The Lions defense has to carry their weight
Over the past dozen seasons, the Detroit Lions’ continual game plan has been to find weapons for Matthew Stafford. Certainly not a bad idea, but the attempts have mostly failed while ignoring players that could have helped build a stingy defense.
Now let me start by saying that, unlike the Packers who have seemed to do anything they can to avoid supplying Aaron Rodgers with more prime-time receivers, the idea to build around Stafford wasn’t a bad one.
How that plan was executed was the issue.
At no point was Matthew able to be protected by an above-average line. He never was given a consistent ground game to take some of the pressure off the passing game, and the systems he played in were mostly unimaginative.
Despite the many free-agent signings and draft picks that were targeted to give Matthew the weapons and line he needed, most of them didn’t work out.
And the elephant in the room was the defense. The Lions possessed only one good defensive team in Matthew’s time here and ironically, while we talk about the flag that was picked up in their playoff game on January 4, 2015, once again against the Dallas Cowboys, most people don’t talk about how the defense just needed one more stop to win the game, but couldn’t pull it off.
When you think of all the come-back wins that Matthew Stafford led, let’s contemplate the times the Lions did have the lead in the fourth quarter of games only to lose because the defense couldn’t get a stop when they needed to the most.
Today as Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell start taking their first steps in the Lions’ latest rebuilding process, there is a different philosophy. A philosophy that believes in having an offense that will be diverse and efficient, controlling the line of scrimmage, and putting points on the board.
However, the defense is expected to carry their weight as well. As a matter of fact, they are expected to eventually be good enough to fall under that category of defense wins championships. There is still work to be done before the Lions’ defense will be considered menacing, but this offseason hasn’t been a bad starting point.