Fixing the Lions DL

I think BQ has a huge challenge ahead of him this offseason in fixing the DL. I feel DL is currently our biggest need and a year ago I thought it would be a strength. Injuries, FA and age have caught up.

With Snacks likely gone due to retirement or a cap casualty and A’Shawn hitting FA. The Lions need two starting level DT’s and help at DE.

DE has Hand and Bryant coming off injury but BQ can’t sit on his hands and hope. He needs to add more talent and competition here.

I figure the Lions will be looking hard at DT’s in free agency and will aggressively target one or two. They could also turn to the draft.

Here’s a list of who’s available in FA. Who do you like?

NE’s Danny Shelton is a guy I could see us target for obvious reasons.

Also Pit’s Javon Hargraves would likely be a great fit.

There’s a ton of quality DE’s hitting FA too.

Who do you like either via FA or the draft and how do you think the Lions will address this problem?

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Without looking hard at the players yet, I will say this…
I don’t think Snacks retires. I think Patricia’s position at the mic is likely correct in that after a tough, physical season filled with frustration, everyone needs time to cool off before making decisions.

For 2020, Snacks should return as a 2-down run-stopping anchor, what he’s best at. If he doesn’t return, they need to do whatever they have to to replace him, including overpaying whoever fits the bill. No bargain-hunting allowed.

Next to Snacks should be Hand. Since he’s an injury risk, BQ has to hedge with more talent capable of rushing from that spot. Don’t hedge against injury by signing more injuries, though, as he did with Daniels this year. So, get a real DT that has explosion, is capable of two-gapping and is capable of taking on double-teams without hitting the turf. I’ll have to look over the list to see who that is. It’s not on our roster, though, that much I’m certain.

Okwara disappeared and Bryant is green. I’m not sure what you’re going to get from either in 2020, so again, investment is required. I would expect this position to be filled via draft. Pass-rushing edge players don’t turn up too often on the FA list and when they do, you have to overpay.


In terms of FA: Vic Beasley (Move Vic to OLB) and Jordan Phillips would be great additions. Think the focus is more on DT then DE. Leonard Williams would be interesting. I don’t think they value “pass-rush edge players”.

Interesting comments beginning at 2:30-ish.

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I mean, it does go back to what we were thinking about the importance of the DT’s. The difference between last years defense and this years defense was DT pressure. When we played GB last year first time we had those sacks bc hand crushed the pocket and forced Rodgers into the arms of de’s holding the edge or visa versa, he would try and get away rom hand and couldn’t bc the DE’s were holding the edge…this year there was no pressure up the middle w snacks and Robinson. I think people need to stop thinking about pass rush specialists.

I’m not sure what your referring too but for me what stood out is that Davis thinks they’re doing a good job and that the DL’s main goal seemed to be more on containing the QB than anything else.

So if that’s what MP wants them to do (which I believe he does) than the real problems on defense fall squarely on MP’s philosophy and scheme.


The defense is a mess we have no playmakers and need someone at every position.


I don’t put too much into the “doing a good job” part because that’s what a coach is going to say when he’s dealing with a bunch of injured guys that really aren’t capable of much more than they’re getting from them.

But, yeah, there are a few other comments I’m keying on (a couple of which reflect also what Quinn said soon after introducing Patricia).

  1. Working together = maintaining gaps
  2. Containing mobile QB’s = maintaining containment
  3. Make the QB throw off his back foot = DT’s need to also collapse the pocket.

It’s not earth-shattering. Really, it’s basic football, but with all of the frustration of the season we all tend to lose sight of where the emphasis is. It’s nuanced. It’s pressure, but not at the expense of containment or gap responsibility. That’s the goal, though clearly we lacked the healthy horses needed to execute as intended.

What QB is more effective, one running for his life, or one sitting in a contained pocket?
D-Line problem solved, Bo must go! IF your not coaching them up to eliminate the pocket and destroy the QB, you end up with 3 wins!

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Looking at the UFA list, I would suggest we need both a young starter and a shorter term vet to beef up the DE position. Chris Jones will be expensive, but if they can make it work you have him and Flowers holding the edge for at least a few years. I think Jones played on the inside for KC as well. Michael Bennett would fit nicely for a year or two as someone who brings a lot of experience to the group.

We need another big bodied DT whether Harrison retires or not. He’s getting older, and I don’t want to be in a position where we have to overpay for Robinson if someone breaks the bank for him. The draft is where I would look for a DT.

it’s a pretty good DL class in free agency IMO.


How many of these QBs really should result in us prioritizing containment over pressure?

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Murray, Wentz, Mahomes, Rodgers, Trubiskey and Prescott are all at least as dangerous if not more so when outside the pocket.

The rest of that list, bring the house as far as I’m concerned

I agree that we lack difference makers. But we do have play makers. Problem is that MP wants to ship them all out.

Diggs was one
Slay is next to leave

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The priority is always pressure, just not at the expense of containment. It’s not running for one’s life if it’s simply stepping through a lane that was opened.

Just looking through the list on my day off…
Wow, there’s quite a pile of names there.
Billings, 23
Butler, Day, Reader, 25
Hargrave, Shelton, 26
Phillips, Reed, 27

Butler turned it on this year, but Reader playing in Houston would be an easy fit if Snacks hangs them up. Danny Shelton would be plan C. Reader + Hargrave might have me drinking the kool-aid again.

Maybe BQ knew what he was doing with Snacks (1 yr extension), Daniels on 1-year deal, and Robinson about to hit FA. There are some good DL players in free agency that should fit this scheme nicely.

What is this “playmaker” of which you speak? Can they be made for defense? And do they then leave?

To be honest I dislike the word playmaker.

Difference maker is a better fitting word. The Lions need difference makers.