Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had a miserable Week 1 performance, throwing four interceptions on Monday Night Football in a 48-17 loss to the New York Jets. The Lions looked like they were going to thump New York early running back a pick six on Sam Darnold’s first pass attempt of the game, but things changed in a hurry.
After the game, Jets defensive players had a rather shocking revelation. They knew what was coming based on Stafford’s hand signals.
A number of Jets defenders said they knew what plays the Lions were going to run based on formation and Stafford hand signals. Allowed them to jump routes, get five picks.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) September 11, 2018
The Lions hired a new head coach this offseason in Matt Patricia, but he chose to retain offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. That would explain similar hand signals, but it does not explain why the Lions offense looked out of rhythm as they did.
It was a rough night for Detroit, with a poor performance coupled with numerous injuries. Matthew Stafford appeared to injure his knee early, but finished out a drive. He later left with a rib injury and was replaced by Matt Cassel. Stafford returned later before being benched in the fourth quarter. Just as important, Darius Slay (head) and edge rusher Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) both left with injuries, and their statuses for Week 2 is unknown.
The San Francisco 49ers host the Lions next Sunday, and Detroit is in a tough spot. They are going on the road after a short week dealing with a host of injuries after an embarrassing season opener. The 49ers are a field goal favorite, coming off their own eight point loss to the Vikings. I don’t think recency bias will have a big impact on the betting numbers, but it will be interesting to see if and how the line moves the next few days.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media right around kickoff of the Lions game, and was asked if he would watch the broadcast. He said he prefers to wait until he has full tape so he can watch coverages and other things, while also being able to fast forward and rewind the tape. Here’s what he had to say as the 49ers begin preparations for the Lions.
Will you watch the game tonight for the audio of calls or how do you approach it when the team you’re playing is on Monday Night Football?
“I wait until it’s on tape that I can see everything. I don’t know how people get opinions off of watching it on TV because you see the quarterback, you see where the ball goes, you have no idea what the front’s coverages are. It’s just, I think it’s very hard to see unless you can have a fast forward and rewind remote, you can see the sideline copy, the end zone copy. So, I’m not going to waste too much time watching it until we get it into our computers.”
Is there anything you can pick up from the audio?
“Yeah, you can. We have other guys who do that type of stuff. I know a lot of coaches and organizations, they have someone sitting there listening to every call the center makes, all that stuff, stuff you can give D-Linemen, snap counts, things like that. It gets harder the more people are mic’d up, but also it’s fun for people to think the words you’re going to use and then change them the next week also and get people to jump offsides. So, there’s always that cat and mouse game, how much you want to commit to that stuff. You commit a lot to that stuff and it doesn’t work out the way you planned then you’re going to be in trouble. So, you take a little and then you ignore it sometimes, too.”