It’s been easy to identify the Detroit Lions‘ biggest problem as their defense this season, but much harder to pick out why the team has struggled or find a potential fix.
So far, many have contended the defensive line is in the worst shape and is the biggest reason for the team’s struggles. A new analysis by Pro Football Focus, though, puts the blame in perhaps a much more acceptable place.
In a ranking of the secondaries across the league, by writer Marcus Mosher, the Lions placed dead last at 32nd overall. As Mosher pointed out, that has been due in part to some bad luck, but also some awful play.
“The Lions have endured some unfortunate luck at cornerback, including multiple injuries. They’ve been forced to use Will Harris at cornerback, a safety by trade. They have also lost Tracy Walker for the season due to an injury, and this is now the NFL’s worst secondary. The hope is that the Lions can get a few players back from injuries, but even then, it is still a bad unit,” he wrote.
That bad unit might be set to get even worse with some of the offenses it is set to face in the coming weeks. The Lions have dates against the Dolphins, Packers, Bills, Cowboys and Giants through November, which doesn’t paint a good picture of a turnaround.
Right now, the Lions have earned the distinction of having the league’s worst secondary. There isn’t much to debate on this fact.
Lions Doomed by Poor Secondary in 2022
Entering into this season, many folks were pushing the panic button about the Detroit secondary, and so far, their analysis has been justified given the play of the group.
Outside of a bounce-back season from Jeff Okudah, the team has struggled. Amani Oruwariye has struggled and was recently benched. Beyond that, the team has some depth in Mike Hughes, Bobby Price and Chase Lucas, but players have been hurt and inconsistent in the second level. Will Harris is also possible of playing a role, but has been inconsistent.
Jerry Jacobs will come back and lend to some depth once he is off injury midseason, and AJ Parker was called up from the team’s practice squad and will have to work his way in. Both played key roles in 2021. The hope is that the Lions get solid turnaround play on the back end, but as this analysis reveals, they might not be able to do so in time.
Statistically, the Lions have the 26th overall pass defense in the NFL, and have given up 261 yards per-game average as well as eight touchdowns. Combined with just two interceptions, it’s clear Detroit isn’t getting it done on the back end.
Something might have to be done to correct this gigantic problem, or else the Lions may indeed finish with the worst defense in the history of the NFL. Nobody on the team or the staff should want to see that happen whatsoever.
Trade Could Help Fuel Lions Turnaround
How can the Lions fix this problem if not getting some players back that could help bring them back to bad or average? A few trade options do exist ahead of the deadline on November 1.
Already, the team has seen some names come into focus that can provide a veteran boost to the roster. Specifically, the Lions have been encouraged to deal for a veteran with some youth on their side that could fit in a man scheme. This year, plenty of players may fit that criteria well.
Starting with Sidney Jones, the Lions could find a fit for a trade with a player in Seattle that is on the outs and has a connection with the staff being he played for Todd Wash in Jacksonville. From there, William Jackson III is on the market and could fit, though his cost might be prohibitive in terms of contract.
Additionally, Bryce Hall of the Jets could be a perfect fit. Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo reported he will be placed on the block by the time the trade deadline rolls around. Hall has enough youth that he could fit in both now and later for the Lions’ plan.
Any of these players could provide the kind of fix the Lions are looking for at the position right now with potential for the future. What is clear? Something needs to happen to turn around arguably the worst secondary in the NFL.