookie free safety Quinton Carter (who has replaced Rahim Moore) to be a little more reliable in help coverage than he’s been, but with a respectable pass-rush, the Broncos shouldn’t feel too nervous about this matchup.

Nickel linebackers D.J. Williams (insane athlete) and Wesley Woodyard are both stellar pass defenders who can contain Pettigrew. The deciding factor will be whether cornerbacks Andre Goodman and Jonathan Wilhite can physically stymie Burleson and Young. Teams have targeted Wilhite, who’s been in and out of the lineup.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:34 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part I

Posted by Andy Benoit

Jets @ Lions

Everyone is healthy and had full practice participation this week for the Jets. (How often does that happen for a team in November?) The only starter missing from the Lions this Sunday will be safety C.C. Brown. Third-round rookie Amari Spievey (a converted corner) will make his first NFL start in Brown’s place.
D. Stallworth (US Presswire)
Detroit’s two most athletic offensive players, Calvin Johnson (shoulder) and Jahvid Best (knee) are both probable. So are the two most athletic defensive players, LB DeAndre Levy (ankle) and S Louis Delmas (ankle).

Dolphins @ Ravens

Veteran safety Yeremiah Bell, one of the sounder open-field tacklers in the NFL outside the numbers, is questionable with a toe injury. If he can’t play, either Tyrone Culver or Reshad Jones will start.

The Ravens will be missing a safety of their own – Tom Zbikowski (out with a foot). Fortunately, they recently got Ed Reed – the 88th best player of all-time, according to the NFL Films Top 100 – back. Making his season debut for Baltimore will be wideout Donte’ Stallworth, who has been out with a foot. Of course, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh having come aboard, it’s hard to imagine Stallworth getting many balls thrown his way.

Patriots @ Browns

Are there two coaches more deceptive with injury news than Belichick and Mangini? Belichick is telling us this week that S Patrick Chung (knee) and WR Deion Branch (hamstring) are both questionable. He told us the same thing last week. Chung sat in Week 8 while Branch played. Both guys were in full pads for Friday’s practice.

LB Brandon Spikes was limited in practice with a knee injury, though he’s probable. Spikes has been a very solid first and second down player in his first NFL season thus far. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out again.

Both of Mangini’s veteran quarterbacks continue to nurse high ankle sprains (Seneca Wallace is questionable; Jake Delhomme is doubtful). Three of the team’s best run-defending front seven players were limited in practice and are questionable: LB Matt Roth (hamstring), DL Shaun Rogers (ankle) and DE Kenyon Coleman (knee).

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 5:38 pm
 

Week 8 injury report analysis Part II

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bills @ Chiefs

Right tackle Cornell Green (knee) remains the only Bill who has battled a significant injury this season. That’s noteworthy considering this team has led the league in IR players two of the last three years. Buffalo defensive backs Terrence McGee (back) and Jairus Byrd (thigh) are both questionable, though both were full participants in practice this week.

Kansas City’s only injury of note is Dexter McCluster’s high ankle sprain. The budding multifaceted rookie is listed as questionable, though word is he’ll likely be out multiple weeks.

Redskins @ Lions

Of the 12 Redskins listed as questionable this week, only five had less than full participation in practice: offensive tackles Jammal Brown (hip) and Stephon Heyer (ankle), safeties LaRon Landry (Achilles) and Kareem Moore (knee) and fullback Mike Sellers (foot). The Skins are growing more and more concerned about Brown’s ailing right hip – the same hip that kept him out all of last season. If he can’t play, and if Heyer can’t play (well, it’s clear Heyer CAN’T play, but in this case, we mean if he can’t play because of his ankle) then guard Artis Hicks will slide over to tackle.

The Lions will get quarterback Matthew Stafford back from the shoulder injury he suffered on Opening Day. In fact, Stafford isn’t even listed on the injury report. Rookie RB Jahvid Best is. He’s probable with a toe (and he admits it has hindered him as of late). MLB DeAndre Levy is questionable with an ankle injury that has kept him out all but one game.

Panthers @ Rams

Don’t expect Carolina’s suddenly-stagnant running game to finally get rolling this week. The team is still without RT Jeff Otah (knee) and now, RB DeAngelo Williams is out (foot). St. Louis’ own star RB underwent finger surgery this week, though Steven Jackson vows he’s going to play.

Danario Alexander is the latest Rams wide receiver to hurt his knee. At least he’s only out a few weeks, though (cartilage). Defensive tackles Fred Robbins (toe) and Darell Scott (ankle) were both limited in practice. RT Jason Smith showed concussion-like symptoms after dinging his head in practice; he’ll be replaced Sunday by Renardo Foster. It’s worth noting that Smith missed the second half of last season with a concussion.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com