Quick reactions three weeks into Detroit Lions rebuild

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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The Detroit Lions have started 0-3 and are just a few games into their rebuild. What have we learned so far about where the team is, going forward?

Detroit Lions fans are encouraged by the results of the Lions versus Ravens game in Week 3 of the NFL season. The Lions almost won in a game decided by two points and plenty of controversy, 17-19, at Ford Field. After watching the preseason and three full games, what are some big observations about where this team sits for the rest of this year and the rebuild?

Observation 1: Detroit Lions’ injuries really hurt

Losing left tackle, Taylor Decker, cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu, wide receiver, Tyrell Williams, and defensive ends Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand depletes the Lions at some key positions.

Matt Nelson has slid into the starting right tackle job so that rookie Penei Sewell can take Decker’s spot and that has been the best fix on the team because the offensive line was the best position unit on the roster. Other more neglected position groups are not fairing as well.

The Lions are tied for 14th in rushing yardage and 11th in sacks given up through Week 3, according to ESPN’s team stats, for reference.

Without Okudah and Melifonwu, the Detroit Lions secondary was lucky to not give up four easy touchdowns to the Baltimore Ravens, three of which were dropped by Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Cornerbacks, Amani Oruwariye, Bobby Price, and A.J. Parker, along with safeties Will Harris and Tracy Walker seemed to lose track of the Ravens speedster for most of the day. That marred a better effort overall by the defense.

The defense is giving up 384 yards per game, defensively, which ranks 22nd. They are 24th versus the pass (809 yards, 7 touchdowns), according to Pro Football Reference’s website, which tracks sports statistics and information.

With Trey Flowers out, Da’Shawn Hand on the injured-reserve list, and no real stars to rush the quarterback, the Lions managed just 2.0 sacks for 25 yards. Their sack total for the year is deceiving, because they’ve generated 8.0 sacks (which ranks 10th) but they’re tied for 30th in hurries (4), and tied for last in quarterback knockdowns (5), according to Pro Football Reference. Overall, they rank 30th in quarterback pressures which account for all three statistical measures together.