Following a disappointing season under a first-time head coach, here are three things the Detroit Lions must start doing better in 2019.
The Detroit Lions went about the business of improving their roster this offseason. And they undoubtedly did so adding quality players to the team both via free agency and the NFL draft. Still, there are several issues the Lions must iron out if they are to climb out of the NFC North basement in 2019.
Here are three things we believe the Lions must improve upon if they are going to post a winning season this year.
Get More Takeaways
The Lions posted just seven interceptions and seven fumbles in 2018. Their 14 total takeaways was the second lowest amount in the NFL last season. The only team lower? The San Francisco 49ers with a laughable seven total takeaways in 2018.
What’s not funny? The fact the Niners beat the Lions in Week Two, 30-27. And San Fransisco didn’t have a single turnover in the contest while Detroit lost a fumble that resulted in a 49ers’ field goal which ultimately was the difference in the game.
Stop Committing Penalties on First Down
In 2018, the Lions committed a whopping 33 penalties on first down, essentially killing those offensive drives. Having a first down and 15 (or more) are often momentum killers and eliminate an entire section of the offensive playbook that can be used.
Those penalties usually come down to a lack of discipline, something you know head coach Matt Patricia absolutely hates. The upside is the fact Detroit had one of the lowest penalties totals in the league last season with 94. That means a whopping 35.1 percent of the Lions’ penalties in 2018 were committed on first down.
Convert More Third Downs
Chalk this one up with scoring more points than the other guy or running the ball better. Converting on third downs is key to any team’s success in the NFL. And last season, the Lions converted just 36.1 percent of their opportunities on third down. That was the league’s 25th worst third-down percentage.
Just look at some of the teams with the best third-down percentage from 2018: The Indianapolis Colts, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams. The top three teams with the worst percentage included the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and the Arizona Cardinals. It really is one of the key differences between winning and losing.