Improved play in the trenches is essential
Any team that owns the line of scrimmage, won’t lose often. Even the Detroit Lions. So the play of the ‘big uglies’ is on par with the play of the team’s quarterback. If the offensive line consistently opens holes or gives the quarterback time to throw, then success should follow. I say should because even with time if the quarterback plays poorly then it’s hard to win.
Meanwhile, if the defensive line is making stops in the backfield and consistently harassing opposing passers, then the defense should be reliably good enough to help a team win games.
Here in Detroit with Matthew Stafford at the helm, having time to pass would be any defenses worst nightmare. Especially given the quality of receivers Matthew has to throw to. Add in the possibility of the Lions’ running backs having room to run and suddenly this franchise would be virtually unstoppable with the ball.
Plain and simple given even average line play on offense, the Detroit Lions will score enough points to win consistently. Yet despite the questions surrounding the offensive line, which are valid, the bigger question is; will the defense allow the Honolulu Blue and Silver to hold onto the lead?
I suspect there will certainly be a learning curve for the offensive line, but there is no question that they should improve as the season goes on. When we add in how well Matthew Stafford and the offense played last season until his injury behind an inconsistent line, it seems very likely this will sort itself out in Detroit’s favor. Provided Matthew stays healthy.
So while the offensive line is a question mark, the defensive line is a little bit more of a concern simply due to their play for the majority of the last two seasons.
Yes, they had a good stretch to complete the 2018 season that allowed them to finish as the 10th best defense in the league, but outside of that how well have they played?
Granted the play of the linebackers is crucial in Matt Patricia’s defense, but the line still has to stand their ground and also cause some interference to free up the linebackers so they can make plays against the run.
Last year the defensive line could neither stand their ground nor make any advances on opposing passers. Poor linebacker play didn’t help against the run nor were they utilized enough to make a difference in the pass-rush.