Last week was encouraging but there’s more work to do
After last week’s victory over the Cardinals, I was talking to a couple of friends. One said that the win was encouraging and the other said that it meant nothing and that Matt Patricia should be fired right now.
I enjoyed the debate because I think all Honolulu Blue and Silver fans are in one camp or the other. The truth is that the Lions did show a glimmer of a reason to have hope, yet for the defense to still be almost on life support in Patricia’s third season when he arrived as a highly regarded defensive mind is unacceptable.
Insiders around the league felt like the Lions had a good offseason finding players that fit their scheme in free agency and acquiring talent in the draft. Yet Detroit’s top pick, number three overall Jeff Okudah, has only started because Desmond Trufant has been injured.
Second-round pick D’Andre Swift has a limited role due to the signing of Adrian Peterson. And third-round selection Julian Okwara who is supposed to help out the anemic pass rush has been on the sidelines.
I get that there was no true offseason activities nor exhibition games to help them prepare for the season, but early draft picks have to contribute for teams to improve and succeed.
The very fact that Matt Patricia was able to curb his ego and willing to allow the defense to go off his general script of man-to-man coverage only and no blitzing, not only boded well for the defense, but it actually got results.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t much more work to do, but the Lions defense can be functionally average with a willingness to be more diversified in their scheme.
Despite the fact that the Lions seem to have a defense full of players that ‘fit’ Matt Patricia’s scheme, they don’t execute it well at all. Last week they spent the majority of the time in zone coverage and heated things up just enough to pressure Kyler Murray into making mistakes and that is how the best defenses operate. Creating turnovers always increases a team’s chances of winning.
But it is the pressure that defenses put on opposing offenses that usually create those turnover opportunities. Something Matt Patricia’s defense has consistently lacked.