The road to better defense is daunting
The needs on the Lions defense are overwhelming. A defensive line that was expected to dominate this past season was awful and it seems like there will be very few remnants of it leftover. This means an almost complete rebuild of the defensive line.
The linebacking corps need a pretty intense overhaul of their own and the secondary isn’t above needing more help as well. especially if the Bob Quinn/Matt Patricia regime decides to trade Darius Slay due to his non-conformist ways.
That’s a lot of work to be done.
Matt Patricia was supposed to be a defensive guru, yet this defense failed in every way possible. Even before Matthew Stafford was injured, the Lions only had a 3-4-1 record. And that was with Stafford playing at an MVP level.
It’s usually pretty hard to not be winning games when your quarterback is playing so well, but the defense was so abysmal, that not even Stafford’s herculean efforts before his injury could give the Lions a winning record.
Even if they hadn’t had that catastrophic defensive collapse in the opener against the Arizona Cardinals they still would have only been 4-4 when Matthew’s season ended.
So the road to better defense is daunting, but what if the Lions don’t become the 49ers defensively? What if they become the Chiefs?
Kansas City spent the first half of the season playing very poorly on defense, especially against the run. Something that could be highlighted by the fact that Kerryon Johnson’s only 100-yard rushing game this year was against the Chiefs.
Yet they improved enough to be competitive by seasons end. After two come from behind playoff wins, the Chiefs marched into Super Bowl LIV an underdog simply because the 49ers defense was so good and the Chief’s weakness against the run was glaring considering how well San Francisco had run the ball in the playoffs.
Yet despite the obvious defensive advantage that the 49ers seemed to possess, it was the Chiefs defense that won the game.