Is there a ray of hope for the defense?
There are very few clues that we can go on to make an educated guess about how the defense will perform. We look at the offseason additions and subtractions then try to assess what it all means.
The immediate thing that comes to mind for me is that the Lions have very few known commodities in the front seven that can be called ‘play-makers’. Sports are all about play-makers. If your team has them, then they will contend for a title.
If your team is devoid of them, then winning is usually a struggle.
The Lions might have some ‘play-makers’ in the front seven, but we will have to find out on the field. We expect Trey Flowers and Jamie Collins to be play-makers. But will anyone else?
Will Da’Shawn Hand stay healthy and pick up where he left off his rookie season? Will Danny Sheldon and Nick Williams continue to play at the high level they did last season for other teams? Can Austin Bryant ever get healthy and become a contributor? Will Romeo Okwara rebound from a poor season? Will his brother Julian Okwara hit the ground running and make a difference as a rookie?
Then of course is the concern about depth. This front seven doesn’t seem to be real deep. They may prove us wrong when the season begins, which would make us all really happy, But until they do, they aren’t deep enough.
So is there any ray of sunshine to give us hope? Perhaps there is one. If we believe that this Lions offense, which has created much optimism, is as good as we think they are, then perhaps that will be all the competition this defense needs to be ready come opening day.
The reports out of camp have mostly centered around the positive play of the offense, but the defense has also made a couple of headlines themselves.
If this Lions offense really is good, then this defense may be facing one of their toughest challenges of the season right here in training camp. The fact that the offense is mostly intact with a few new weapons tossed in means that the offense should be running pretty smoothly.
If Matt Patricia’s defense can keep up with Matthew Stafford and this offense, then maybe they aren’t so bad. Maybe there is actually hope for them.
Now practice is practice and games are another horse completely, but if we’re looking to find a reason to have hope for this defense, then being able to compete with the Lions offense may be the best hope we’ve got.
We should never count our chickens before they’re hatched, but if the Lions defense looks good against the Chicago Bears on opening day, maybe we can all thank the offense for getting them ready.