The running game is a running joke, and the Detroit offense is the punchline. Infamously, the Lions haven’t had a player rush for 100 yards since Thanksgiving. …Of 2013.
Not only that, but the offensive line gave up 47 sacks, too. Injuries or not, that is abysmal. The team also bogged down in the redzone, often failing to pick up short yardage to keep drives alive.
Quinn cited the need for another runner, but also for the whole team to execute better. Many people believe the Lions could target a running back as early as Round One of this April’s NFL Draft. I personally believe that another tackle/ guard who can play left guard or fill in at left tackle is necessary, too.
Starting center, Travis Swanson, is coming off of a difficult year injury-wise, he had another concussion, and he may not get re-signed.
The teams that did well in the playoffs almost all fell in the top ten in team rushing for 2017.
Patricia likely knows this, as well, and will demand more consistent production on the ground. I’m also sure that keeping Stafford upright and healthy is a major goal for the whole braintrust in Allen Park.
This is likely to be the side of the ball that endures the bigger overhaul. There are few starters still under contract for 2018, giving Quinn and Patricia license to re-mold the defense into Patricia’s vision. We would assume that some to all of the Patriots’ philosophy would meander into Allen Park upon Patricia’s arrival.
The areas of concern are: the pass rush, run defense, overall team speed, and flexibility of personnel. If they could address the pass rush and beefing up the defensive line to stop the run, that would probably suffice.
The defense, lead by Darius Slay‘s NFL-leading 8 interceptions, was vastly better at generating turnovers this season. They struggled against the run, though, especially after veteran Haloti Ngata was injured. A better inside presence and edge pressure is necessary to make quarterbacks think twice about getting too comfortable in the pocket.
Big question marks include whether or not a new deal will be given to end Ezekiel Ansah, or whether or not some veterans will be re-signed. Haloti Ngata and linebacker Tahir Whitehead are two players that the Lions may want back, beside Ansah.
Check out my article on possible draft targets from the Senior Bowl, here.
What offseason additions do you think the Lions need to make? Let me know in the comments.
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