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Last year Michael Gallup Jersey Stitched , the Detroit Lions started 3-1 and didn't make the playoffs 鈥?so what happens in September doesn't have to define the season.The Lions better hope that's the case, because a loss at Dallas last weekend has them in a hole."There's a lot of work in front of us," first-year coach Matt Patricia said Monday. "I think we're learning a lot about our team. I think we see a lot of different things on the field. I would say these guys are tough, these guys work extremely hard. They will fight all the way to the end for 60 minutes."The Lions appeared to be rallying a bit when they beat New England two weekends ago, but Sunday's 26-24 loss to the Cowboys left them at 1-3.Detroit certainly looks more competitive now than it did in a 31-point loss to the Jets in the opener, but the reality is that the regular season is now 25 percent over, and the Lions are in last place in the NFC North.A huge home game with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay looms this coming weekend 鈥?the first divisional matchup of the season for the Lions."He is an elite player, I think that goes without saying," defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand said. "Everybody knows him, and they've got a great team."It's still fairly early, but dropping to 1-4 would put Detroit in a tough spot heading into its open date.The Lions have been outscored 59-17 in the third quarter this season. In all three of their defeats Youth Dorance Armstrong Jersey , they faced double-digit deficits entering the fourth.Detroit was down 20-10 after three periods Sunday, but eventually took a 24-23 lead on Matthew Stafford's 38-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate with 2:17 remaining.Detroit's defense couldn't hold. Dallas drove into field goal range and made the winning kick on the game's final play."I think when you play in those types of games where you're kind of relying on last possession or it's coming down to the end when there's really no control in the game, I would say you're kind of holding your breath," Patricia said."These are extremely good teams on both sides of the ball and good offenses that you have to face for us as an opponent. We obviously have an offense that can do a good job there at the end of the game of coming back but you don't want to be in that position."The Lions struggled to contain Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 152 yards on 25 carries and had four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.Meanwhile, Detroit couldn't build on its encouraging rushing performance against the Patriots . Rookie Kerryon Johnson ran for 55 yards and a touchdown against Dallas, but he had only nine carries."I think we have a lot of really good running backs and I think we try to use them appropriately. I think Kerryon played a significant amount of the game," Patricia said."We had two other running backs, plus we had a couple two-minute drives in there with some other personnel packages and things like that. So, there were quite a few reps in there for Kerryon."The Lions have allowed 157.8 yards rushing per game, the worst mark in the NFL through Sunday's games."We just have to get better. Get back in the meeting rooms Dorance Armstrong Jersey Stitched , lock in, be on one accord, all 11 even the backups," linebacker Eli Harold said. "We just have to find out what is killing us in the running game obviously, and just go from there."2018 Dallas Cowboys rookie class falling short of previous rookie classes... so far [Ed. Note: A previous version of this article contained some incorrect data that has since been corrected, but has necessitated a partial rewrite. Apologies.]The 2018 Cowboys draft class has gotten off to a so-so start into its first NFL season, as things started off on the wrong foot almost from the beginning with this yearís rookies. First-round pick Leighton Vander Esch suffered a groin strain that kept him out of action for three preseason games. WR Cedrick Wilson suffered a shoulder injury in the first padded practice of training camp and was placed on injured reserve, which means he will not play a snap for the Cowboys until at least 2019. RB Bo Scarbrough didnít make it through final roster cuts, and has been languishing on the practice squad.Driven partly by injuries and partly by other considerations, this yearís rookie class has only started in a somewhat disappointing five games so far. But a look at the snap counts gives us a more positive view of this draft class than the number of starts does. Hereís on overview of the offensive and defensive snaps accumulated by the 2018 draft class so far this season: The 2018 draft class has combined for 563 snaps on offense and defense, which adds up to 10.2% of all snaps the offense and defense have played in four games.Compared to recent draft classes Youth Dalton Schultz Jersey , thatís not a bad number. Here are the snap percentages of the last 11 years, keeping in mind that the data from 2007-2017 is for the full rookie seasons, while the 2018 number is for the first four weeks only. If we assume that adding the equivalent of two starters (or 9.1% of all snaps) to the roster is a good target for a rookie class, then the Cowboys look to have been fairly successful at restocking their talent cupboard over the previous five drafts, and the 2018 draft looks to have surpassed that benchmark (as measured by snap percentages), even if it comes in at the lower end of the percentages established by the recent draft classes ... so far. But itís early days.When you ask around what constitutes a successful draft, the answer youíre most likely to get is that if you get two starters out of a rookie class, youíve done a good job. Veteran NFL General Managers like Baltimoreís Ozzie Newsome set three starters as the benchmark for a successful draft, but those three guys donít have to be first-year starters, eventual starters in later years count as well.Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Baltimore Ravens who now works for NFL Network Dalton Schultz Jersey Stitched , explained Newsomeís thinking.Do the Cowboys have three future starters in the 2018 draft class? Connor Williams (4 starts) is already a starter. Leighton Vander Esch (1 start) looks like a future starter, especially after his standout performance against the Lions (PFF included him in their team of the week). After missing most of preseason, the Cowboys have been slowly ramping up his snap counts, and heíll likely not be a full starter as long as Sean Lee is around (and healthy), but his future looks bright.Michael Gallup hasnít had a start yet, but given the housecleaning likely to happen at WR after the season, he looks like a lock to be a future starter.Those three players may be enough to keep this draft class above the 9.1% threshold by the end of the season. But it sure would be nice if the rest of the draft class steps up and moves this class more in the direction of the 2013 or 2016 draft classes - even if that may not happen before next year.



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Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:47 pm