Defense still wins championships
The obvious answer as to why the Lions are struggling this year is because of the defense. Despite Matt Patricia’s reputation for the work he did as the New England Patriots defensive coordinator, he has been unable to come up with any magic to fix the defense in the Motor City.
As a matter of fact, the defense which was about average when he arrived has dropped to the bottom of the league. That’s not the type of movement that was expected from this defense under Patricia.
However, that is not the singular reason the Lions have struggled this year. We all expected Matthew Stafford to pick up where he left off after his very good, but injury-shortened season last year. Instead, Matthew’s inconsistency could make him the poster child for an inconsistent offense.
But if we’re being completely honest about where the real problem lies, it’s in the trenches.
The Lions offensive line is a work in progress, but as of right now Matt Patricia is right that it needs to be better. Meanwhile, the defensive front seven is completely substandard.
Whether we want to say the personnel on the Lions defensive line and at linebacker are poor or just not very well-coached, either way, the front seven on defense have failed to stop the run and have not had any type of consistent pass-rush.
Here’s a newsflash, no team can truly hope to compete for anything without being at least decent at stopping the run and having some ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
That is why the old adage of ‘defense wins championships’ still rings true.
So far this season the Lions have been inconsistent in the trenches on both sides of the ball and that affects everything. Adrian Peterson is the only back to really gain any yards on the ground. Part of that is because Patricia and his staff have decided to make Peterson the focus of the ground game instead of the two second-round picks who would appear to be the future of Detroit’s rushing attack.
That’s the ‘win now effect’. Patricia and Bevell know what they have with Peterson and he can make a difference in the short term. But no matter who is in the backfield, they still need some help from the offensive line.