Much has been made, rightfully, about the Detroit Lions' lack of pass rush. Of their 23 sacks this season, 18 have come over three games. Pressure hasn't been an overriding issue, it's been getting home to take down opposing signal callers.
Head coach Dan Campbell is remaining confident things will turnaround, but shy of Bruce Irvin's upcoming Lions' debut (Week 13 against the Saints?) that pass rush boost will have to come from who's already in place this side of Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill.
Part of the problem with the pass rush not getting home is rooted in how defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is calling the defense. Marrying coverage and rush concepts has been an issue, and the Lions are notably blitzing a lot less so far this year.
Before the last two games, turnovers haven't been a huge thing for the Lions this season. But they are -5 in turnover differential, as getting takeaways on defense has been a problem.
Dan Campbell points out, and laments, another big issue for the Lions' defense
Over their last six games, the Lions have five takeaways. The correlation is easy to see, as they've allowed at least 26 point in four of the last five.
After Thursday's loss to the Packers, via John Maakaron of SI.com, Campbell talked about the lack of takeaways.
"Here’s what we got to do, we have to get takeaways. We have to, that’s something that we desperately got to work on," said Campbell. "That’s one of the things we did a really good job of this time last year, once we hit that last call it 10, eight to 10 games, we were getting takeaways. We were playing tough, man. We were pressuring the quarterback, affecting him, but then, man, we were getting these..... and that’s where we’re not getting those enough right now."
And, to me that’s a mindset, and it’s something we got to work on. Have we worked on it? Yeah, but not enough," "There’s a different way to emphasize it, I believe that......We got the guys, we got the coaches, but we got to get better there. We got to find a way to get some takeaways.”
Lately, it feels like the Lions' defense just hasn't been around the ball enough to generate takeaways. Not around the quarterback enough, for sure, and pass catchers are running free in the secondary too often. Safety Kerby Joseph, a noted ballhawk who has two of the team's eight interceptions this season, talked about exactly that after Thursday's game. (via 97.1 The Ticket).
"Getting to the ball, man, that’s really where takeaways come from," said Joseph. "If you’re living right, man, they come. You just gotta to the ball, every single time. First person in getting the tackle, second person in getting the punch-out. And if the ball is in the air, it is ours. It is ours. It shouldn’t be nobody's but the defense’s."
Yes, it's obvious. But the defense getting on the right track is absolutely critical to the Lions' success from here on out this season. Whatever has to be, or can be, done to turn things around has to be done. Find a way to generate more turnovers is in the spotlight, if it wasn't already.
BetMGM is getting your bankroll on track as well with an INSTANT $200 sign-up bonus! New users who bet $10 or more on ANY game today will instantly receive $200 in bonus bets just for trying. Sign up for BetMGM now!