Detroit Lions: 10 Observations from Sunday’s loss to Titans

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Jarrad Davis (#40), Romeo Okwara (#95), Alexander Myres (#43), Detroit Lions
Jarrad Davis (#40), Romeo Okwara (#95), Alexander Myres (#43), Detroit Lions (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

7. It’s going to take several years to fix this defense

Most of the current defensive unit was handpicked to play for Matt Patricia and his defensive scheme. Among the Patriots castoffs, misfits, and square pegs, the idea was that since the scheme called for several square pegs, they would fit right in and thrive in it. To say the least, that has not been the case.

Injuries have certainly been a factor, but the intended starters also played Patricia Ball poorly, and the issue now is that they’re ill-suited for anything else. Aside from a three possession stretch at the end of the Chicago game, the entire defensive unit is as bad as ever. People are divided on how to handle Matthew Stafford’s situation moving forward, but rebuilding this defense from scratch seems to be a pretty clear consensus.

8. Which defensive players should the Lions keep?

The Lions gave up over 40 points for the fourth time this season, dropping their defensive points ranking to a league worst 32nd. They also had the NFL’s worst scoring defense three years in a row from 2007 to 2009, and still none of those teams gave up 40 in four separate games.

Out of the eleven starters, we’re probably looking at a turnover of eight or nine of them in the next two years. Turnover might be the wrong word here, as the defense has only forced twelve (tied for second worst).

Romeo Okwara looks like one to hold onto, as he’s been the only playmaker for months and looks to be entering his prime. Rookie John Penisini has shown enough potential inside to be considered a sixth round steal. Jeff Okudah because you can’t write the guy off after a bad COVID influenced rookie season. Who else will stay, and who will get the sack? Sack might be the wrong word here, as they’ve only collected 19 of those (ranked 28th).

Maybe Oruwariye? Maybe Collins? The first two years of Trey Flowers’s blockbuster signing have been a massive on-field disappointment. Tracy Walker’s foot injury is either greatly affecting his play, or he has greatly fallen out of favor. Even with injuries everywhere else in the secondary, Walker is playing less than half the snaps in recent weeks and hasn’t forced a turnover all season.