The Detroit Lions have been close to winning some big games in 2019, but more often than not, they have fallen short thanks mostly to the troubles of their defense.
This season, the group just hasn’t strung together enough consistent performances week to week in order to have a winning record. Clearly, the Lions know that’s something which has to change in order for them to have better results on the field and more wins to their credit in a vital second half stretch of the season.
After an embarrassing whitewash against the Minnesota Vikings, finding a way to be better was a common theme, from the players to the coaching staff. Linebacker Devon Kennard was amongst the first to stand up and make a statement about where things need to go.
“It’s disappointing, Very frustrating. Nobody’s coming to save us. We need to bond together to try and figure things out and find ways to stop these offenses,” he told the media.
Detroit’s run defense has been a big part of the problem, and Kennard isn’t sure what the team isn’t doing now that they have done before.
“I can’t put my finger on one thing that is or isn’t being done. Collectively, we aren’t getting the job done and that needs to change,” he said.
Justin Coleman thinks it’s as simple as execution for the team, as well as seeing some guys starting to dig deep in order to make a few plays.
“We just got to execute better. That’s it. Play a little bit harder and give a little bit more,” he told the media.
Easier said than done, but important nonetheless.
Matt Patricia’s Idea
If there’s anyone who knows the value of defense to a team, it’s Patricia, who has presided over some of the better groups in the league. According to Patricia, though, the Lions have to focus in on the fundamentals.
“We got to just keep pounding away to get it better,” Patricia told the media honestly on Monday. The statement was specifically about the rush defense, but it could have been a metaphor for the whole entire group.
How does Patricia propose that? By staying aggressive as a teacher and emphasizing what the Lions can do better in terms of fundamentals. As he admitted to the media, he believes in Detroit’s scheme, but thinks the team needs to find a way to continue to improve. As he said, he believes that falls on him as a teacher with some of the things that he can emphasize week to week for Detroit to improve upon.
In terms of positives, Patricia told the media that he points to the way the team has played opposing quarterbacks prior to Kirk Cousins as a solid point. Obviously, however, even that can be called into question after this performance.
Top to bottom, the numbers don’t paint the picture of an improving unit in Detroit. The Lions have struggled this season statistically, and the numbers show they are in the league basement in most categories. Currently, in total defense the Lions are 8th overall. The Lions have a bottom three pass defense allowing an ugly 289 yards per-game. Their run defense isn’t that much better, allowing 139.2 yards per-game, good for another bottom five total in the league.
The bottom line is the Lions need to tighten the screws, something which is obvious to the players in addition to the coaching staff.
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