Without better play up front, nothing will change
The Detroit Lions secondary has taken their share of lumps, but when you examine the entirety of what has happened this season, we should recognize that they don’t deserve as much blame as they have gotten.
Darius Slay is the Lions best cornerback and he has fought some injury issues this season. Has he played overall as good as he has in the past? In my estimation, he hasn’t, but he also hasn’t suddenly fallen off the map either. Slay is still a quality cornerback.
On the other side and at the nickel corner position the results have been inconsistent. Justin Coleman hasn’t lived up to his contract, Rashaan Melvin has been serviceable, but unspectacular and rookie Amani Oruwariye has shown promise, but is still young and learning.
The safeties took a big loss when Quandre Diggs, who had been elected a defensive captain, was traded to Seattle. Diggs is now playing like a star in the pacific northwest.
Does the secondary need more talent? Any coach will tell you that you can’t have enough good cornerbacks, and game-changers at safety will lift any defense to the next level. So adding additional pieces this offseason, especially if Quinn and Patricia decide to part ways with Darius Slay, is still a really good idea.
However, one of the best things the Lions can do to help out the secondary is to find an edge-rusher that can get to the quarterback. Actually, finding a few defensive linemen that can push the pocket pressuring opposing passers would be a really good move as well as getting a few linebackers that can stuff the run and be serviceable in coverage.
It’s never a bad thing to upgrade the secondary, but if Quinn and Patricia don’t make some major moves that improve the front seven, then it won’t really matter who the Lions have in the secondary.
The mandate for next season is already on the table; make a run at the playoffs. It should be to actually make the playoffs and win there, but ownership being what it is, getting close will suffice for them.
Yet one thing is painfully clear; if there aren’t vast improvements to the defensive scheme as well as the front seven next season, then they will not come close to playoff contention, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia will be shown the door and we will all watch this franchise go right back to square ‘A’ trying to figure out what they will do next.