Detroit Lions: After starting 0-2 there is plenty of blame to go around
By Robert Jones
Yes, the Lions defense does have some sexy stat lines, because pass defense is the sexy part of playing defense, but championship teams don’t allow their opponents to run through them at will.
Plain and simple the Lions pass defense will continue to rank high as teams will run the ball against them more and more and pass less and less. At least until the Lions figure out how to stop the run.
Matt Patricia has said it before and I have agreed with him before, but the problems with the run defense are correctable.
Yes, the Lions will want to spend their resources heavily next offseason on additions to their defensive front seven, but even though they need more talent up front, they could still be at least average against the run if they played disciplined defense and all executed their own individual assignments.
That means don’t anticipate your teammate making a mistake and thus creating a lane for the opposing runner to streak though while trying to cover for him. Do your own job!
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I know it’s the Patriots mantra, but since Patricia is preaching it in Detroit, the players need to just listen and do what they’re told. Trust in your teammates. Until that discipline to do their own job and trust their teammates is consistently happening, these Lions in this defense will struggle against the run.
While I’m at it, we need to call out the special teams as well. Two straight weeks they have struggled in coverage and two big returns have really hurt the Lions. The Jets returning a punt for a score in week one and the 49ers returning the second half kickoff very close to a score last Sunday.
Then for the icing on the cake, not one, but two penalties against the Lions return team that negated a Jamal Agnew punt return for a touchdown against the 49ers.
The point is this; there is plenty of blame to go around. Matt Patricia and his coaching staff, the offense, the defense and even the special teams. The first year coach has his work cut out for him, but that’s what he signed on for.
I’m sure that Patricia realizes that this job will not be an easy one. Most coaching changes suffer a degree of stepping backwards. The irony would be that former top dog Jim Caldwell had his best season as the Lions coach in his first year on the job.
It would seem that Patricia won’t match that.
So what is the secret formula? What black magic will it take for Matt Patricia to get these Lions functioning like a well-oiled machine?
On paper it seems so simple; every player understand his job and do it. Period. That applies to both the offense and defense. And yet…
The Lions and Matt Patricia will face their most dangerous threat yet on Sunday night as Patricia’s old mentor Bill Belichick and the Patriots will invade Ford Field. If they have struggled to get it right in their first two games, it really won’t be easy against an angry Patriot’s team that lost to the Jaguars last week and don’t tend to loose two games in a row very often.
One way or another, until the Lions and Patricia are all on the same page and find that first win, the pressure will only continue to rise and the scrutiny will continue to grow. In other words; they will either win as a team or continue to lose as a team.