The Detroit Lions aren’t going to panic over a couple of uninspiring performances by the offense in the preseason. It’s the preseason. Exhibition games. Meaningless. Still coach Jim Schwartz would like to see a little more production out of the starters led by quarterback Matthew Stafford in Thursday’s game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field. “That would help you sleep a little bit better for sure” Schwartz said Monday following practice. Receiver Nate Burleson went a little further vowing that the struggling offense “will answer those questions” this week. This will be the third preseason game which is when the first-teamers typically get their most snaps in sort of a dress rehearsal for the regular season. The Lions’ starting offense has failed to score a touchdown settling for two field goals in seven possessions in their first two games a 26-17 victory over the New York Jets and a 24-6 loss to Cleveland. Stafford has completed 14-of-24 passes (58.3 percent) for 132 yards leaving him with a mediocre quarterback rating of 73.6. The highlight came in the opener when he connected with Calvin Johnson for 28- and 22-yard gains on consecutive plays. Johnson didn’t play in the second game because of a bruised knee. Running back Reggie Bush had five receptions for 44 yards against Cleveland but he's averaging just 1.8 yards per rushing attempt (20 yards on 11 carries) largely because the revamped offensive line hasn’t been opening holes for him. Burleson the team’s No. 2 receiver has no receptions. The offense went three-and-out on its first three possessions against the Browns. “Offense is about execution” Stafford said. “We just haven’t done that as well as we needed to.” Stafford insists he’s still encouraged by how training camp has progressed. “I’m really pleased” he said. “We’ve had a great offseason as far as off the field. We’ve had a great offseason on the field. Guys have put a lot of hard work in. We’ve got new guys that have stepped up came in and learned our system whether it’s on offense or on defense and are contributing. I’m excited about it.” Burleson who turned 32 Monday and is coming back from a broken leg suffered last season admitted he’ll put a little more credibility into Thursday’s performance than he did the first two. “It’s the biggest indication of how your starters are going to play” Burleson said in reference to the third preseason game. “We need to create some momentum. We need to get going.” Like all teams the Lions haven’t done much game-planning in the preseason. They’ve also held back key elements in their offense package.
Lions' starting offense lacks execution
Fox Sports Detroit | Aug 20