CJ retired before the start of the season, that left the Lions with Tate, Jones,Boldin and Ebron as their primary receivers and Theo Riddick had 371 yards receiving. If we get a decent WR either by draft or FA, we’ll be looking at St Brown, (player to be named later), Cephus and Hock with Swift who had over 450 receiving yards in fewer games. The 2016 team rushing averaged 3.7 ypc and 81.9 ypg, we averaged 4.4 ypc and over 110 ypg in 2021.
I think Goff is in a better position than Stafford was on O, the outlier is that we had a better D that held the opponents to 20 points or less 10x. I like our OL better and I think special teams would be close to a push with 2016 slightly better. Andre Roberts was just over a very respectable 12 yards per punt return, Martin averaged 48.5 yards per punt and Prater hit 31 of 36 FG’s with a long of 58.
Stafford had 24 TD’s and 10 Int’s with a completion rate of 65.3%, and 3 fumbles. He threw for over 4,300 yards. In 14 games Goff had 19 TD’s, 8 int’s and 9 fumbles and a 67% completion rate and around 230 passing ypg.
Obviously Goff and the entire team and staff got off to a slow start last season. It wasn’t all that unexpected by me anyway. Goff is not going to be asked to be anything more than a game manager this upcoming season, basically it’s the same as what Caldwell asked of Stafford. JC let go of the reins late if the Lions were down, otherwise Stafford was basically asked to not be the reason they lost. I expect the same type of situation for Goff.
No matter who we get at WR to be a #1 or #2, there is going to be a learning curve. In fact if it’s a rookie I would expect the team to slowly work that player in. That’s OK, we have something Matt didn’t, a running game.
So my point to all of this is that this is a team that has a chance to be successful next season with very little change to the core group that we have right now on O. We have some continuity in players and staff esp Hank Fraley, and I would hope whoever is OC next season seeks to build on what was working at the end of last season. 2016 was a 9-7 season, I look at the depth and quality of players we have and I’m more than encouraged. The real question mark for next season is how fast we can plug the holes on D. But we have a legit O, legit special teams…let’s hope the D can come back from injuries and add some quality FA’s and draft help. We aren’t that far away.
The lack of a running game in Detroit since forever can never be discounted. I think any time you talk about those failures, you have to look at that, and ask why. Probably a lot of reasons: poor offensive line play, injuries, and inadequate running backs.
My biggest takeaway this year wasn’t Dan’s relentless enthusiasm, it was the commitment to running the ball. It will always, always, always be a QBs best friend.
We don’t really need a stud RB. Those really don’t exist this side of Derrick Henry (and he was designed in a lab). We need an offensive line that provides opportunities. We might just have that. I’m obviously not sold on Goff, so if we can get a capable QB who can lead well and keep a defense honest with his arm, the future isn’t so bleak.
Loved that about MC/DC. We are trying to establish an identity as a team that has a physically dominant rushing attack that you don’t like playing against. And I could argue the Lions had their best rushing season since Barry was still playing this past year. We rotated backs and all of them had success, even undrafted guys having success.
And we did that with Decker missing 10 games and Ragnow missing 14, 2 highly paid stud lineman barely played and a rookie Sewell played damn well. If the o-line can ever get fully healthy all together it could be a real strength and set up the passing game so well. Fingers crossed.
I actually am sold on Goff for the immediate future. Don’t ask him to do what he can’t and we’ll be fine. The running game is going to give him chances that Stafford never had even though, and this always blew me away, Stafford was one of the best in the league at selling play action…on a team that wasn’t a threat to run.
The OL HAS to be everything they have been hyped to be, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. We had injuries this year and found guys that could step in. Having Swift as a receiver is a big plus. I would really like to see us take Jelani Woods in the draft, TE, 6’7" 275, and see us run more 2 TE sets. The more we can run and rely on our TE’s and RB’s for passing yards, the more time we’ll have to get our WR’s up to snuff.