Joe Barry : Working on “Above the Neck Stuff”



"“The effort is there, but the above-the-neck stuff is sometimes not there,” Barry said. “We have a little lapse mentally, a missed tackle here or there. That’s not due to a lack of effort or a bust. It’s just simply not making a play.“That happens all of the time. I mean, around the league you see those things happen. It just seems, for whatever reason, it’s intensified with us. When we screw something up, instead of it being an 8- or 10-yard gain — bam! — it’s a 60-yard gain.”The breakdowns have been costly. Against Houston, Steve Slaton broke a 37-yard run on the third play. Against Minnesota, Bernard Berrian scored on an 86-yard reception.“That’s what’s been happening: it’s here and there,” defensive tackle Shaun Cody said. “We’ll put together five, six good straight plays and then someone will have a mental breakdown here, lose a gap there.“It’s definitely not a question of effort. Guys aren’t sitting around and not playing hard. It’s just being in the right spot.”Barry noted that the Lions have put up similar defensive stats to the Texans’ and Vikings’ four most recent opponents. The key, Barry said, was to eliminate the handful of mistakes at crucial times.“Usually, the teams that win make those five or eight plays, and the teams that lose screw them up,” he said. “We’ve been screwing up those plays. As soon as we stop doing that and play consistent football, Play 1 through Play 65, we’ll give ourselves a damn chance.”"

“When we screw something up, instead of it being an 8- or 10-yard gain — bam! — it’s a 60-yard gain.” 

That’s my favorite part. I don’t think it’s just mental. See… we’re going to just have to pull the dead horse out and flog the crap out of it. TALENT TALENT TALENT. Talent that we don’t gots people.

Especially this season. The bottom line is that they are 0-6 and they haven’t been anywhere near competitive in 5 of them. I exclude the Vikings game because they didn’t go down 21-0, that was the high mark of the season. The only time the Lions have shown semblance’s of competitiveness has been typically when the opponent has tuned out. When they’ve let off the throttle and lulled themselves into wondering what they’ll have for dinner before the flight home or hoping their wife baked a delicious apple pie for their return home. Remember that Green Bay game? Yeah, the Lions “Came Back” to lead by a point, but note that final score. Yeesh. The Pack just decided to win the game.

Joe Barry has the best of intentions I’m sure. He seems like a hard working guy, right? The problem is that the Tampa Cover 2 is like trying to run Buddy Ryan’s 46. It’s a specific system that was taylored to one of the most talented sets of defensive players ever assembled. We have a mish-mash of guys that Tampa Bay cut from the team. And Boden. And that’s not working out so well. So… It’s not just the ‘above the neck stuff’. This core of players just isn’t good enough. Sorry Joe. Better luck at your next job.

So guess we can just keep trying, listen to the games on the radio (’cause no one wants to go anymore) and wait for the new guys.