Though the Detroit Lions were able to upset the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL’s season opener on September 7, their offense struggled to move the ball at times and even quarterback Jared Goff admitted that the team “didn’t play our best ball.”
But one insider suggests a small change to the lineup that could bring a big change to the passing game, inserting promising rookie Antoine Green and reducing the role of veteran Marvin Jones. John Maakaron of SI.com’s All Lions suggested that Green, who was active but saw no time on the field on Thursday, could provide a spark to the Lions’ offense.
Rookie Could Provide a ‘Spark’
Maakaron suggested that the Lions could get an important boost by giving a bigger role to Green, who proved to be a competent deep threat during the preseason.
“Veteran Marvin Jones played 56 percent of offensive snaps, while Green did not see the field at all,” Maakaron wrote. “A slight reduction in Jones’ playing time could spark the deep passing game as the Lions’ offense looks to correct issues that made the game against the Chiefs challenging.”
The Lions are still without Jameson Williams, the field-stretching receiver who is suspended for the next five weeks for violating the league’s rules against gambling. Maakaron suggested that Green could fill some of that role in next week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, giving offensive coordinator Ben Johnson “an additional weapon to open up the passing game.”
Goff hinted that the Lions would need to do more to boost their offense, even though they were able to do enough to beat the Chiefs on Thursday night.
“When you don’t play your best, but you find a way in the fourth quarter to get a stop on defense, to get a first down on offense, to make those catches that Josh Reynolds made and be able to score on that long drive we had,” Goff said. “That’s what we’re starting to become now and it’s a good feeling.”
Veteran’s Rough Game in Season Opener
Jones made a costly mistake in Thursday’s game, losing a fumble with just under six minutes remaining in the first half and the Lions pushing into the red zone. USA Today’s Zack Moran labeled Jones a “dud” of the game, noting that the first fumble of his career came at a very inopportune time for the veteran receiver.
“Unfortunately, Jones had a bad start to the season,” he wrote. “He was targeted six times but only caught two passes, one of which turned into a fumble, the first of his career, that resulted in ending a Lions red-zone drive.”
Moran added that the Lions appeared to move away from Jones within the game, which could be a bad sign for his role going forward.
“After a few drops and mistakes, it seemed like [Jared] Goff was avoiding throwing the ball to Jones,” Moran wrote. “Hopefully, the experienced player can learn from this game; otherwise, his role in the team could be reduced.”