A’Shawn Robinson is putting it all together
A’Shawn Robinson’s young career has been a roller coaster up to this point. The defensive tackle was a second-round pick in 2016 and before this season had never really lived up to his billing. He started the 2018 season as a healthy scratch and it looked like he had no long-term future with the team.
He has come a long way since then. Over the past few weeks Robinson has been a force on the interior of Detroit’s defensive line. He has greatly benefited from the addition of Damon Harrison Sr. so far. He has been a great run stuffer and has been immovable inside. Robinson is not, and probably never will be, a great pass penetrator but he has provided enough against the run to make up for it.
The Lions have creative play design, but it does not matter
Jim Bob Cooter has been much more creative with his play design the past few weeks. He seems to love Bruce Ellington and is using the Lions new receiver all over the field in a variety of interesting ways. He has also put Theo Riddick in a few interesting spots. Tight end Levine Toilolo has carved a role out for himself in the offense as well. Cooter has genuinely found a way to make up for the loss of Golden Tate.
It does not matter, though, because his play calling tendencies are still conservative.
Detroit has run a variety of creative plays to get into scoring position but the minute they either get into scoring position or get put behind the chains they go back into their shell. Instead of finding a creative way to convert a third-and-long in the red zone, they just settle and run draw plays to Riddick. There are no legitimate reasons to do this, and as much as Cooter tries to get creative it does not matter if he is not willing to get creative when it matters most.
Detroit’s edge defenders are alive and well
Detroit’s edge rushers have been missing over the past month. Romeo Okwara and Eli Harold has disappeared. Devon Kennard went silent after a hot start to the season. Ezekiel Ansah seemes to be the only one really producing the past few weeks and he was limited for a few games after his return to injury.
They all showed up on Sunday, though. Kennard had a great game. Harold had a huge sack late. Okwara nearly came up with a pick six that could have decided the game. Ansah was relatively quiet, but even he put a few crucial pressures on Jared Goff late in the game. The unit seemed to cool off in recent weeks but it looks like they are finding their stride once again as the season reaches its final month.