The Detroit Lions are 3-8-1 and closing in on a top-five pick. Given all of the offseason moves they made—including making a top-10 pick in the draft and several big free agency signings—not many thought they’d be here. They’ve clearly regressed, and it’s got people talking about a regime change less than two years in.
Obviously, you’d like to give a regime a little more time than that to let their full plan come into action, but at the same time, there needs to be encouraging signs about the future to award another year, and right now the signs are few and far between.
Unfortunately for Detroit, this team isn’t one fixed problem away from suddenly being a contender. The problems are multifaceted and probably won’t be fixed with just one or two additions. But some problems are clearly bigger than others.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What is the biggest problem facing the Detroit Lions right now?
My answer: I think it has to be their pass rush. Creating consistent pressure on the quarterback is the one equalizer that can cover up issues all over the defense. Even before Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bears, the Lions had the worst pass rush win rate in the league, according to ESPN. The Lions are winning pass rush reps only 23 percent of the time. The next closest team is winning 30 percent of the time. That’s a huge, unacceptable gap.
And while the Lions certainly have issues in the secondary, we also know that the guys they have are capable of making plays. Early in this season, Detroit was a top-five team in passes defended. So if the Lions could generate any semblance of a pass rush, they could force quarterbacks into hurried, inaccurate throws, and that would make this secondary look a lot better.
If Detroit could somehow get their hands on a pure, elite pass rusher, it would improve this failing defense drastically. Unfortunately, I’m not so certain this staff wants that. We know they value two-way players that can defend the run, too. And that could mean passing on a chance for a guy that can simply get to quarterbacks. Hopefully, I’m wrong.