A big problem for the Detroit Lions during the 2021 season was the team’s inability to produce major plays on offense, but the good news that could be set to change in the future thanks to a new addition.
While DJ Chark may have come to Detroit lacking fanfare, the wide receiver offers the team some major potential for big plays, especially deep down the field. That’s what the Lions offense was missing in 2021, and with Chark in the fold, Detroit could find hitting some of those big plays more plentiful. Combined with other weapons, that could make the Lions a tough team come 2022, especially in the NFC North.
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ESPN analysts Jeremy Fowler and Jordan Reid took a recent look at grading moves teams have made within free agency within an Insider piece, and when it came to the Lions, only one move was discussed in the team’s addition of Chark to the roster. The signing was given a ‘B’ grade by the site, and called reasonable relative to the money and one-year term. There’s some risk, but the chance for reward as well.
As Fowler admitted, though, “an offensive arsenal of Chark, St. Brown, Reynolds and D’Andre Swift can be a threat in the NFC North alongside a quality offensive line.”
In terms of the draft, Reid wrote that the addition of Chark shouldn’t exactly prevent the Lions from adding more players at the position in the future, especially beginning with the 32nd pick and also continuing on with the 34th pick, which is the second of the second round on Friday night.
As a whole, this analysis seems right. The Lions feel as if they can be the team that taps into Chark’s potential, and if that plays out, Detroit has enough weaponry to make things interesting. A healthy D’Andre Swift in the backfield as well as Frank Ragnow at center and T.J. Hockenson at tight end will give the Lions more firepower than they had on the field late last year.
While the Lions might not be the best in the division, the team certainly has the goods to compete in a bigger way, and that could be bad news for their competition.
Lions’ 2022 Offense Figures to Pack More Punch
In 2021, Detroit’s offense sputtered to the finish line. The team had trouble from the start of the season until the emergence of a few top wide receivers on the scene, notably Amon-Ra St. Brown who has taken on the look of a player who is going to be a stud in the making at the position. Others helped out, including the recently re-signed Josh Reynolds, who added a deep ball element to the mix as well as Kalif Raymond, a shifty player that was able to earn a look in 2022 with his own big play potential. Obviously, for any 3-13-1 team, there’s things the Lions have to improve upon.
Last season, Detroit had only 23 passing touchdowns, which was an incredibly low total. The team also only rushed for 12 total scores on the season as well. These ugly totals showed that the team simply did not manufacture enough winning plays. The Lions also have to find a way to be better than putting up 5,484 yards, good for a lousy 22nd in the league.
The hope is that Chark, and potentially other additions, can help get them over the hump in a big way this year.
Chark’s Stats & Highlights
It’s easy to like Chark, a former Pro Bowl player. It seems the Lions have managed to find a player who has a big body that can make catches in traffic which could help their offense as a whole. Chark is that guy, and has been for some time in Jacksonville. He could be earning himself a nice pay bump as a result. Chark came into the league in 2018 as a second-round pick out of LSU and was a 2019 Pro Bowl player. Statistically, he’s been solid as well with 2,042 yards and 15 touchdowns thus far in his career. Here’s a look at some of his best plays so far:
The Lions need a player who can make a big catch in the red zone or down the field in a contested manner. Chark is their guy to do just that and more. Giving him a nice payday could help the team take off offensively during the 2022 season. The hope is he can manage to bounce back and look healthy off his injury, and that is what the Lions are betting on.
If it plays out that way, the Lions could certainly look like a much better team in 2022 and might even be able to surprise some folks.