Detroit Lions pass defense: From worst to…strong?
By Bruce Walker
Why should you be excited about Detroit’s pass defense this year?
The Lions inability to thwart the short pass while selling out to stop the explosive play was planned.
Why? Detroit did not have the speed or talent in the back seven to stay with the opposition so they intentionally kept the offense in front of them. This year’s draft and free agency hauls added significant talent to both the linebacker and secondary corps.
If rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis, the Lions first round pick, is able to experience the type of success 2016 first rounder and left tackle Taylor Decker did last year, that will be a huge boost to Detroit’s pass defense.
Granted, that is a big if. But until proven differently, I am going to trust Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn’s talent selection and development process.
The short pass gave the Lions much less time to pressure the passer. That will change this year.
Pop Quiz: Which of these statements do you believe is true?
A) A great secondary helps a defensive line to achieve more pressure on the quarterback by denying him open receivers to throw to.
B) An exceptional defensive line will be able to pressure a quarterback into making mistakes and greatly help the secondary win battles and increase takeaways.
C) Pizza is good.
D) All of the above.
The correct answer is D) All of the above. (If you answered “C”, that’s okay. Grab a snack and a refreshing beverage and try again!)
There is an interdependent relationship between every element of the defense. Improvement in one area helps the others.
Simply consider the fact that the increased athleticism in the linebacker corps will significantly improve the pass defense. Expect better coverage of tight ends, third receivers and running backs as well as shut down the previously conceded screens, slants and other short routes.
Weakness turned into strength.