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Monday open thread: Are the Lions better or worse than last season?

It has been a rough season so far, but are the Lions better or worse than 2018?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a rough 2019 campaign for the Detroit Lions. The Lions have now dropped six of their previous seven games, and any hope or optimism is gone. Now we are left reflecting on the season that has been and the offseason that will be.

Bob Quinn invested a lot into the team on an immediate-term basis, signing Trey Flowers, Jesse James, and Justin Coleman to big free agent contracts. With the likes of T.J. Hockenson, Jahlani Tavai, and Will Harris acquired in the NFL Draft, the Lions had some building blocks to become competitors. Perhaps it was a case of being blinded by fandom, but a majority of Lions fans expected a significant step up this season.

Sitting at a 3-6-1 record, things have not gone according to plan. The Lions have plenty of questions going into the final half of the season, from evaluating current players to determining which positions are needs for next year. After an offseason where a majority of 2018’s issues were supposedly fixed, the Lions are looking down the barrel of a similarity poor season. Did the Lions really get better?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Are the 2019 Lions better or worse than the 2018 team?

My answer: I believe this is a worse team than 2018, but Bob Quinn deserves some amnesty for the poor showing. On paper, this team was much improved, and while I did not like the James contract, bringing in Flowers and Coleman eased some troubling weakness.

From a pure personnel perspective, it is a mixed bag. The offense has gotten notably better, thanks to a transition from Jim Bob Cooter to Darrell Bevell. Bevell had Matthew Stafford at an MVP caliber of play, and his bolder plays are a boon. The defense, on the other hand, has had a significant step down, and play calling has been a factor. The lack of pass rush has been present all season, and quarterbacks have been exploiting the weaker secondary and linebackers as a result.

Unfortunately, the Lions have been plagued by injuries on all sides of the ball, and that is what has limited this team. The defensive line, once deemed a strength, has barely had a healthy, cohesive unit all year long. The secondary, Darius Slay included, have suffered ailments, resulting in players like Mike Ford seeing an uptick of snaps. The weakest unit on paper, the linebackers, has been the healthiest, but they have also met the low expectations set upon them entering the year.

The biggest name to succumb to injury is Stafford, and without him, this team is among the worst in the league. I will give credit to Jeff Driskel for performing decently, but as we saw with Stafford earlier this very year, this team lives and dies on his arm, and Driskel is not that kind of playmaker. Throw in an injured Kerryon Johnson, and this team is suddenly lacking a lot of firepower.

The 2019 Lions could have been better, maybe even competing for a playoff spot, had injuries not taken their toll and the defensive coaching been better.

Poll

Are the 2019 Lions better than they were in 2018

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes
    (230 votes)
  • 73%
    No
    (639 votes)
869 votes total Vote Now