Detroit Lions: Is this defense good enough up front?
By Robert Jones
The number one job any defense has is to stop the run. Period. Stop the run and force opponents to pass.
The secondary has to be counted on to help out, but you also know your defense is in trouble if a defensive back is leading your team in tackles. This is where the front seven really earns their pay.
The Lions will utilize their multiple fronts to gain any advantage they can get each week. Sometimes they will be lined up in a 3-4 and other times a 4-3 depending on which Matt Patricia and his staff think will give the Lions the best advantage.
This means that acquisition of Sylvester Williams was a big one. When the Lions are in a 3-4 front the nose-tackle, which seems like it will be Williams unless the Lions break down and sign Johnathan Hankins or decide to use A’Shawn Robinson there, is the key to controlling the line of scrimmage and creating opportunities for the linebackers to make plays.
Improved play by Jarrad Davis as well as his revised supporting cast, will be imperative to controlling the line of scrimmage.
The same principles will apply when the Lions are in a 4-3. The defensive line, especially the defensive tackles, will have to occupy space closing down holes and allowing Davis, Kennard and company to make plays.
All of which is much easier said than done.
General manager Bob Quinn is betting heavily on Matt Patricia’s ability to get the most out of his players. On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be a horrible situation on defense, but concerns about depth on the defensive line are justified.
Last season, the D-line had plenty of injuries and doesn’t appear to have the depth to overcome a repeat.
Yet, they also seem to have enough talent to be able to run a Matt Patricia defense effectively. This should be a group that plays smart and tough, which pretty much seems to be the Lions new mantra at every position.
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Given the talent Matt Patricia has to work with in the secondary, if he is who Bob Quinn and every die-hard Detroit Lions fan believes he is, then he should be able to get enough out of the front seven to surprise many of the ‘experts’ around the league. That’s provided the injury bug doesn’t run rampant again.