By Dan Hasty
The Lions lost 27-19 to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night. A number of intriguing storylines came from this game. While fans have to watch 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh celebrate another win over Jim Schwartz, there are things Lions fans should be confident moving forward.
WWJ Newsradio 950 Sports Anchor Dan Hasty checks in with his first edition of “Hasty Assumptions.”
San Francisco is good – like, ‘Super Bowl good’
San Francisco can’t play any worse than they played last night, and they still pulled off an eight-point win, which makes me a believer. Alex Smith may have the best quarterback coach on the planet in Jim Harbaugh, while their defense is one of the best in football. It’s tough competing against that. The Lions can’t hang their heads on a loss like this, as their rivals up in Green Bay lost to the same 49ers team by eight points, the same margin of defeat the Lions fell by. They’ll be better, and prove it next week with a win in Tennessee.
Joique Bell isn’t going anywhere
With Mikel LeShoure’s pending return, some have speculated that the future of running back Joique Bell is in question. Don’t buy it – there’s no way the Lions let him go. In the last two games, he was given and converted a carry at the goal-line in one game, while racking up 73 yards against one of the league’s best defenses in the other. On a team desperate for help at running back, he needs to stay. Joique Bell will improve modestly, and serve comfortably as the Lions insurance policy to Mikel Leshore the rest of this season.
Another receiver needs to step up
Coming into the season, Titus Young was slated to play a bigger role than what we’ve seen thus far. The person rooting hardest for Young is Calvin Johnson. A Lions receiver needs to step up in order to take pressure off Johnson, the best wide receiver in football. If the first two games are any indication, defenses are going to throw at least two, maybe three defenders on Megatron every single play. If Young, Nate Burleson or Ryan Broyles can start making big plays on the opposite side of the field, Calvin’s astronomical 2011 numbers will be possible again.
Offensive Line better than last year
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what I’ve seen from the Lions offensive line so far. Against arguably the most imposing pass rush in football, the Lions only gave up one sack. The Lions may have committed penalties on Sunday night, but few came from the offensive line. I rarely heard the names of Jeff Backus or Gosder Cherilus called out, which is the goal. The less you hear about them, the better off the Lions (and your blood pressure) will be.
Is Jim Harbaugh the next Larry Brown?
I’m interested to see what Jim Harbaugh becomes as his career develops. His fire and intensity work well on Sundays, but I wonder how that will carry over to his players off the field. Either he’s going to be a legend in San Francisco, or his career will parallel former Pistons coach Larry Brown: always successful, but wears out his welcome quickly. It deserves to be mentioned that Harbaugh has had three coaching jobs over the past nine years. I’ll be curious to see where he is five years from now.