What we do clearly know about the Lions secondary, is that they are a better coverage group than so many lackluster seasons past and aren’t afraid of contact either. Yet the one of the abiding truths in the game of football is that no one can cover their man forever.
This is where the front seven comes into play. They have to find ways to bring the heat to opposing passers.
Last year the secondary did an admirable job considering that the pass-rush was mostly non-existent. Sure there were the three games that Ziggy Ansah had his ‘A’ game and collected three sacks in each of them, but even he was non-factor the majority of the year.
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From what we see on paper at least, this defensive line isn’t any more skilled than last year’s unit at rushing the passer. This means that Matt Patricia’s favorite group will surely be counted on to help out.
Patricia has admitted that his favorite group to work with is the linebackers. They have also been the true catalyst of those Patriots defenses he coached with such success.
The Lions will be counting on this years group to be able to pick up the slack.
Devon Kennard who the Lions signed at the opening of free agency, will most likely get plenty of opportunities to chase enemy quarterbacks. His skill set will allow him to to fulfill his duties at linebacker and also put his hand in the dirt and bring pressure off the edge.
However, I don’t think it will end there.
The new additions at linebacker the Lions have brought in have one thing in common, they are all larger. This is the blueprint for what Patricia wants from his linebackers.
This group will most likely have quite a few exotic blitzes they will use as well as occasionally lining up at end in an attempt to create a mismatch in favor of the Lions pass-rush.
But they will need to do more than just rush the passer.