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Notes: This graph sums up the Detroit Lions defense perfectly

For you visual learners, here’s how bad the Lions defense is.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions defense is broken. There’s little denying it at this point. They can’t stop the run, they can’t defend the pass, and they can’t help out their quarterback, who is playing at a borderline MVP level right now.

While the problem is multi-faceted, and there is clearly not a single clear fix that would turn this unit around, there is one glaring disappointment that can explain much of their failures: the lack of a pass rush.

To give you an idea of just how bad the Lions pass rush is, ESPN’s Seth Walder put together a graph that is visually striking:

On the y-axis (up and down) is each team’s pass rush win rate. As you can see, the Lions are easily the last in the league—about five percent lower than the next closest team. To make matters worse, on the x-axis (left and right) is each team’s blitz per dropback rate. The Lions are also last in that category, blitzing around 17 percent of the time.

So in other words, not only are the Lions not successful at rushing the passer, but they aren’t doing much about it. They’ve tried to disguise their rushers a little more in the past couple of weeks, but they refuse to simply send more players.

Sure, the pass rushers need to be doing a better job, but this represents a certain level of stubbornness in the coaching staff, who appear disinterested in breaking protocol and being a little more aggressive with their pass rush.

  • Matt Patricia has been named a nominee for the Salute to Service Award, given to a league member who “demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community.” Here’s Patricia talking about why that means so much to him:

  • Today in: “At Least Matthew Stafford And The Offense Is Pretty Good”

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