I am as frustrated as anyone. This defense makes me angry like no other year. We were supposed to contend for a division title in 2019 and this is what we get? 3-8-1? Yet I see things that make me think a better team is lurking still. One that can win big in 2020 if we get the talent and locker room right including:
This offense is legit. Injuries all over yet we are moving the ball and scoring points without Stafford, Ragnow K. Johnson and others. Bo Scar. looks like a really solid player I expect to be around playing a key role in 2020. 23 year old Bo (Sept. Bday) has a solid average of 4.5 YPC trough three games playing with two back up QBs. Marvin Hall looked great and McKissic looks like a really good 3rd RB. Ty Johnson is a fine #4 RB too.
This front office has attracted free agent talent here, we have drafted talent and we have found off the street talent. I know the media plays the “no one wants to play here” card but Marvin Jones, Tre Flowers, Mike Daniels and others disagree. Perfect? No far from it but that is never an appropriate standard. Have we found viable NFL players in each round of the NFL draft? Yes they have. Late round talents? Yes they have. Have they also busted out a few picks and reached? Yes they have. But overall I like the talent on this club which is why I am concerned but I want to see another season here too.
I don’t support firing a staff after two seasons as a general rule. I think a staff deserve three full seasons to evaluate their work. We are two seasons in now and one more will help complete the picture for Quinn with Patricia.
I think this club has led in every game this season. That means there IS talent here but we cannot finish this job. Most of this falls on defense. Overall I think this is a good sign, not a bad sign. It means we are closer to competitive than further away.
Last point…The defense looked good to close the season last year. Easy schedule? Maybe. But lookin’ good is lookin’ good. This season I don’t even recognize this defense. But at least we have looked good in 2018 so that says we don’t know what is really going on.
Closing thoughts…if this team can get this defense figured out this team will be ready to make a serious run in 2020. Look…we finally have solid back up QBs! We have a solid RB crew now and our TE and WR crew also look solid. Yes free agent decisions need to be made. But this offense doesn’t have any serious decisions overall. Dealing with Decker? Yep. But Golladay and Marvin Jones each are in contract seasons (in 2020) the RBs are locked down. Stafford is locked down, the QBs will be locked down, we need to re-sign Glasgow and sop on but none of that is crazy hard. This offense will come back mostly ready to roll in 2020.
It is the defense that needs work. Harrison is locked down and maybe he comes back focused and ready to roll in 2020? This DL needs help too. Flowers has been solid here. Not puttin’ up his numbers for his $ but a really fine player for us. We need more DL talent at this point. And the draft can help with that. This LBer crew needs help too. Jarrad Davis looks like he is miscast here. That will require hard decisions I think.
Past those decisions I think Slay has become a real problem. Talented? Yes. A guy that erodes the staff with effort? Possibly. On the field through my TV I can see a guy putting in shitty effort, esp. with tackles. I have seen him make a ton of business decisions. My guess is Slay is traded and anyone who eroded the defensive message also needs to be traded. Another guy who seems detached and not his himself is A’Shawn Robinson who might also have to go as long as we can get those shoes filled by someone else. But the combination of Slay, Harrison and Robinson has been bad in 2019. Add to the poor LBer fits and this defense just stinks.
I hope this isn’t a DT Shaun Rodgers situation where he is a locker room problem but we actually were worse for trading him. But this defense is just off. Wrong. Not on the same page at all. I support this staff coming back but we need changes on defense. Not just players.
With the offensive work Patricia put into this club in 2019 I do in fact have faith Patricia can figure out what is wrong on defense. I support building around Flowers, Harrison and Hand. Austin Bryant might also have real game. I also like Okwara. But we are lacking a pressure guy and Harrison depth. Harrison, Hand, Flowers, Bryant and Okwara is a solid five guy rotation but it isn’t enough. Mike Daniels can come back but at a much lower price and we STILL need talent upgrades.
I think this club will go after a pressure guy in the draft. I look at how hard we went after LBer Barr and I think we want a guy like that here. Add a top rookie to play that role and spell Kennard and that might help as long as we get another real player at DT too even if we retain Daniels.
If this club can get the defense on solid footing this offense is ready to put up points in 2020. I am fine with one more season as I see this season as just lost. But I also see enough positive signs to believe this staff can get this job done. Thoughts?
IF Bo and the running game get this going through the end of the season then that removes one of the two colossal weaknesses. Our run defense seems to come around throughout the season under MP but our pass defense needs to improve drastically.
