Have you ever gone to the theatre to see a new movie and shortly after it starts you realize that it is just a poorly done remake of an older movie. That is how I felt watching the Lions lose the Browns last night. The characteristics that have made up every bad Lions team have shown up this preseason.
The Lions had 8 penalties of 86 yards against the Browns. 8 is bad enough but 3 of those penalties came on special teams. Whats worse is that it should have been 4. Willie Young got flagged for two penalties, holding and personal foul, on a punt return at the end of the half. The holding call was declined and the personal foul was accepted, pushing the Lions deep into their own territory with seconds to play in the half.
The special teams unit was completely rebuilt after last years poor performance. So far the Lions kickers have been a bright spot in the preseason. But if penalties keep occurring on returns and punt coverage any benefits they bring to the field could be erased. Against the Browns, penalties occurred primarily during kick returns, negating solid gains by Micheal Spurlock.
Special teams were one of the big reasons the Lions finished 4-12 last year. If head Coach Schwartz and staff can’t figure out how to fix this years squad the Detroit Lions could be in for a long season again.