After failing to cause a single turnover during a long string of games last season, creating takeaways must be a major focus for the Detroit Lions’ defense in 2017.
Last season, the Detroit Lions‘ defense struggled to create turnovers. In fact, they failed to record a single takeaway in their last six games, including the playoffs. Creating more turnovers this upcoming season must be a real priority.
The Lions’ tied for 28th in the NFL in takeaways in 2016, recording a total of 14. (10 interceptions, four fumble recoveries) No individual defender came away with more than two interceptions all year. And that includes veteran cornerback Darius Slay, a player some believe should have been named to the Pro Bowl last season.
According to Lions’ secondary coach Tony Oden, there are many factors that are involved in creating those turnovers. The key is taking full advantage of those opportunities when they arise.
"“Sometimes certain defenses, certain calls, interceptions may not happen as much,” Oden told the Detroit Free Press. “Not saying that’s the case, but just when the opportunity presents itself, if it presents itself only five times a year, make those five. [Slay’s] doing a good job out here catching extra balls, so he’s doing his part. So those things will come.”"
Of all the teams that made the playoffs last season, only the Lions (-1), the Houston Texans (-2) and the New York Giants (-7) posted a negative turnover differential. That being teams who gave the ball away more than they took it away from opponents.
Although the Detroit Lions’ offense ranked fifth in the NFL with the lowest amount of giveaways (15), their defense failed them by not creating more takeaways on their side of the ball. So creating turnovers should be a real focus for Detroit this upcoming season. And according to Oden, it all hinges on players taking advantage of those rare opportunities.