Detroit Lions: What will change bring to the offense in 2019?

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Lions struggled in many facets of the game this season, but by the time it had mercifully ended this past Sunday, there are two areas they had definitely improved in; first was the defense which was a definite expectation considering Matt Patricia’s past as the Patriots defensive coordinator.

The second was the anemic rushing attack. Obviously Kerryon Johnson proved that he is an outstanding talent and if healthy could become one of the best all purpose backs in the NFL. Yet the Lions finished the campaign by piecing together respectable rushing games even after Johnson went down for the season.

If Matt Patricia only cared about the ground game, then retaining Jim Bob Cooter wouldn’t have been a problem, because that facet is definitely on the rise.

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No, he is also interested in an innovative and effective offense just like the entire Detroit Lions fan base. But when the going gets tough and teams have to play postseason games in January in poor weather cities like Green Bay and Chicago, then the importance of being able to run the ball and control the clock and tempo of those games is imperative.

So there is much more to what Patricia and the Lions will be looking for in a new offensive coordinator then just the ability to map out how Stafford will hand-off the ball to Johnson.

As a defensive coach, he should ultimately have a very good grasp as to what teams do offensively that make it difficult to defend them. This should play well into his decision.

One of the most ironic statements I’ve heard is that Matt Patricia has no interest in a wide open offense like the Los Angeles Rams. I find that interesting because while the Rams certainly are able to creatively stretch the field, they still are built around running back Todd Gurley.

Gurley carried the ball 256 times this season in 14 games, which is an average of 18.2 carries a game. He finished with 1,251 yards on the ground which averages 89.3 yards a game and 4.9 yards an attempt.

That is the type of production Matt Patricia would take any season from his lead back. The other thing that should be pointed out is that the Rams run a one back, three receiver offense and use the tight end as an H-back in many situations. They then run almost their entire offense from a small handful of sets which means the defense has almost no keys to give away what play will be run.

That is part of the reason the Rams are explosive, they are not only innovative on offense, but they are very difficult read as a defense. It allows the element of surprise.

This doesn’t mean the Lions have to emulate the Rams, but it gives a prime example of the ability of an offense to be innovative, explosive and unpredictable, which is exactly what Matt Patricia wants.

Who Matt Patricia decides to hire as his offensive coordinator will probably go even further towards the Lions offensive success in 2019 then whatever players the Lions acquire in the offseason.

Detroit Lions: 3 candidates to replace Jim Bob Cooter. dark. Next

This is a big decision and there are some very nice candidates out there for him to choose from, but he must choose wisely because this hire may ultimately become the difference between making the Lions contenders or toppling Patricia out of the frying pan and into the fire.