Detroit Lions Free Agency Overview: Offense


At the beginning of this past season, many Detroit Lions fans were skeptical about how the defense would perform.  There were plenty of question marks.  There were concerns over the depth of the linebacking corps, the evolution of the defensive line, and plenty of questions surrounding the defensive backs.  Would Rashean Mathis show his age (in a negative way)?  Would Darius Slay grow into a starting caliber corner?  How would newcomer James Ihedigbo hold up?

Not many were worried about the offense.  After finishing the 2013 season sixth in total offense (third in passing), it seemed like the sky was the limit for Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense. Add the acquisition of Golden Tate to complement Calvin Johnson, the drafting of Eric Ebron to bring explosion and athleticism to the tight end corps, and another year of continuity for the same starting offensive line, and all signs pointed towards a terrific season of offensive fireworks.

More from Lions News

Unfortunately that success plan blew up in our collective Lions fans faces.  Tate was every bit as good as advertised, Stafford reduced his turnovers significantly, Joique Bell offered versatility out of the backfield, and Megatron was Megatron (when fully healthy).  But not much else went right.  Reggie Bush couldn’t stay healthy, the offensive line regressed, the tight ends produced very little, the receiving corps showed a lack of depth (beyond Johnson and Tate), and Stafford spent too much time running for his life.  The Lions offense finished the season 19th overall (12th in passing and 28th in rushing).  Underwhelming would be an understatement.

The good news is the defense turned into a force to be reckoned with (2nd overall in total defense, and 1st in rushing yards allowed).  In fact, as the Lions navigate this offseason, they don’t have many defensive holes to plug.  Re-sign Rashean Mathis and find any way to sign Ndamukong Suh, draft for depth, and the Lions defense will be set for another successful season.

Photograph: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions offense?  That is a much more complicated affair.  The offense has many issues, and the Lions would be wise to address some of those issues in free agency.  First and foremost, the Lions have to get improved play from their starting offensive linemen.  Travis Swanson is penciled in at center, and Larry Warford will be back at right guard.  Riley Reiff will return, and start (somewhere).

But left guard Rob Sims is a free agent, and his play declined last season.  Mike Iupati and Clint Boling are younger options with more upside.  And what about right tackle?  That position was a revolving door last season (due to injuries and performance) between LaAdrian Waddle, Corey Hilliard, and Cornelius Lucas.  The Lions need some stability there and Bryan Bulaga or Michael Oher could fit the bill, if the Lions decide they want fix things via free agency.

The Lions offense has other needs (a reliable third receiver, and an explosive running back to replace Reggie Bush, if the Lions decide to part ways with him), but the offensive line is the most glaring. Could the Lions seek a fix through the draft?  Sure, they could, but the Lions offensive line play was so offensive last year, it would be wise to start upgrading the unit as soon as possible.  March 7th can’t get here soon enough.

More from SideLion Report