Can the Lions defense stop anyone next season?
Last season the Detroit Lions offense in their first eight games with Matthew Stafford at the helm averaged 25.5 points a game. Considering they didn’t have a consistent ground game to help balance the offense and keep opposing defenses from just pinning back their ears to rush Matthew, that was actually pretty good. Unfortunately, their record was 3-4-1.
The reason? Over that same period, the Lions defense gave up 27.1 points a game. That’s almost what Kansas City’s offense averaged per game, although the Chiefs scored 34 against Detroit. And the Lions only came up five points shy of winning.
The point? An explosive offense is indeed a valuable weapon in today’s NFL, but the defense still needs to get at least a few stops each Sunday.
To that end the question sits out there; can the Lions defense stop anyone this upcoming season?
While they have made improvements from a personnel standpoint, they would seem to still need more help. Yet if there is any hope for Lions fans, it comes in the form of new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin.
A man who ironically likes his defensive tackle rotation as Undlin told Detroitlions.com this week. A position I believe is pretty good, but not overly deep.
Cory Undlin got his start in New England and became good friends with Matt Patricia in their one year together. Since then Undlin has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, and most recently the Philadelphia Eagles.
The biggest thing those teams have in common is that none of those stops after leaving New England use the Patriots scheme and quite frankly the Jaguars and Eagles especially are aggressive defenses.
If Cory Undlin is allowed to help modify Patricia’s defense with more disguises and more aggressive play, then that combined with the new defensive additions would give the Lions a chance to be competitive on defense.
I’m not saying they will rival the Ravens or 49ers on defense, but I am saying they would have a chance to hold opponents to a reasonable level of scoring. Reasonable enough that efforts of Matthew Stafford and the offense shouldn’t go to waste as often as last season.
So can the defense stop anyone this upcoming season? Yes, they can, but it will involve Matt Patricia swallowing his pride and being willing to be more flexible defensively.
If Cory Undlin is allowed to play some Chess instead of Checkers and given the opportunity to bring some aggressiveness to the Lions defense, then perhaps they will not only be capable of being carried by Detroit’s newfound offense but maybe make some valuable contributions of their own.