Lions offense still ahead of defense, but not like we’re used to

D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /
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Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Even without Stafford, Lions’ offense is their strength

When Matt Patricia landed in Detroit as former general manager Bob Quinn’s choice to lead this franchise to the promised land, the immediate expectations of the fan base and media was that the Lions would at least become very competitive defensively.

Instead, while the offense continued to be Detroit’s strength with Matthew Stafford at the helm, Patricia led the Lions to franchise lows defensively. It was Patricia’s belief that his defensive system was more important than who actually manned it.

The problem is that his defense was unable to stop the run or generate any defensive pressure on opposing passers. That’s a recipe for disaster and last season’s franchise low for futility was nothing more than a sample of what Matt Patricia’s defense served up to the long-suffering fans of the Motor City.

The hope is that as Brad Holmes starts to bring in talent, combined with what is expected to be much better coaching, that the Lions’ defense will be noticeably better. However, it would probably be considered a stretch to think they will be much if any better than average.

The flip side of the coin has been an offense that was led by Matthew Stafford for the past 12 seasons. Every regime has ignored the defense to add weapons for Stafford and Detroit’s passing game has been the key to the Lions’ success.

If Matthew had a big game, the Lions had a chance to win. If not, well… there usually wasn’t a happy ending for the Motor City faithful.

But even as we turn the page and close the book on the  Matthew Stafford era, the Lions offense is still expected to be the strength of this franchise.

New offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn’s offense isn’t a high-flying pyrotechnic aerial assault like that of the Kansas City Chiefs, but it does have the ability to grind out yards on the ground as well as stretch the field when they want to. If we look back at what the Chargers did last season under Lynn, it was very productive through the air.

Yet it was still built around controlling the line of scrimmage and having an effective ground game.

While there is still plenty of work to be done before the Lions are contenders, this is a team whose strength is still its offense. It’s where that offensive strength lies that is different than the Matthew Stafford era.