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Redskins @ Lions: Five Questions with Pride of Detroit

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Karl Marx, Chris Spielman, and clowns...

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t been treated to a regular season game against the Lions since back in September of 2013. To get reacquainted, we asked Chris Lemieux from Pride of Detroit about this year’s version of the Lions.

It seems Detroit's defense has been the team's primary weakness this year. Is there any specific reason as to why? They're allowing quite a few yards and points.

The Lions defense is bad, very bad, but we must contemplate why. There is a split in the ideologies of those who have discussed this point.

On one hand, we have the Stalinists, who point firmly towards the amount of injuries that have been compiled upon a defense that was already lacking in depth. Key playmakers like DeAndre Levy, Haloti Ngata and, until recently, Ezekiel Ansah have been sidelined, while depth talent like Josh Bynes and Jon Bostic have been injured. With only such neophytes as Thurston Armbrister to rely on, the Lions are grossly underpowered at all linebacker positions; meanwhile, the defensive line features excellent talent but without Ansah lacks a competent edge rusher and fails to produce.

The Trotskyites in this situation are those who acknowledge that injuries play a role, but also consider the nature of the situation with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Yes, losing the top playmakers of this Lions offense is critical, but Austin has so far failed to coach up any acceptable replacements. Not only that, but the assignments seem to go right over the heads of some of these linebackers. You may recall Case Keenum completing 19 consecutive passes against the Lions last week, and most came over the middle with not a single defender covering them. One who holds this belief is not asking Austin to be a miracle-worker, but it lacks a basic level of competence that cannot be washed away just because of injuries.

Personally, I don't really have a specific branch of Marxism I am attached to as of this moment beyond the commitment to creating a socialist state, although I am sympathetic to Trotsky's idea of constant revolution in order to counteract a Thermidorian Reaction from entrenched bureaucracy... wait, what were we talking about again? Crap.

Karl Marx Wax Figure at Madame Tussauds
This is a wax figure of Karl Marx...
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

What kind of pass rush have the Lions had this year? The Redskins OL is really peaking and performing excellently the past few weeks and we're curious to know what the odds of Kirk having a clean pocket to work from on Sunday are. What should we expect there?

Not much. As I mentioned, Ezekiel Ansah has been out for the past few weeks, and his absence has deprived the Lions of one of their most consistent defensive weapons. Without a serious edge rusher, the Lions went a long time

This is strange if you look at the stats because Kerry Hyder has five sacks, which was good enough for him to lead the NFC until very recently. It was an aberration, one of those eye magic pictures that you just can't figure out. Hyder, who plays both tackle and end, has helped to fill in on the edge at times and has been a bright spot for a struggling Lions line, but his overall impact is rather isolated.

This is all to say, sure, y'all ain't gotta worry.


The Lions are 3-3. Is that what you expected after six games? Why or why not?

Yes... No? Okay, on a basic level I expected the record to be around this reach. However, as this team is the Detroit Lions, the way that they reached 3-3 has been the most baffling, bewildering and insane method possible. Every game I expected the Lions to win they have lost, and every game I expected the Lions to lose, barring the Green Bay game, they have won. You expect a victory over Tennessee and it turns into a strugglefest. You expect the Eagles to roll over an injury-depleted roster and they claw and fight with everything they have. You predict no touchdowns in a grinder with the Rams and you get a shootout.

This is typical of Lions football and this is also why I happen to love covering this team. There is no logical comprehension to their current situation. Every game has been decided by one score, and the last two were sealed by interceptions from an otherwise quiet secondary. The optimist sits at home and talks about how this team could have probably been 5-1 without the injuries, but I know better. You don't approach a Lions season expecting things to work out according to plan. To me, they're just not good enough (or healthy enough) on defense to go anywhere appreciable, but it's a fun ride anyway.

I have no other thoughts on the matter, I just want to use this space to warn y'all about Chris Spielman. For some reason Fox has put him on color nearly every Lions broadcast this year, including preseason, and his insanity is a sight to behold. He will be on Sunday's call too. Spielman is too football for this world. He has growled before. He has advocated smelling salts as a cure for concussions. He is, in the eyes of the Pride Of Detroit staff, a madman, but also a treasure.

2011 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1
This is Chris Spielman...
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

What are the Lions greatest strengths? What should Redskins fans watch out for?

Matthew Stafford has, so far this season, been otherworldly as a quarterback. It was insane to think this for so many months of the offseason, but empirical evidence points to the ridiculous conclusion: Stafford is, right now, better than he ever was with Calvin Johnson. This flies against all established narratives from national media. This wasn't supposed to happen. Stafford was being propped up by Megatron and he would be exposed without him, they said. The Lions offense could not possibly expect anything but abysmal downgrading without the superstar wide receiver, they said. And I held fast to all of that too.

But you can't fight it. You just can't. The stats speak volumes, but so too does watching Stafford on the field. In past seasons he might make mind-boggling decisions that would completely ruin a day, but so far he's avoided most of that. He'll make a mistake now and then (like last week when he tried to sidearm throw across his body on third down) but they're not the backbreaking errors of yesteryear. It's still early to say, but he really looks like he's got everything working right now. He can run well, his pocket presence is astute, he can get the ball through very tight windows and he can locate downfield easily. He's somehow become a complete package.

Now in the past few weeks he's been doing this without two of his weapons, Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick. The opponents know that, thanks to injuries, the Lions have no run game to speak of and so they can spend an inordinate amount of time pressuring him. So far that hasn't really hampered Stafford. He's still playing very well.

I don't know if it's system (everyone loves Jim Bob Cooter) or if it's the evolution of Matthew Stafford that the Lions have been waiting for. Either way, the Lions offense is run by a quarterback who is, as of this moment, one of the best in the league. Please believe I say this with no small amount of skepticism or doubt in my heart, but it's impossible to deny what's here.

Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions
Matt Stafford is having a bit of a renaissance in Jim Bob Cooter’s offense.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Who wins the game and why? What's your score prediction?

So have you heard about the clowns? They've been appearing at alarming rates all over the country, emerging from forests and no one seems to know why. Some think of it as symptomatic of how weird 2016 has gotten, what with the election and the Cavaliers winning a title and the limited return of Crystal Pepsi.

At 2:25 am EDT (06:25 UTC) a great clown migration will erupt as the great veil that separates our world and theirs finally collapses. The rift will originate in the heart of Manistee National Forest and the clowns rapidly spread from there. By 4 am Grand Rapids has fallen. Two hours later, we lose Lansing and Saginaw. A line of defense is put up, but by the time we are able to react it is already too late; the swarm has grown too far. The clowns reach downtown Detroit roughly around kickoff, where they will consume Ford Field and all in attendance entirely.

The NFL, in its infinite wisdom, decides that the game will officially go in the record books as a tie, 3-3. On Monday morning, in the North Atlantic Clown Quarantine Zone, Stephen A. Smith screams at the severed head of Max Kellerman (he didn't make it out alive) about how a tie in football is "absolutely ludicrous, certifiably disgusting; a disgrace Max, just an utter disgrace!"

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League
This interview...
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images