Fixing the defense
Having watched every game, a few things stick out to me about the Lions defense; below are my findings, by position group.
First, the line is where it all starts. If you can’t stop the run, who cares if you can stop the pass?
No one. A good team will be happy to bubble, sweep, screen, and run between the tackles all day. Those are high percentage plays in terms of execution. If you stop those, teams have to get creative to move the ball.
The Lions have allowed the 27th most yards defensively, to date. They have settled in at sixteenth in rush yards against, but that is a misnomer since they started off very good and nose-dived after a few games. More on that, later.
They gave up in excess of 200 yards rushing during a particularly bad stretch against teams, including a ghastly 201 yard outing against the winless Cleveland Browns. The Lions gave up 193 versus the New Orleans Saints; 222 versus the Chicago Bears. Those are bad performances, defensively.
The team is 22nd in sacks, with 28. Our starting defensive ends, Ziggy Ansah and Anthony Zettel, have accounted for 12.5 of that total. For reference, the league sack leader, Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals, has fifteen. By himself.