Even through OTAs and minicamp, the Detroit Lions’ defense remains a mystery to fans. Matt Patricia dropped some hints, and beat writers provided some vague details as to what we may expect out of where specific players will play, but for the most part, we still don’t know what to expect out of the defense Week 1 against the New York Jets.
One of the details some media noted was the aggressiveness of the Lions’ blitz. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noted that the team worked on several drills practicing how to generate pressure from all levels of the defense, especially the linebackers.
The Lions may need that extra push, because their personnel didn’t get much—if any—better on the defensive line. Outside of Ezekiel Ansah, the Lions don’t have a consistent edge rushing threat, and their pass rush has struggled over the past few years. Here’s where they’ve ranked in terms of sacks over the past three years.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Where will the Lions rank in sacks in 2018?
My answer: I think the Lions will rank just over the midway point in the league, right around 12th in the league.
While the personnel remains a huge issue, Patricia has dealt with some pretty limited pass rushers in his coordinating career and has managed to orchestrate some pretty respectable sack numbers in New England. Here’s where they have ranked in the past three years:
So even though the Lions’ personnel is weak, I think Patricia will make them at least respectable at getting to the quarterback. If Ezekiel Ansah can stay healthy (not planning on it) and Devon Kennard gets comfortable as an edge rusher from the linebacker position, the Lions could even crack the top 10.
But for now, I’m keeping my expectations relatively modest.