The defense had their heart ripped out last season
While there is certainly offensive excitement in Detroit, there is also much caution regarding the defensive side of the ball. Fans want to be optimistic, but considering how poorly they played last season while giving up so many leads, it’s hard to buy-in completely.
On paper, they certainly seem improved, but as we must all remember, games aren’t won on paper. If the Lions defense is going to be better, it has to prove it on the field.
The front seven is the key. More consistent play against the run and being able to actually create a pass-rush will make a huge difference. If the front seven can do their job well, not even great or dominating, but well, then the Lions defense will be much improved.
The biggest reason is that the secondary is better than many people believe. Given some help from the big guys in the trenches, they should turn in a very solid season.
With three new starters, there is much work to be done for sure. Much like the importance of the offensive line gelling to truly allow the offense to reach their maximum potential, it will be very important for the secondary to all get on the same page.
It only takes one broken coverage at the wrong time for a close victory to become a loss.
The talent in the secondary is good enough to be competitive and the veteran leadership that is so greatly needed to keep everyone on the same page is also there.
Something that was one of the key components of last year’s defensive nose-dive.
Last season the defense had troubles up front all year and it put continual stress on the secondary. But when the leader of the secondary, Quandre Diggs, was unceremoniously traded to the Seattle Seahawks, that ripped the heart right out of them.
Diggs was considered a leader not only by his teammates in the secondary but by the entire team. When he was shipped out of town the collapse that followed was inevitable.
What little defense the Lions were playing was gone. When combined with Matthew Stafford’s season-ending injury it shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone how the 2019 season crashed and burned.