Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate believes it when cornerbacks tell him the secret is out — opponents are successfully identifying offensive plays before the Lions can run them. – – The Cleveland Browns parted ways with offensive line coach Andy Moeller, the team announced. Moeller, 51, was suspended indefinitely by the Browns while he was investigated for an alleged assault of a woman.
It’s hard to run plays when the opponent knows what you’re running before the snap. It appears that’s what happened with the Detroit Lions on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos — and perhaps in each of the first three games — according to Golden Tate. [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: Enter our $1 Million Week 4 contest ] Tate hopped on 105.1 FM in Detroit and confirmed that opposing defenses seem to know what the Lions are going to run before they snap the ball. “All three weeks, a player has come up to me and said ‘we knew what you’re going to do,'” Tate said. “That’s bad.” Yes, it is, and it confirms what Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby, who set the tone in that game with an early interception and said that ” we pretty much knew what they were gonna do , and they did it,” according to the Detroit News. Tate said he didn’t hear directly from Roby in the game but that it’s not surprising to hear. “You know, I haven’t heard that yet from that player. I didn’t read anything about it,” Tate said. “But that’s not the first time this year that another player said that. I’ve had a couple occasions in literally each game where they’ve called out our play, for one, and then afterwards been like, ‘Hey, we knew what you guys were doing.’ “I don’t know how they know or what film they’re watching that we’re giving away. That’s something, we need to go back and watch our tendencies to figure out what, where we line up or how we line up or what formation, whatever it may be, we got to figure it out because we’re clearly giving [our plays] away. Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said he had no plans to remove play-calling duties from coordinator Joe Lombardi — “short answer: no,” Caldwell said this week — and said it was the offense’s lack of proper execution rather than play calling that was the team’s biggest issue offensively. The Lions have the lowest-ranked run game in the NFL, and the blocking up front has been shaky at best. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been battered, and he has been a little inconsistent when he has had time to throw. Does Stafford need to take control of the offense with so many questions about the play-calling issues? “I think it’s a little bit of both, man,” Tate said. “At some point, as a quarterback, this is your offense, this is really your team and you kind of got to take it over. In the game, in the heat of the battle, you’re the guy that has to make the key call or make the key throw or make the game-winning play.” You know, as long as the opponents don’t know what plays the Lions are running every game. – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
Peyton Manning prefers to line up in the shotgun where he doesn’t have to take his eyes off the defense, which is especially important for a 39-year-old quarterback. Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak likes his QB to line up under center where the play-action is most misleading in his zone blocking scheme. Manning lined up away from the center but with the running back directly behind him so as not to tip his hand in Denver’s 24-12 win at Detroit on Sunday night.
Following a 24-12 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron maintains his team is “great. While it might seem like Ebron doesn’t realize the Lions are 0-3, he does. This is what he told the Detroit Free Press after corralling four catches for 61 yards in defeat on Sunday: “I mean, I’m surprised, yeah, because of the players and how great we are, how good we look every day,” he said. “So I’m really surprised. But it’s the NFL. A few mistakes can make you 3-0 or 0-3. I mean, we’re 0-3 because of the mistakes we’ve been having and the mental errors and things like that. So we’ve just got to continue to work hard and get better.” […] “Yeah, that’s why we’re 0-3,” he said. “We’re hurting ourselves. No one in this league can match us or play against us unless we hurt ourselves. And we’ve been doing that for three straight weeks. So we’ll get better at it.” Let’s remember that only five teams in NFL history have ever made the playoffs after an 0-3 start. Considering the Lions visit the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and host the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in the next two weeks, things aren’t going to get any easier for Detroit anytime soon. The Lions own the worst running game in the NFL (their 135 total rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry both rank dead last). They c urrently rank 25th in total yards and 24th in points scored after losses to the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Broncos. None of those losses are all that bad, especially since the first two came on the road. And their defense has been decent, allowing 56 points through three weeks. That number looks even more impressive when you consider Detroit’s eight turnovers are tied with the San Diego Chargers for the league’s second-most through three weeks — behind only the Indianapolis Colts’ 10. So, Ebron certainly isn’t wrong about the Lions shooting themselves in the foot. But when Ebron says, “because of the players and how great we are,” he’s probably referencing Detroit’s three returning Pro Bowl performers on offense — quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, only one of whom should ever be classified as great (Johnson). And when he says, “No one in this league can match us or play against us unless we hurt ourselves,” he’s ignoring that there’s another team on the other sideline contributing to all those turnovers and losses. For what it’s worth, Ebron has been a solid third option behind Johnson and Tate in the passing game this season, catching a touchdown pass in each of his first two games of the season. In fact, his two TDs are one more than that wideout duo has combined to score thus far. Stafford’s five picks haven’t helped. Still, if the Lions are going to return to the playoffs this season, it will be on Stafford, Johnson and Tate to carry the load on offense. They only have to look to the 1995 Lions for inspiration, as that group was one of the five teams to make the postseason after starting 0-3, thanks to Herman Moore and Brett Perriman each submitting a 1,000-yard receiving season. Of course, they also had a dude named Barry Sanders. Regardless, the Lions aren’t great. They haven’t been since the 1950s. So maybe start with getting good. (h/t Pro Football Talk ) – – – – – – – Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are undefeated, even though they haven’t exactly wowed anybody offensively. Two of them on the road,” Manning said. Manning threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns Sunday night, and the Broncos beat the Detroit Lions 24-12.
(Reuters) – The Denver Broncos have failed to reinvent themselves as a run-first team this season, yet their old Peyton Manning formula and a ferocious defense have them atop the NFL. When new head coach Gary Kubiak arrived in Denver he vowed to emphasize the ground game to take pressure off his aging quarterback, but thus far his vision has not materialized. The Broncos defeated the Detroit Lions 24-12 on Sunday and improved to 3-0 despite rushing for just 41 yards on the night.