Despite the win, the Detroit Lions have plenty of work to do
By Robert Jones
The Lions offense could still be very good
As Matt Patricia and his Lions prepare for the Saints there are a few takeaways from the Cardinals game that he and his staff would be wise to look at closely.
Offensively Kenny Golladay made a big difference. The Cardinals defense was cognizant of his presence and it did open up opportunities both on the ground and in the air for the Lions.
Yet perhaps the biggest takeaway was why Darrell Bevell didn’t try stretching the field in the first two weeks of the season with Marvin Hall? Sure Golladay now commands defenses to respect him. He isn’t some player other teams can afford to overlook anymore. He proved it last season and continued proving it last Sunday.
However, when Golladay was out injured they still had a speed presence in Marvin Hall that could stretch opposing defenses and open up the field. His big play against the Cardinals was called back, but it’s just a reminder that he can stretch a secondary as well.
This could have benefited the Lions in the first two weeks if utilized. No one on Detroit’s roster can replace Golladay, but if Darrell Bevel’s offense at least attempted to go down the field a few times to a legitimate speed threat, that would open up the field.
But beyond Golladay, the offensive line is still a work in progress. Halapoulivaati Vaitai didn’t have an especially good game in his Lions debut. He admittedly didn’t practice enough last week to really be ready, but we will see if there is improvement against the Saints.
Matthew Stafford had two errant passes on the same series in the third quarter after Jeff Okudah’s interception that should have resulted in a touchdown. They both lacked the touch and accuracy needed to get a big score, but he avoided the big mental mistakes he made in the first two games of the season.
The ground game by committee has been pretty good in general. No individual player has put up huge numbers, but the Lions seem to be building a running game. Kerryon Johnson has been exemplary blocking for Matthew on passing plays and each back has contributed as receivers as well.
The Lions offense has missed a few opportunities this season, but with a little more cohesiveness and continued health, it could still become very good. But what about the defense?