An improved ground game will benefit the entire team
While most of the discussions surrounding the Lions offense tend to center on quarterback Matthew Stafford, there should be more attention given to the ground game.
In the 12 seasons that Matthew has lined up under center, there has been only one single one-thousand yard rusher. That was Reggie Bush in 2013. While it has been a source of concern, somehow every coach seems to stray away from running the ball and just puts the game in Matthew’s hands.
We get it. He’s Detroit’s all-time leading passer and quite frankly the quickest passer in NFL history to reach several milestones. But he still doesn’t have as many playoff wins as Erik Kramer.
Erik Kramer quarterbacked the Lions lone postseason win since 1957 back on January 5th, 1992. It was a victory that was mostly due to the brilliance of Barry Sanders and the defense, but Kramer did play quarterback and did make some plays.
However, it can’t be stressed how important Barry and the defense was that day.
Matthew and the entire Lions offense could certainly use more help from the defense nowadays, but the development of the rushing attack would go a long way towards helping Detroit hang onto leads and being able to grind out those tough playoff wins that have almost completely eluded them since 1957, except that one fateful day in 1992.
Part of the equation is getting better results from the offensive line. With no offseason practices or preseason games for them to work together, especially considering they have three new starters at present, building the cohesiveness needed is tough.
Right now the left side of the line is the strength. Center Frank Ragnow is the rock of the offensive line, but rookie left guard Jonah Jackson has played very well and left tackle Taylor Decker is also playing at a higher level than last season.
But Halapoulivaati Vaitai hasn’t performed well at right guard since returning from injury two weeks ago in Arizona and right tackle Tyrell Crosby has been inconsistent.
Obviously, the improvement of the Lions rushing attack does depend on the improvement of the offensive line as a unit, but would more diversity carry the ball be in Detroit’s best interest as well?