The Detroit Lions offense struggled last season. With the running game ranked just 28th in 2014 and the offensive line giving up an average of nearly 3 sacks a game, Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions offense had trouble finding any rhythm. Injuries and a lack of depth on the offensive line were the biggest reason for the Lions offensive struggles in 2014.
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That lack of depth was the catalyst for this years offseason that saw the Lions add young talent and veteran leadership giving the team a perfect blend of experience and athleticism.
It is the athleticism that has the Lions Franchise quarterback brimming with renewed confidence.
"“They look extremely athletic,” he said after Thursday’s open OTA practice. “Anytime you have a bunch of young guys in there, I kind of equate it to young running backs. You watch them run and they just have no regard for their body. They go out there and they run and they play hard and they play physical and o-line, I think, is the same way.“It’s fun to watch these guys just move around and the athletic ability we have up there right now at this point is pretty awesome.”"
Confidence will be important for Matt Stafford and the offense who are playing in the second year of Joe Lombardi’s offense. It looked as if Stafford was holding back at times last season. Whether the apprehension was due to unfamiliarity with the new offense or suspect protection up front will never be known. That said any apprehension about having the time to get the ball downfield could be erased this year if the line continues to progress in OTAs and beyond.
Jim Caldwell expressed optimism to Tim Twentymen of Detroilions.com and is pleased with the effort so far.
"“If guys are getting in the right position and having their hands in the right spot, that’s really what you’re looking for,” Stafford said of what’s important in June. “We’re not perfect, but these guys are giving great effort and learning every day.”"
Of course there is more to offense than just passing the ball and Stafford’s success getting the ball downfield will depend largely on an improved running game. A healthy stable of running backs plus improvement on the front line should be an equation for rushing success. Now its up to the players to execute.