The Lions rushing average allowed is 4.4 YPC. That is coming down. And that is good for 20th in the league. The Lions are also 24th in rushing yards/game allowed. This is a total shock to me and that is better than it was a month ago.
The Lions are 27th in sacks, 26th in QB rating allowed and 24th in yards per catch allowed. This defense is 31st in 20+ yards per play given up and right there hits at the biggest weakness overall. Little pass rush and we allow big plays underneath. We are also 28th in TDs allowed.
We traded Diggs because he was playing awful here. I support that move. I think Slay is also playing poorly overall, esp. considering his talent level. I like Coleman and I like our rookie CB a while lot too ( Amani Oruwariye). Past that I like Tracy Walker and rookie Will Harris. Past Slay Melvin looked okay but he is injured now.
This defense needs more talent in the secondary. The Lions will be in a solid position to get a top CB in 2020 and that will be a necessary addition, esp. if we feel the need to trade Slay. If we keep Slay and he gets his head together we have Slay, Coleman, Amani Oruwariye, maybe a top rookie and then whoever we want to keep from the current batch. That would make me smile but that doesn’t help the LBer crew or the pass rush.
Fixing this defense will be tough but I feel like Patricia and his staff do know what is going on. I think they get it. This defense is just not playing well at all. On any level. And possibly having guys like Slay and Diggs put in poor efforts really hurt this secondary.
Just to kind of take a shot a predicting a respectable line-up next year…
Players I want back:
Kennard - off the line. Same thing I wanted last year. I love the guy and want him back, I just don’t want him as my 4-3 base end.
Flowers. He’s a legit starter in a strange defense that asks him to do very different things than we’re accustomed to seeing our #1DE do.
Strong Jr showed some of the 2-gap run-stopping ability that Hand did in his rookie year. He hasn’t shown pass-rush ability though. Still, I want him back for depth, though.
Bryant I also want back for depth.
Hand. I want him back to see if we can get a full season out of him.
Players I’m not attached to:
Okwara disappeared. He’s an OK depth player, but not effective enough to play opposite Flowers as a starter. If he’s back, ok. If he’s not, ok.
Robinson should find greener pastures. I’m ok with him moving on.
Snacks can also go. He’s not the same player he was last year. I don’t know why, but he’s not. He is good for 1 thing. To hold the point of attack as a 3-4 NT. He has nothing to offer outside of that. That said, you don’t release him unless you have his replacement. Even though he offers little else, what he does offer is essential in run defense. Still, at 12 mil cap hit, he’s less of a player than Ngata was for us.
Atkins earned his opportunity. He’s not done much of anything with that opportunity, though. He should wash out in the competition next year.
That Cowboys game is a hell of a game to look at in terms of what is right and wrong with this club. The offense hung 27 points on a very solid Cowboys defense with a back up QB at the helm for the Lions. The Lions held the lead late into the second quarter until Cobb had a 49 yard play (V. rookie Amani Oruwariye playing for Melvin at that point I think) and then Cobb beat rookie Will Harris playing for a traded Diggs.
Why is this secondary playing so poorly? And how can we fix it? Can this staff fix that issue? These are the questions that need to be addressed. Why has Coleman played so poorly. I don’t think Coleman is playing poorly at all:
"He currently ranks as the second-best slot in the game, according to ProFootballFocus, and fourth among all corners regardless of position. He’s allowed 19 catches on 37 targets and a passer rating of 80.7 on balls thrown his way, despite drawing some tough inside assignments against quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.
He’s also been credited with 10 passes defended, which is tied with Patriots All-Pro Stephon Gilmore for fourth in the league. Only Carolina’s James Bradberry (12), Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander (11) and the Giants’ Janoris Jenkins (11) have more – and all of them have played one more game than Coleman."
I think the Lions have dealt with Diggs who DID in fact play like shit and then Slay got pissed about that, missed games due to injury and the Lions are also playing other rookies now. But does that explain why the Lions suck so bad in the secondary? Playing rookie and Diggs and Slay being not good? Maybe.
I don’t have the answer there. But I liked trading Diggs and if Slay doesn’t like that maybe he needs to be gone too. I think this secondary simply has not played well right out of the gate V. the Cardinals. But in the Dallas game it looks like rookie played a large part in allowing Dallas to grab a lead (Amani Oruwariye and Will Harris) but we also held Elliott to under 70 total yards. It seems like for every good thing the defense does some other part of the defense sucks. We gave up 444 yards to the Cowboys then lost to the Skins despite shutting them down all game.
