Despite the Lions offense being their strength, it has needs
Yet even with the subtraction of Slay, the Lions do seem to have had a pretty good start so far. We can’t give them any kind of final grade simply because there are still signings that can and possibly will happen as well as the draft in April, but it’s not a bad start.
Offensively, the Lions had needs at almost every position, but not all of those needs are equal. If the Lions didn’t get another receiver, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. A backup quarterback was important from the standpoint of keeping the team afloat if Matthew Stafford missed a game, but quite frankly without a top tier passer behind Stafford, they will be toast if Matthew misses half the season again anyways.
Really the two areas of biggest concern were the offensive line and running back in that order. The O-line was addressed with the acquisition of tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai. He is young and a good run blocker, however, he will need to improve in pass-protection and prove he can play at a consistent level as a full-time starter.
The Lions still need more help on the offensive line, but they seem to have filled one hole at least. As for running back, I’m fine with waiting for the draft to address this need. Veteran running backs already have too much wear on them to invest in one. It’s best to get one in the draft that hasn’t been beaten down by NFL defenses yet. There will also a bevy of good receivers available in the draft.
So while there is more to do on offense, the offense was the Lions’ strength last season until Matthew went down to injury. The real concern from last season was the defense.
It should be to no one’s surprise that the defense has received the most attention from general manager Bob Quinn so far. And it continues to need it.
Last season the Lions were within 64 yards of having the worst defense in franchise history. Considering that Matt Patricia is supposed to be a defensive guru, that is very alarming.
That means if the Lions are going to contend, then they better get a whole lot better on defense. Otherwise, the NFC North basement is waiting for them.