How much improvement can the Lions defense make?
By Robert Jones
The Detroit Lions‘ new general manager, head coach, and quarterback have received the majority of the headlines. But how much can the defense improve this season?
Defense has long been a staple of NFL champions. In the Motor City, it has most frequently been spotty or missing. Fans need to look no further than the last three seasons for a very vivid image of those defensive shortcomings.
Of all the hopes and dreams Lions fans had when former New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was named their head coach three years ago, the one we all expected was a given to happen was for the defense to improve. For some fans that didn’t seem like too much to ask for.
But defense for the Lions is not a given. Just consider 2014 when the defense was good, but the season still came crashing to a halt in the playoffs after being unable to get a defensive stop. Reliable defense in Detroit has been an anomaly.
Ask any Lions fans about some of the memories that have scarred them while following this franchise and invariably that list will usually have plenty of games where the defense was unable to get that final big stop they needed.
Sure this is the NFL and for Lions fans that alone has meant facing Brett Favre or Aaron Rogers twice a season for the last few decades, a factor that doesn’t help, but how many pedestrian quarterbacks who were nothing more than fringe players have looked like superstars against these Lions?
Does anyone remember Matt Flynn? On January 1, 2012, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Flynn started the season finale against the Lions while Aaron Rogers rested for the playoffs. Flynn passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 Packer victory.
Matt Flynn did not go on to have a Hall of Fame career. As a matter of fact, he basically kicked around the league a couple more seasons in obscurity before being out of the game. Yet that is a prime example of how mediocre the Lions’ defense has traditionally been.
The last three seasons were some of the worst in franchise history. However, after an infusion of talent on the defensive line and a new aggressive scheme that will be run by defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, how much can the defense improve this year?