Look…in some ways this season just sucks. Again, we led all season in every game. But the defense has issues tackling, getting to the QB and covering when it matters most.
Keeping Slay makes the most sense as we have Slay, Amani Oruwariye, Coleman and then? To me that still isn’t good enough. Adding a top rookie CB would really give this defense a boost maybe where we need it most.
I think the last couple weeks with Melvin being a healthy scratch is one of the reasons the secondary had played so bad. (more to the point, why they “appeared” to play bad as he gave up a lot of 3rd-and-longs)
Another reason is since we’re in man so much, other teams love sending their receivers on rub routes and crossing routes. A little more zone coverage and you won’t end up with db’s trailing receivers. The biggest reason, though, is that they can choose any play-call they want. There’s no hurry on the QB so they can scheme in longer-developing plays, which are also man-beaters.
Speed up the QB, you’ll shorten the playbook and force mistakes. Commit your resources to stopping the run AND fail to hit the QB as they did in Dallas and you’re DB’s are left on islands. Not a recipe for success.
In 2018 the Lions were 8th in passing yards allowed per game. Yet that same secondary was 30th in QB rating allowed. This same defense was 11th in sacks in 2018. The 2018 defense was 12th in 20+ yard passing plays allowed but in 2019 the Lions are 31st in that same stat. With the same coaching staff. That is THE issue right there. Why are we giving up so many more 20+ yard passing plays from one year to the next.
If a staff stinks the staff stinks. Yet we are breaking down in ways we didn’t break down last season. Why? Did this staff forget how to coach? Are we missing Glover Quin’s leadership that much (maybe)?
I look at all this stuff and I simply say I want one more year to see what this staff can do. I have seen goo and bad things at this point. The offense was awful in 2018 and it is pretty solid now. Numbers are hard to look at as Stafford is out and certainly we would have scored a hell of a lot more points with Matt V. our backups. The defense was bad until we got Harrison then it was okay and now it is terrible.
Jeckle and Hyde. One more season will give us the answer. This club needs more defensive talent at this point. We added a lot of defensive talent in the 2019 draft but even more is needed, ESP. if we find that we need to get rid of Slay in 2020.
Quinn has been here for 4 years his record is under .500. He has ignored the pass rush and put forth a piss poor effort trying to fix the run game. He put a bunch of resources into the O-line and they still suck. Still no run game, defense and ST’s has regressed in 4 years and the team has no depth. I think these guys deserve to be fired but then again I have no faith the Fords will hire anyone worth a shit anyway.
Brought in Daniels, Bryant, Snacks, Flowers - all looked like good moves (tome) on paper.
Drafted KJ & Ty. CJ didn’t put effort in, but that move made sense on paper too (upgrading Blount’s position, imo). Also Brought in Wanger and TJ lang, Ragnow, all of which looked like good moves on paper, to me.
Sure - a lot of it didn’t work out, but it has not been ignored.
Our ST hires have made no sense, to me. Seemed like really bad decisions at the time, and still do.
I think the depth has improved a ton, but we still need some help, for sure.
I can see how you feel that way, for sure. Thinking these dudes have a possibility of changing your mind though. I’m totally inconclusive, on the staff. These dudes are so close in every single game. One playmaker can make enough difference to shift a lot of those close losses into wins. One really good pass rusher.
Not one of those D-lineman are pass rushers not a single one. KJ is the only move he has really made at RB the problem the guy was banged up through out college just like the pro’s. Ty was a 6th rd pick his name shouldn’t even be mentioned.
Any defense has to have pressure on the QB, you can’t have their QB going through his progressions 2 or 3 times before he finally throws it. Hell, that means your secondary ain’t doing that bad if the QB can’t find an open receiver after 4 or 5 seconds. So you look at the DL and the injuries they’ve had since TC and it’s kinda understandable, most of them were injured or out of shape from not practicing for a good chunk of the season. Or are missing time now.
I don’t think it’s lost on Quinn or Patricia where their biggest problems are on defense. Don’t know if Robinson will be kept, but he ain’t really a pass rusher and that’s what they really need, an interior pass rusher/disruptor to collapse the pocket. Might have to sign an FA for that if they can. Might get an edge rusher too, but they drafted Bryant for that. JMPO, but that defense gets a heckuva lot better with just that one new guy in there up front. No clue who that might be, and I don’t know if they can draft one that can get it done in his rookie year.