Each offseason since Jim Schwartz and this coaching staff has been here, they, along with the players repeatedly mention one word: Continuity.
Besides a few minor changes to some of the assistant coaches, the group has remained intact for the past four years. The players, especially Stafford, have mentioned how that continuity and not changing playbooks have kept them ahead of the 8-ball, whereas other teams are learning new systems on a yearly basis.
There have been some wrinkles added into the offense that we’ve seen the past few weeks, namely the addition of a power run game with Mikel Leshoure, and most recently, utilizing max protection more with first-round pick Riley Reiff in as a sixth offensive lineman.
Despite that, the offense look eerily similar to what we’ve seen over and over again, and teams are catching onto it.
It is evident how teams are playing the Lions’ offense. Defenses have been utilizing a two-deep safety look over and over to try and limit big plays. While Stafford and Co. have had some success moving the football, the offense has not been consistent enough on drives. When you limit the big play, the Lions struggle to move the football.
Obviously, some of the responsibility goes towards the players. Stafford’s inaccuracy, pre-snap penalties and drops have plagued the offense through the first five games, especially in the first half. That points to Linehan and the game plan coming into each week.
Why wait until the last five minutes of the game to open up the offense? The team has all week to prepare for the defense that they will see, yet alterations to the offensive strategy don’t begin seemingly until the fourth quarter starts. With all of the pieces this front office has invested into its offense, there is no reason that this team should struggle to score until the last five minutes of the game.
It’s a given in the NFL that the offensive coordinator and his play-calling will be criticized during the season. It’s the easiest thing to do as a fan when your team is struggling. But this team will not get to the place it wants to be at the end of the season unless they get back to the offense they had in 2010.
At some point, that continuity this team preaches in the offseason, needs to take
place for 60 minutes instead of the last five.