Why they won those last 4
When the Lions went on their win streak one thing was constant. They ran the football and stopped the run. Basic football philosophy that resulted in 4 straight wins. This is something that can not be underestimated and if addressed will define the Lions or become root to failure. The 3 worst weakness in any football team is failure to run the ball,failure to stop the run and lack of play making ability at the quaterback position. If you can cover these 3 bases you can hide other weakness.
First off the Lions played alot better defence during that 4 game streak. Run defence was better but not perfect Adrian Peterson who normally burns the Lions was held to under 50 yards making the vikings one dimesional. Putting the game on the shoulders of their young QB.This is a good situation for any defence. A situation that if the Lions hope to repeat they need to focus on aggressively fixing personel to address our ALARMING holes in this department. I have heard tons of talk about how Detroit needs to improve the pass defence. But in football if you can't stop the run you have no hope of contending with the passing game because now the opponents offence can use their complete play book on you.
Key defensive point of emphsis during the streak...Lions stopped the run
Our current defence philosophy in a 4-3 defence is to have our D-Line eat up blockers and allow our linebackers to make tackles. In the NFL a good run stopping team playing a 4-3 will have a few linebackers over 80 tackles and sometimes one guy well over 100 tackles. in 2010 the leading tackler for Detroit had 62 and that was Louis Delmas a saftey :(. Our second leading tackler (who by the way isn't returning) J. Peterson had 56 tackles. The next person below that is Levy at 50 tackles (though he did miss games). My point is that the Lions are dangerously void of play making in the running game. Someone has to make a tackle here guys as simple as this sounds. And our current group needs major help as 2/3rd of this unit will need to be replaced/upgraded. This situation can not be overlooked in a absolutely critical aspect of winning.
How stopping the run impacted over all defensive play and turn over ratio
Down and distance situations are key to managing your turn over ratio. If you can't get people in 3rd in long you will have less turn overs....quarterback sack/fumbles...interceptions from forced throws during known passing situations... recievers fumbling from trying to make the extra yards to convert. To get into those situations you have to win on 1st and 2nd down. Against and aggressive passing team that passes on first down you need to have Linebackers that can cover and make plays in space or dinking and dunking quick passes will hurt you. So you need backers to cover ground and be in position to tackle that swing pass or screen or wheel route...something we struggled with. You now have to be weary of a deep shot coming on 2nd and short if you don't stop those type of plays (i e Aaron Rodgers).
MLB DeAndre Levy can play either inside or outside needs a 90 plus tackle season.
OLB Ashlee Palmer is a guy who played well but is he even a 70 tackle per season LB?
OLB Bobby Carpenter is the other OLB by default because everyone else (Zack and landon) don't know their health status.
Note: this is a scary group guys.....
How running the ball impacted over all offensive play and turn over ratio
On offence your best tool to manage down and distance is a good running game. If your running game is suffering you will increase your 3rd and long situations and this will greatly impact your turn over ratio. During the lions win streak they ran the ball effectively with a run pass ratio of approximately 50/50 and stayed out of mulit 3rd down and long situations beyond 8 yards. At some point during the off season the Lions need to consider what they have and IF with what they have CAN they consistantly run the ball.
Jahvid Best is a speed back that is useless with 2 turf toes and needs to stay healthy...but even with that being said he will function best with another back sharing time. Kevin Smith has had poor luck with injuries and he is subject to getting cut unless he does something above and beyond in the preseason to get the front office to want him back. That is IF he is even around by then. Morris has played above and beyond expectations... but the reality is that in the NFL the "over 30 bug" always catches up to running backs as the rarely avoid the drop in production once they turn 30...Morris can not be considered anything else other than a good bandaid. It is in our best interest to aquire a back. Some have said we need a big back etc etc. I am leaning more toward talent level ...i say regardless of play style we need to aquire a someone good which can be done late in the draft.
The key here is that we have 2 QBs that can be productive. Stafford can be special if he can remain on the field for a 16 game season. During this season he was sent to the ground a total of 7 times. He was sacked 4 times tackled 3 times and ran out of bounds once. And in those 7 times that he was tackled he was injuried twice. This is a situation that can play its self out and Matthew Stafford could prove this was horrible luck and go on to a good season. Which would be a happy ending. And i am going to go out on a limb and say it...if he plays a entire season the lions win 4 more games on just consistancy at the position alone. I suggested in prior post to be agressive and trade Stafford..and maybe that was the voice of frustration. I truely believe the Lions can win a Super Bowl with him as the Quarterback. The only thing stopping him is injury. He has the guts he is clutch he is skilled the team believes in him and he is a hard worker. Maybe he needs to spend more time in the gym to work on his body? I am not sure i hope it was just bad luck. I know this....the Lions won't be as good as they can be until he plays every game. If he does AND the above concerns are addressed then the Lions will make the playoffs.
We have alot of needs but in order to maintain the formula that caused us to win those last 4 games we have to address our run defence...and we have to address our run offence. Both areas are suspect if we expect consistancy in these departments. To win a Super Bowl Stafford needs to play a entire season including playoffs. Teams aren't that far apart...every winning team has flaws and this is the formula for masking those flaws.....run the ball...stop the run..and have a quarterback that can lead you.....(which means you win in the turn over ratio) And you can win a Super Bowl with holes in your armor....example...imagine New England without Brady....his play alone masks many flaws...lack of a running game...marginal pass defence...now imagine Stafford playing a entire season......this post is for fun so i can say things like "imagine".