The Detroit Lions push into their early bye week, and have completed the first four games of their 2019 season. Thus far, they’ve made some waves with what they’ve been able to do on the field.
Detroit has a quick bye week this season, and it will provide some of their players who have been banged up through the first four rough games of the year a chance to heal up and get right for an important push.
So far, what can be said about the Lions? Here’s a look at the top things the team has taught its fans through the first part of the season into their break.
1. They Will Empty the Tank
In 2018, there was questions about whether or not Matt Patricia’s message was sticking with the team. Those issues have been more than worked out, as the team is playing together and seems to have bought in nearly completely to the message that their new staff has imparted. The mantra “empty the tank” has become somewhat of a rallying cry for the team giving its all. So far, they’ve done that and then some through the early stages.
Last season in early October, the murmurs of discontent were being strongly reported. This year, the Lions are willing to work, put in the effort and are grinding unlike ever before for the common goal of winning and playing championship football. Every game the Lions have competed until the bitter end and not quit. That’s emptying the tank to be certain.
2. The Defense can Become Elite
Even though the 2018 Lions were 6-10, there were signs that the team would soon be ready to turn over a new leaf on the defensive side of the ball. Patricia had Detroit as a top 10 unit in the league by the time the season ended, and had authored big wins against the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers. He had also put a scare into the Los Angeles Rams.
Flash forward to 2019, and the Lions are playing together on the defensive side like never before. They have only allowed 95 total points, recovered 6 fumbles and collected 2 interceptions. While their collective numbers aren’t yet great, it’s important to remember the Lions have played multiple tough offenses to start and have remained above water.
3. Offensive Balance is Being Achieved
Don’t look now, but the Lions currently have the 8th overall offense in the NFL. They’ve rushed for 482 yards and 1 touchdown. perhaps more impressive, the team is averaging 120.5 yards per-game thus far with Kerryon Johnson and company toting the rock. That’s a far cry from the laughing stock ground game the team has had in the past. While they haven’t piled up the touchdowns as of yet, the offensive line is paving the way by opening big holes.
Throwing the ball, Matthew Stafford has been efficient to the tune of 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. The team has thrown for 1,068 yards and has the 10th rated passing attack. It’s tough to say whether the Lions are better through the air or on the ground, and that is merely proof that Darrell Bevell’s vision for the offense is being achieved.
4. They can Play With Anyone
It’s not easy to go into Philadelphia and win, nor is it easy to hold a high-flying Los Angeles Chargers offensive attack to a mere 10 points in a victory. Detroit was able to do both of those things in the first four games of the season, while also competing tooth and nail with the Kansas City Chiefs as well. These efforts against top tier competition have proven that the Lions can hang with any team on their schedule this season they are yet to encounter. Arguably, they’ve survived the early gauntlet in impressive enough fashion to have hope for a serious second half run.
Detroit shouldn’t fear the teams they will tangle with in the NFC North, as all of those squads have issues of their own. The Lions have a great chance to finally claim the division thanks to what they have shown the first few weeks of the season against all kinds of elite opposition.
5. Bob Quinn is Earning Even More Trust
Many Lions fans have been left to scratch their heads with some of the picks Quinn has made in the draft and some of the moves he has made in free agency, but the plan is paying off. Watching names such as Kenny Golladay, Jahlani Tavai, Justin Coleman, Tracy Walker and Kerryon Johnson succeed early in 2019 shows that Quinn’s plan is coming together in terms of personnel. He’s also managed the salary cap well enough that the Lions can afford a decent midseason addition if they remain in the hunt.
Fans have been quick to question what Quinn has done as general manager and the moves he has made, but it has taken time to re-shape the team in his desired image. Thus far in 2019, that image appears to be coming into focus, which means folks should give Quinn the benefit of the doubt.
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