Free Head Exam: Detroit Lions

After the Detroit Lions' 45-10 victory against the Denver Broncos, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Matthew Stafford was speaking quickly Sunday as he walked reporters through his 56-yard touchdown pass to receiver Calvin Johnson. But I think I got the gist of it. Stafford called a "center double-head nod" on the play, partially because the Broncos had been jumping the Lions' snap count, but also because he wanted to see if safety Brian Dawkins would tip off his coverage by leaning toward Johnson at what he thought would be the snap. Otherwise, Johnson would be in single coverage against Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. Dawkins didn't lean, according to Stafford, and that's why he decided to give Johnson a shot down the left sideline.

  2. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think you're taking it too far if you think Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch was mocking the act of prayer and/or God by "Tebowing" after a sack in the first half Sunday. I'm guessing Tulloch got some pushback from somewhere, because Monday he tweeted: "I have a love & passion for the game of football. Football is a form of entertainment. Have a sense of humor, I wasn't mocking GOD! #Tebowing." Yes. Let's everyone lighten up on this one.

  3. Many of us probably imagined Tulloch as a traditional run-stopping middle linebacker when he arrived from the Tennessee Titans. So it's been interesting to see the Lions put Tulloch in a spy role twice this season, on Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tulloch has performed well in those situations, generating a sack in each game and giving running quarterbacks that face the Lions in the future something to consider. "Whenever you have a quarterback like that, as a free player in man coverage, you don't want to take your eyes off him," Tulloch said.

And here is one issue I still don't get:

Are the Lions going to get running back Jahvid Best back this season? I'm not sure if anyone knows the answer to that question. It's obviously taking some time for Best to recover from his second concussion in three months. The bye will give him a third week of recovery. Although every concussion is different and all are unpredictable, they typically fall into a couple of categories in the NFL. One requires perhaps a week or two of downtime before a return to the field. The other takes longer and begins to impact conditioning and other factors. If Best isn't ready to play when the Lions return from their bye, it will be fair to question the likelihood of a 2011 return. Monday, coach Jim Schwartz told reporters: "We'll see. It’s one of those things that you really can’t have a timetable on."