Blame it on the secondary?
This past Monday, NFL.com published their NFC North training camp preview. In it, they went on to praise Matthew Stafford as the Lions biggest strength and sited the offense as a reason to have hope. They then went on to call the secondary Detroit’s biggest weakness.
The reasoning having to do with the Lions giving up an NFL high 284.4 passing yards a game last season, despite pointing out that the corners should be improved.
There is no doubt that the Lions defense was horrid last year, but to be honest, the secondary wasn’t their biggest weakness then and I don’t believe it is their biggest weakness now.
The reason the Lions secondary was so toasty last year was due to the lack of a pass-rush. Sure the secondary didn’t play quite as well after Diggs was traded, but considering the time opposing passers had to throw the ball, how could any secondary be successful?
Heading into this season, the secondary should actually be the strongest part of the defense. Desmond Trufant has been a very good cornerback and has a lot of tread still left on the tires. Atlanta didn’t send him packing due to his play, they sent him packing due to a financial decision.
Jeff Okudah is young and will get burned occasionally if we’re being honest with ourselves, but his maturity and focus are why he will weather the storms of his rookie year and play pretty well. Amani Oruwariye played well down the stretch last season and has plenty of upside himself and slot corner Justin Coleman is very solid.
Meanwhile, safety Tracy Walker could be due for a break-out season, young Will Harris is a hitter with potential, and Duron Harmon, who was acquired from the Patriots may be one of the most underrated acquisitions in the entire NFL.
Harmon will give the secondary the leadership they lost when Diggs was sent packing and is always in the right place at the right time to make plays.
No, despite the simple reasoning that the Lions gave up the most passing yards in the league last year, the thing that was overlooked while blaming the secondary was how anemic the pass-rush was.
The secondary is undoubtedly the strength of the defense and not its biggest weakness. The question is; will they get any help from the pass-rush this season?
No secondary is good enough to overcome as pathetic a pass-rush as the Lions had last season. There are reasons and hope that it will be better this year, but make no mistake about it, if the defense fails this season, it won’t be the fault of the secondary.