The Detroit Lions continue to struggle running the ball in the Motor City. According to head coach Jim Caldwell, it comes down to poor execution.
The Detroit Lions struggles in the running game as well known. Which is ironic for a team from the “Motor City” and whose most famous player is a Hall of Fame running back.
But it’s clear, the Lions are a pass-first team and have been for several years. And although the franchise seems to understand the importance of possessing a balanced offense, they absolutely refuse to commit to the running game at times.
The moment things start to go south for Detroit, they instantly abandon their rushing attack and ask quarterback Matthew Stafford to carry the load of the offense.
And the fact Stafford is a terrific quarterback, as well as the highest paid player in NFL history, makes it an easy choice for this Jim Bob Cooter-led pass heavy offense to turn to their franchise player at the very hint of any offensive instability.
This offseason, the Lions front office did nothing to upgrade their running back position, hoping former second round selection Ameer Abdullah would finally breakout to become the premier running back they hope he’d become coming out of the 2015 NFL Draft.
But so far this season, Abdullah has posted 369 rushing yards and one touchdown in seven games. And the Lions rushing offense ranks 28th in the NFL. But according to Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell, there no magic formula for making the running game work better. It’s simply a lack of execution.
"“There’s no magic to it,” Caldwell told the team’s official website recently. “It’s just strictly working at what you’re doing, getting better, execution has to be better. We didn’t execute as well as we’re capable.”"
In Sunday’s five point loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions’ running game was only able to muster four yards on five rushing attempts in the red zone. That included a failed third down run at Pittsburgh’s one-yard line by running back Dwayne Washington in the third quarter, which led to one of the Lions’ two now infamous failed fourth down attempts.
Not being able to run the ball consistently isn’t a new problem in the Motor City. And the Detroit Lions have still been able to make the postseason twice in the past three years without having one. But it could also be the reason the team hasn’t won a single playoff game in decades.