The Detroit Lions have won their last two football games and three of their last four to reach the .500 mark for the season at 3-3.
The team was back to work in Allen Park Monday taking a look at Sunday’s game and starting to turn the focus to this Sunday’s contest vs. Seattle at Ford Field.
Head coach Matt Patricia had his weekly Monday press conference. Here are the key questions that came up during that media session:
What is the health status of Ziggy Ansah?
Ansah hasn’t played since injuring his shoulder Week 1. He’s been a limited participant in practice the last couple weeks, but hasn’t been able to play on Sundays. The Lions listed him as questionable to play on Friday’s injury report, but ruled him out Saturday.
“Here’s what I’m going to say about the Ziggy conversation so I can answer all those questions up front,” Patricia said. “Ziggy’s doing everything he can day-by-day to get out there and play. When he’s ready to go, he’s certainly someone that we think can help us win, and that’s the bottom line.”
What was the evaluation of the game rookie left guard Frank Ragnow had Sunday?
“Frank did a really good job up front,” Patricia said.
Ragnow had a number of flash plays in the game, including terrific blocks on LeGarrette Blount’s goal line touchdown run and Kerryon Johnson’s 71-yard run. There was also a play singled out by South Florida Sun-Sentinel beat write Omar Kelly where Ragnow blocked a defensive tackle 10 yards downfield and ultimately took him to the ground.
“He had some really good blocks, he had some plays that he knows he could do better in,” Patricia said of Ragnow. “(He) had a couple really good, dynamic plays downfield that were outstanding to see.”
On the decision to decline a holding penalty that would have pushed the Dolphins back and forced a 2nd and 17 in the third quarter:
Patricia declined the penalty. Miami, faced with a 3rd and 7, converted and subsequently went on to score a touchdown on the drive.
“It was 2nd and 7, it was probably right on edge, probably 3rd and 8 is kind of what you’re looking at from a statistical standpoint of decline the penalty in that situation and play 3rd and 8 instead of 2nd and 17. It’s right on the edge of it,” Patricia said.
“(I) just thought we were in good field position. We had a good call. We were playing alright at that point as far as what they were doing and just thought we wanted to stay in rhythm in the game. Sometimes it’s about how the guys are playing at that moment. So probably right on the edge of it. Again, hindsight, probably should have pushed them back.”
How does Patricia measure efficiency in the run game?
Obviously, what the Lions did Sunday on the ground falls into the efficiency category. They gained 248 yards as a team, the most since 1997. Johnson had 158 yards, the most since Jahvid Best (163) in 2011. As a team, the Lions averaged 7.1 yards per carry in Miami.
Coaches aren’t strictly stat driven, however, when it comes to evaluating the run.
“You know what the run game, it’s tricky with that,” Patricia said. “I think if you just look at pure stats you’re not really getting a good picture of what the game was in general.”
Patricia said runs at the end of the game that help them milk the clock, while not flashy, are efficient in his book. A one-and-a-half-yard run on 2nd or 3rd and 1 is an efficient run, even the stat book might not bear that out.
“Obviously in general numbers, big numbers, if you can run the ball successfully for a lot of yards then obviously that’s what you’re looking for,” Patricia said. “But there’s some probably hidden numbers in there that probably don’t come out in the final stat, if that makes any sense.”
On the importance of players like TJ Jones and Nick Bellore making the most of their opportunities:
Jones, the team’s fourth receiver, played just eight snaps, but he had a key 26-yard reception on a 1st and 25 on the team’s opening touchdown drive.
Bellore played only 14 snaps at fullback, but had a couple huge blocks, including the one on Blount’s score.
“That’s part of the game,” Patricia said. “We have to have 11 guys out there working together and certainly TJ in his case was a great route, great identification by the quarterback of seeing the coverage and it was a really good throw.
“Nick is another great example of a guy who’s not going to have a lot of stats, but I’m sure if we were productive at all, it’s going to be a big part of what he’s doing out there on the field. That’s kind of the overall evaluation when you go through the film of everybody doing their job in that scheme and what exactly it was that they needed to do on that play to make the play productive.”