When Lions general manager Bob Quinn rung in the new year by sending former head coach Jim Caldwell packing, he also gave offensive line coach Ron Prince a matching pink slip. The reason? Well, if you were watching at all this past season then you know why.
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In the NFL any given teams running game isn’t just the creation of the offensive coordinator. It is actually a combination of the offensive line coach, running backs coach and the offensive coordinator. Sort of like the old ‘too many cooks spoil the brew’. At least for Detroit.
In the case of the Lions, the scheme or how it was coached and the types of backs on the roster didn’t all add up to a positive ground game. For the most part the Lions feature smaller scat backs that are better utilized as change of pace backs. Meanwhile the backs that seemed to have the most success over the past few years were the backs that could power through a hole like Zach Zenner and Tion Green. Yet neither one is the answer.
Under those conditions it seems unlikely that any offensive coordinator would have had success with the ground game.
However, even with the complete lack of run support or competent pass blocking, Stafford’s efficiency and passer rating have improved over the course of the last two seasons.
As a matter of fact he set a new single season record in 2016 with eight come from behind victories, then this past season the Lions brought the long ball back to their offense and the passing game started to scratch the surface of how explosive they could be.