Although the Detroit Lions have the worst rushing offense in the NFL, their coaching staff apparently has little to no idea how to fix it.
Maybe the Detroit Lions don’t have to run the ball to win. The NFL is a passing league after all. And the fact this Motor City squad has an 8-7 record and nearly made the playoffs for the third time in four seasons without a consistent rushing attack is proof enough, isn’t it?
But at some point, you have to believe running the football will be needed in Detroit. Luckily, the Lions have been blessed to have one of the league’s best, young passers in quarterback Matthew Stafford. But at 29 years old, his youth is quickly fleeting. And remember, Stafford has been sacked a whopping 45 times this season, second most in the NFL right now. That means his body is paying the price for the lack of a running game.
Anyone over the age of 30 knows how unforgiving your body can be following your athletic prime. And their unlikely taking regular hits by some of the best athletes in the world.
The point here is Stafford has been this team’s saving grace for the past few seasons. He’s the reason the Lions have a chance at the postseason with a running game ranked 28th (2014), 32nd (2015), 30th (2016) and 32nd (2017).
But without excellent offensive line play and a consistent running game to keep opposing defenses second guessing, Stafford will continue to take punishing hits year in and year out. And both his O-line and rushing attack were again severally lacking in 2017. And the hits keep coming.
How long can Stafford take this kind of punishment and not miss games because of it? If his health is important to the team, running the ball better must be a priority in Detroit. But when asked about the team’s lack of success on the ground this season, the Lions’ coaching staff seemed content with the way things are.
"“Some things have been good this year. Some things have not been so good,” Lions’ offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter told Mlive.com. “We’d love everything to be great. We’d love to be top five in every stat. It’s not how this league works. It’s a competitive league, and we’ve got to fight for everything we get.”"
That answer is akin to someone shrugging their shoulders. “We can’t run the ball good, oh well. It is what it is. The NFL isn’t fair.” Really???
I believe the answer to reviving the rushing attack in Detroit starts with the players themselves. Do you have the proper players in place to run the football effectively? If the answer is no, which it certainly appears to be, it’s time to find those players. If the front office, scouts and coaching staff fail to find them, it’s time to find new front office, scouting and coaching personnel.
It’s certainly a simple solution. But, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad one.